Hit by the storm? Tips and advice

If you were in the path of the monster ‘St Jude’ storm that battered the southern half of England and Wales on Sunday and Monday, you might have suffered structural damage to your house or car or been inundated by flood waters.

Here’s some advice on what to do:

Keep safe – if your property has been damaged, don’t put yourself or others at risk by trying to repair something that needs a professional. For instance, don’t try to move a fallen tree without expert assistance and equipment.

That said, do what you can, without risk to yourself, to prevent further damage and to reduce the risk of harm to others.

If your car has been damaged by falling items, check to see it is roadworthy before attempting to drive.

If possible, check with your buildings insurance or car insurance company before employing a contractor to remove debris or start repairs. Your buildings insurance policy might have a helpline number to call in such circumstances.

Your insurer’s website will probably have details of who to contact for help.

If you use a contractor in an emergency, make sure you get a receipt for any work undertaken.

Damage to your property will normally be covered by your buildings insurance. If a tree falls from a neighbouring property or from the road, your insurance company is likely to recover the costs from those who ‘owned’ the tree.

The situation is similar with your car, unless you have third party only or third party fire and theft cover, in which case you won’t be covered for the damage suffered.

Your insurer might contest any claim you make on your buildings insurance if it can show that you have not kept your house in a good state of repair. So if, for example, yours is the only property in the street where the chimney has collapsed, for example, it might quiz you on the upkeep you’ve done over the years.

Flooding

If you’ve been hit by flood:

  • Turn off gas, electricity and water at the mains
  • Do not enter standing water if the electricity supply is on
  • If possible, take photos of the damage to show to your insurer
  • Do not lift carpets as they will shrink
  • Contact your insurer at the earliest opportunity and seek advice

Remember, flooding often ensues hours or even days after the initial rain deluge, so keep an eye on warnings from the Environment Agency (http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/). If you are at risk, move as many of your belongings as possible upstairs, along with a survival kit including food, drinks, changes of clothes, mobile phones, useful phone numbers, a torch and batteries.

You can read more about flooding and home insurance here

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