How to protect your home against storms

The cost of storm damage to homes and businesses every year in the UK is at least £300 million, on average. But, in years when exceptional storms hit, the cost can be much higher.

A little bit of storm planning can go a long way towards protecting your home and belongings. Here’s our list of tips for minimising the risk of damage:

Storm proofing your home - things you can do now

  • Check your roof for any signs of ageing, such as cracks or misaligned tiles, and look out for any obvious damage to chimney stacks - especially if they’re tall. If in doubt, speak to an expert such as a building surveyor.
  • Keep gutters, drainpipes and drains clear of blockages - this will ensure rainwater has somewhere to go, and is less likely to build into a flood.
  • Check the condition of trees close to your home and consider removing any that could potentially fall onto your house or car. Remove any branches that have grown very close to your home - if in doubt, speak to a tree surgeon. If the tree is on your property, you can arrange this yourself, but you’ll need to speak to the council if it is on public land. Also, if the tree is subject to a preservation order, you’ll need to obtain permission from the local planning authority.
  • Ensure all fixtures around your house, such as fences and sheds, are in good condition and securely fastened down. Normally these aren’t covered by insurance policies, and they can cause damage to other property if forced loose by the wind.
  • If you live in a coastal or low-lying area, you may be at risk of coastal or flash flooding when a storm hits. Storms can cause sea levels to rise - an effect known as a storm surge - while heavy rainfall can cause rivers to burst their banks. Read more about protecting your home against floods and emergency planning here.
Did You Know...? Insurers paid out nearly £640 million to cover storm damage caused by bad weather over the winter of 2013/14.

What to do when a storm is forecast

  • Close and securely fasten doors and windows - don’t forget to bolt any garage doors too.
  • Secure any loose objects, such as garden furniture or ladders.
  • Try to keep internal doors - including loft access doors and skylight windows - closed where possible.
  • Park your car in a garage if possible, or park away from large trees.

“Even with the UK’s relatively mild climate, we have seen many examples of high winds and heavy rainfall wreaking havoc on neighbourhoods across the UK. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to take a look at your home with the list of precautions above in mind. Familiarising yourself with what to do before a storm arrives will help give your property the best chance of emerging from a storm unharmed.”

Swinton Insurance

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