Feature: Common Challenges and Disputes


Storm Damage and Your Insurance

Written by Belinda Thorpe, MD at Residentsline Flats Insurance

Residentsline Flats Insurance

Most property managers will have to deal with storm damage at some point during the winter months.

As many of you will have returned from the Christmas break to reports of missing fence panels, leaking roofs and resulting damp issues, this January we wanted to inform and assure that most specialist Flats Insurance policies will cover storm damage if claims are genuine, and the weather has met the criteria for constituting a ‘storm’.

What Classifies as a Storm?

Your policy should define what your insurer believes constitutes a storm so always check the wording.

The Financial Ombudsman defines a storm as weather that “generally involves violent winds, usually accompanied by rain, hail or snow but in some cases we may find there’s a storm without there being high winds. There are occasions where rain, hail, or snowfall by itself can constitute storm.” Many insurers will start by checking the winds speeds at the time of the damage with most considering ‘storm’ winds to be 45mph. Some go higher, setting the bar at 55mph.

Recent Storms to Reach the UK

Storm Arwen visited the UK in late November 2021, prompting a ‘red warning’ from the Met office who said it was “one of the most powerful and damaging winter storms of the latest decade”. Winds largely reached 69mph but increased to 98mph in the worst-hit areas of the country, bringing down thousands of trees, including, according to the National Trust, many large, mature ones due to the unusual direction of the wind (northerly as opposed to prevailing westerly). They brought down power lines (with over 100,000 homes subsequently experiencing several days without power) and blocked roads. Rail lines were widely affected with passengers on a train in Aberdeenshire becoming trapped onboard overnight and 3 people even sadly lost their lives after being hit by trees as they fell. The winds also caused highly dangerous conditions at coastlines and hundreds of grey seal pups were lost from beaches along the North Sea coast. It probably goes without saying, but structural damage to buildings was widespread. As we write this in early December, Storm Barra is upon us with severe yellow weather warnings in place across the majority of the UK and winds already reaching 86mph.

First Steps When You Discover Damage

  1. Contact your insurer so they can advise you of their protocol. You can then act within their guidelines; increasing your chances of a pay-out without issues.
  2. Take photos of all damaged items/areas including the spaces where fence panels once were and roof tiles on the floor etc.
  3. Arrange any necessary temporary or emergency repairs to avoid any worsening damage. Inform your insurer of your plans and keep hold of all receipts.
  4. Store any evidence or reusable items: Remove damaged fence panels to avoid them being blown away completely and retain any that have already come away. Retain fallen roof tiles as evidence
  5. Make an exhaustive list with full details of the damage.

How Residentsline Can Help

Most Buildings insurance policies will cover storm damage to some extent, but, unfortunately, very few will cover the cost of storm damage to fences, gates or hedges. Our specialist flats insurance covers this automatically. Our flats insurance policies are recognised as one of the most reliable policies on the market. They provide cover on an ‘All Risks’ basis, which basically means you’ll be protected against the widest possible range of risks including damage caused by:

  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Subsidence
  • Storm
  • Ground heave
  • Theft
  • Riot or civil commotion
  • Escape of water or oil
  • Accidental and malicious damage

Our flats insurance policies cover the bricks and mortar of the building as well as furnishings and contents. This protection also extends across any external buildings, garages, swimming pools, garden walls, patios, roads, driveways, underground pipes, communal areas, plus a great deal more.

Our flats insurance policies have been specifically created for Residents’ Associations, Residents’ Management Companies and all who are involved with managing blocks of flats and apartments. You will automatically receive a 24-hour claims line and emergency service helpline, so you’ll never be without the support that you need. All our policies are provided alongside gold standard levels of cover to give you and your fellow residents peace of mind. Review our policy wordings here so that you can see what extras we provide. Head to the Residentsline website for information on all our products and services or, if you’d prefer to speak to a member of our fantastic, specialist team, give us a call on 0800 281 235.

Residentsline’s sole focus has always been insurance for blocks of flats. Today, 25 years on, Residentsline is still the best choice for flats insurance.

At Residentsline, our flats insurance policies are tailored to your needs; created for all sizes and types of blocks of flats and apartments. Our insurance cover also includes the option to include directors and officer’s liability insurance, terrorism insurance, lift cover or legal expenses protection as part of your policy or as a separate policy if desired.

Residentsline Flats Insurance

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