With UK weather becoming more extreme, homeowners are having to deal with an increase in damage caused by trees and fences being blown down. We take a look at who is responsible and how to deal with a storm damage insurance claim.
The UK has seen an increase in extreme weather events, with storms and high winds sweeping the country and causing extensive damage. Where damage is caused to walls or fences between properties or your property is damaged by something from your neighbour’s property, difficulties can arise.
Damage to fences and walls
Boundaries can be a major cause of disagreement between neighbours. Wherever possible, it is always recommended to approach the subject cautiously and try and keep your relationship amicable.
The title deeds to your property may state who is responsible for a fence or wall. If they do not, then the general presumption is that they are shared.
Damage caused by a falling tree
If your neighbour’s tree falls on your property and causes damage, you will not be able to make a claim against their insurance. This is because home insurance only covers the policy holder’s property.
It is usually the case that you would make a claim against your own insurance. You may be able to negotiate with your neighbour and ask them to pay your policy excess.
If the tree fell on your property from publicly owned land, then you can ask the council to remove the tree. You may be able to ask them to pay for the damage if it was caused by their negligence, but generally you would again make a claim against your own insurance.
Claiming against your home insurance for storm damage
Home insurance policies generally pay out for damage caused by a storm, however on occasion they may dispute what was a storm. The Association of British Insurers defines a storm as a period of violent weather with one of the following:
- Wind speeds with gusts of 55 mph or more
- Torrential rainfall of 25mm per hour or more
- Snow of at least one foot in depth in 24 hours
- Hail that is hard enough to damage hard surfaces or break glass
Alternatively, in some cases your home insurance policy may include its own definition.
Making an insurance claim for storm damage
You should ring your insurer as soon as you can after the damage occurs. They may have a 24-hour claims line that you can use.
You should take photos and video straight away if you can. Where you need emergency repairs you should ask your insurer how to proceed. They may have workers they send out or you may be able to arrange your own repairs.
Ideally, you should keep anything that has been damaged so that you can show your insurer evidence, should they query it.