As the clean-up from last week’s storms continue, insurers are still calculating the cost of the damage.
The repair bill from October’s storm St Jude, was around £130m and it is thought that this time it could be even higher.
And of course for many of those affected, Christmas will have been ruined.
Wind and water can do a huge amount of damage in a short space of time and while many things can be replaced and repaired, it’s devastating for those affected and often irreplaceable things such as photos and keep sakes can be totally destroyed.
The elements are very forceful and determined and although it’s very difficult to keep flood water out of the property, there are things that you can do to minimise a potential damage in case a storm hits.
Roof and guttering
Firstly, check your roof and if you ‘ve got any missing or loose tiles get those replaced– not only can they be entry points for water, but in high wind tiles could get blown off and do further damage below.
Also check that your guttering is clear and free of leaves so that water can drain away properly.
If it can’t, it can lead to damp problems further down the line from water that’s been seeping down the walls.
Fences and gates
If you’ve got any rickety fence panels get those replaced and generally give a check that your fencing and gates are as secure as they can be.
Again this will reduce the risk of them being blown away in high wind.
Emergency contact number
Make sure you know where the contact details are for your home and car insurers, and also your home emergency and boiler cover providers if you have them.
Adding them to your mobile contacts lists can be a good idea, but it’s also worth storing a hard copy upstairs or well above floor level if you live in a ground floor flat or a bungalow.
Weather reports and flood warnings
If bad weather is forecast, keep up-to-date with the weather warnings so you can prepare yourself as best as possible.
The environment agency’s website will show flood warnings and you can check at a postcode level, whether or not you’re in a high-risk area.
Keep things safe!
If your property is at risk from flooding move as much as you can upstairs and out of the way to reduce the risk of it being destroyed.
Contact your insurer
If your home is affected by a storm, contact your insurer as quickly as possible and take photographs of any of the damage.
Your insurer should be able to advise you on the best way to proceed with repairs and in some instances it might want to approve the people you appoint to do the work.
Unfortunately, if you do make a claim on your insurance, it will affect the price you pay next year.
However, even if your existing provider bumps up the cost of cover significantly, don’t panic.
You’ll probably be able to get a more competitive quote from another insurer so it’s always worth shopping around.
That’s it from Money Matters for 2013, but we’ll be back in January.
In the meantime, thanks for watching and have a great Christmas and New Year.