We’ve already had storm Malik, Corrie, Franklin, Dudley and Eunice!  So it’s been quite a stormy start to 2022 with a further 21 storm names already identified for the 2021/2022 season, which runs from September 21 through to the end of August 2022.

However, while the names may be light hearted, chosen as they are from over 10,000 submissions put forward by the UK public, the fact that a storm has a name at all means that it is expected to cause medium to high impact. Who knows how far the weather gods will have moved further through the alphabet by the time you read this.

Nothing can make up for the misery of storm damage and the flooding that so often goes with it, but the good news is that your buildings insurance policy will almost certainly cover you for it.

Your insurance provider should cover the costs for the repairs and, if needed, rehouse you while the work is being done. Beware: not all blocks of flats policies include the costs of providing alternative accommodation during repairs, or if they do, the cover they offer might not be sufficient. So do look closely at your policy wording or call your broker to check. If you aren’t happy with the cover, make a note to shop around before your next renewal is due.

Find out more the importance of having enough cover for everyone here.

Alternative accommodation rarely extends to occupiers of sub-let flats and you may want to want leaseholders who are sub-letting. They can take out specialist landlord cover, and the Deacon team is happy to help.

Is it really a storm damage?

There are many ways a storm can damage your property: roof tiles blown off, lightning strike, falling trees and debris, water ingress from very  heavy rainfall, to name a few.

Insurers make a concerted effort to ensure that are ready to help quickly after a storm but you may still hear about claims being rejected – why is that?

The Financial Ombudsman says that often the nub  of the matte1r is whether it was really a storm or just a combination of unexceptional bad weather and poorly maintained premises, or whether the damage in question was actually caused by the storm.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI2) says that a storm is a period of violent weather defined3 as:

  • Wind speeds with gusts of at least 48 knots/55 mph (Storm Force 10) or;
  • Torrential rainfall at a rate of at least 25 mm per hour or;
  • Snow to a depth of at least 30 cm in 24 hours or;
  • Hail of such intensity that it causes damage to hard surfaces or breaks glass

Some insurers, but not all, define storms in more detail on their policy documents.

If a claimant disputes an insurer’s refusal to pay a claim, then the Financial Ombudsman will typically ask three key questions1:

  1. Did storm conditions occur on or around the date the damage is said to have happened? To answer this they will consult recognised weather sources. If the customer doesn’t know when the damage happened, because they were away or the damage wasn’t noticeable straightaway, the may reasonable to look further back in the records
  1. Is the damage claimed for consistent with what they generally see as storm damage? Here, the Ombudsman will take into account the prior condition of the property.
  1. Were storm conditions the main cause of the damage or were there other factors that meant the damage might have happened anyway? Deciding on this will typically involve gathering more information about the storm conditions in question, for example, what the customer tells us about the conditions they experienced.

Free flood alerts

Sign up to get warnings in England5 by phone, email or text message if your home or business is at risk of flooding. In Scotland you can sign up to Floodline6. If you live in Wales consult the online map7 which is updated four times and hour.  The services are free.

  1. https://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/businesses/complaints-deal/insurance/home-buildings-insurance/storm-damage
  2. https://www.abi.org.uk/
  3. https://www.abi.org.uk/
  4. https://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/businesses/complaints-deal/insurance/home-buildings-insurance/storm-damage
  5. https://www.fws.environment-agency.gov.uk/app/olr/register
  6. https://www.sepa.org.uk/environment/water/flooding/floodline/
  7. https://naturalresources.wales/flooding/check-flood-warnings/?lang=en

FP13-2022

The sole purpose of this article is to provide guidance on the issues covered. This article is not intended to give legal advice, and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and/or market practice in this area. We make no claims as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein or in the links which were live at the date of publication. You should not act upon (or should refrain from acting upon) information in this publication without first seeking specific legal and/or specialist advice. Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Brokers Limited trading as Deacon accepts no liability for any inaccuracy, omission or mistake in this publication, nor will we be responsible for any loss which may be suffered as a result of any person relying on the information contained herein.