What to do if a storm damages your home

Home insurance

If your home is at risk of being damaged from a storm, you’re going to want to be prepared and know what to do in a worst-case scenario.

With weather becoming more extreme and less predictable, it’s not a matter of if a storm will strike, but a matter of when.

As soon as a storm strikes, ensuring the safety of your family becomes the top priority. Wait until the storm subsides and it’s safe to go outside before you start evaluating any damage caused.

We recently shared tips on protecting your home from storm damage before it arrives, but this article will help you understand the necessary steps if a storm actually damages your home.

Knowing the right steps to take can significantly reduce the damage to your home and ensure the safety of you and your loved ones. Here’s some helpful tips when faced with a storm and potential damage.

Monitor weather updates

Staying informed about the weather is a good first step to staying protected from storm damage.

With the technology in this day and age, monitoring weather updates has never been easier – you can take your pick between the apps on your smartphone, news channels or the radio for the latest forecasts. These updates are valuable in giving you a heads up about upcoming storms.

If a severe storm warning is used, you should take necessary steps to storm-proof your home, although the sooner you do this, the better!

Weather conditions can change rapidly. Being well-informed can make all the difference in protecting your home and ensuring your family’s safety, which brings us nicely to our next tip…

Safety first

If a storm is well on its way and you think your home may be in danger, firstly ensure you and your family are safe.

By this, we mean perhaps establishing a safe space in your home where you can all gather. This designated area should be stocked with essentials: water, food, a first-aid kit and non-electrical source of light such as a flashlight.

Discuss a safety plan with your family so it minimises the panic and confusion when the storm hits. This may include advising staying away from windows, avoid using plugged-in devices and staying clear of water sources to reduce the risk of electrical shock from lightning strikes.

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Protecting your home (if safe to do so)

Next, we advise protecting your home as best as you can. Start by unplugging and moving electrical and sentimental items upstairs or away. If the situation worsens, safely turn off the gas, water and electric mains.

Equally important is securing outdoor belongings; garden furniture, bikes and trampolines are all popular items which can get blown around by the wind which can damage your home. You should secure these items in a shed or garage, or tie them down as best as you can.

By focussing on these areas, you can significantly minimise potential storm damage and maintain a safer environment for your home.


If in danger, call the Fire and Rescue Service

We know that it will be a scary time if your home floods. The advice from the Fire and Rescue Service is if there is minor flooding with signs of stopping, you should wait for the water to subside and then call them.

But if the storm puts you in immediate danger with flooding providing risk to life, don’t hesitate to call the Fire and Rescue Service on 999. It’s always better to be on the side of caution during severe weather conditions.


Once the storm passes

After the storm passes, it’s important to cautiously assess the situation and begin the recovery process safely.


1. Assessing for immediate danger

First, check your surroundings for any immediate dangers such as downed power lines or structural damage to your home.

Approach this task with caution. If you suspect any risks to your safety, contact the emergency services immediately as instructed in our last point. It’s essential to ensure the area is safe before moving on to the next steps.


2. Documenting the damage

Once it’s safe, start documenting the damage caused by the storm.

Take detailed photos or videos of all affected areas, including any damage to the structure of your home, flooding, or destroyed property. This documentation is vital for insurance claims and for any necessary repairs.

Be thorough and systematic, covering both the exterior and interior of your home, to ensure all damage is accounted for. These records can significantly aid in the recovery process by providing clear evidence for insurance purposes.


3. Contacting your insurer

You should contact your insurer as soon as possible if you need to claim on your home insurance or holiday home insurance after a storm. Document, photograph and video the extent of the damage, and don’t throw anything away as this will help with the claims process.

The insurers that we work with all have 24-hour emergency helplines and will be more than happy to help repair the damage and get things back to normal.

How Home Insurance can help

Navigating the aftermath of a storm can be overwhelming, but understanding how your home insurance can assist is imperative.

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Does home insurance cover storm damage?

Most home insurance policies in the UK cover storm damage, as well as other extreme weather conditions. However, cover can vary, so you should review your policy or speak directly with your insurer to understand the specifics of what’s covered and any exclusions that may apply.

Whilst fences may be covered in the event of vandalism or fire, storm damage is excluded from most insurance policies.

You should make sure you understand the danger of underinsurance to ensure you’re covered appropriately. If your estimates are too low, you could find yourself underinsured and worse off financially if you’re victim to severe storm damage to your home.

Support from your insurer

If you’re insured with Norton, if you call us during work hours, we’ll be happy to help you start your claim. If you need to start a claim outside of our work hours, you can do this 24/7 via the claims line provided on your insurance documents.


Structural damage: Rebuilding your home

For significant structural damage, home insurance can be a lifeline. Your policy should cover the costs of repairs or rebuilding to restore your home to its original state. It’s vital to work closely with your insurer to understand you’re insured appropriately and the extent of cover, including any temporary accommodation allowances while repairs are underway.


Submitting a weather damage insurance claim

When submitting a claim, be as detailed as possible. Include all documentation of the damage, repair estimates, and any other relevant information that supports your claim. Your insurer may send an assessor to evaluate the damage first hand.

Throughout this process, maintain open communication with your insurer, keep records of all interactions, and ask about the next steps and expected timelines for claim resolution.

As a broker with over 55 years’ experience of protecting our clients’ assets, we can support you throughout the process.

Speak to Home Insurance specialists

To find out more about how home insurance can help you in the event of storm damage, get in touch with us here at Norton for a quote or more information.