Minimising storm damage to your property

If you’re a landlord or small business, here’s what to do before and after a storm to minimise the damage to your property.

What to do before a storm

How to protect your home from storm damage

Extreme weather such as heavy rain, high winds and even flooding can cause significant property damage and wreak havoc on small businesses. It pays to do all you can to minimise the potential for storm and wind damage to your property.

It doesn’t have to be a difficult task protecting your property or business premises against stormy weather. Simple repairs around your property and checking that things are secure can help prevent further damage when a storm sets in.

The following precautions can help prevent or reduce storm damage:

  • Make sure the following are in good condition: the chimney, roof and pointing (the ‘finish’ that is between the bricks or stone used to build your house). Also check the aerial is secure and if your property has a felt roof then for any wear and tear on it.
  • Check that any gates and fences are secure and fence posts are sturdy enough to survive a storm. Bear in mind that damage to the following isn’t covered by Direct Line for Business storm covers:
    • Walls (not part of the building structure)
    • Fences
    • Gates
    • Moveable property in the open or in open sided structures like gazebos
  • Cut down any loose or overhanging branches in the garden, though call in a professional if any work needed is high up. You may also need to speak to your local authority to see if any trees are protected.
  • Check your gutters. If they overflow, they can cause damage to the roof, so make sure your gutter and downpipe is clear of any loose leaves and debris.
  • Before a storm (checking with the Met Office can help forewarn you), ensure that everything is secured or locked inside if possible. Place any garden furniture in sheds or garages where able. Make sure that doors, garages, windows and loft trapdoors are closed and are properly fastened.
  • Don’t forget your neighbours. If it looks like their property isn’t adequately prepared for bad weather, then that could affect you. This could be the case if for example your property is a terrace house with a shared roof. Most neighbours should consider any potential issues being brought to their attention.

How to get storm damage insurance

If you’re a landlord or a small business owner, you will want to ensure that your property has the appropriate cover for storm damage.

For landlord, buildings insurance will cover the rental property for:

  • Fire, lightning, explosion or earthquake damage
  • Storm or flood
  • Escape of water

Landlords can also get contents insurance. This insures fixtures and fittings that aren’t a permanent part of the building’s structure. It will cover cost of repairing or replacing damaged furniture and items such as carpets, kitchenware and electrical goods. Bear in mind that landlord contents insurance does not cover items tenants have brought to the property.

For small businesses, you can cover your business in the event of a storm for:

  • Damage to equipment
  • Damage to stock
  • Business interruption
  • Damage to the building

Find out more about small business insurance.

What to do after a storm

What to do if your property suffers storm damage and making storm damage repairs

If your property does become damaged after a storm, there are a few things you should do before making a claim:

  • Move and store storm damaged items somewhere safe.
  • Dry out any damaged rugs or soft furnishings. Don't lift the carpets unless you or your tenants really have to as it might cause them to shrink.
  • Turn off your power at the mains if you think that cables are damaged. Leave them until they can be inspected by a professional. Don't touch electrical or telephone cables if they’re blown down or hanging loose.
  • For roof damage use a tarpaulin as a temporary covering. This should stop water getting in and causing further damage.
  • Don’t redecorate storm-damaged walls too quickly. They can take a long time to sufficiently dry out before they can be repainted.
  • Be prepared to make any emergency repairs to stop damage getting any worse during periods of sustained bad weather.
  • Take photographs of any damage that your property or furniture have received. This can help with any claims you need to make.
  • Keep all your receipts for any repairs. This will make processing your claim as straightforward as possible.

How to make a storm damage claim

Bear in mind to avoid further damage or loss you may need to make sure emergency repairs are carried out immediately.

A plumber may need to come out to fix a leak that would cause further damage. Or a broken door may need to be fixed to ensure nothing is stolen.

Don’t wait to see if your insurance will cover you to fix anything that could cause further damage to your property or increased costs for your business.

Just make sure you keep any receipts and records (including photographs) for any emergency repairs. Both will be considered as part of the claim and will help with its settlement.

If you’re a Direct Line for Business customer, here’s how to claim for storm damage:

  • Register your claim as soon as you can by phoning 0345 303 1753. Lines open: 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday, excluding Bank Holidays.
  • We can talk through the next steps you’ll need to take over the phone and may be able to resolve small claims at the same time.
  • If you call outside of the above business hours, our 24-hour helpline can take details from you, but your claim won't be progressed any further until the next working day. If it's an emergency, you'll receive more specific guidance and support.
  • In the rare instance that the damage is very serious and you need to make a larger claim, we will send a loss adjuster to assess the damage and establish a timetable for any repair work. The loss adjuster in some instances can provide advice over the phone or in person to help reduce the impact of the damage.
  • If you’re a landlord and your tenants are forced to live somewhere else while the repairs are made, your insurance should cover some of the cost of temporary accommodation. Be sure to check your policy.
  • If you run a small business and can’t trade due to the storm, Business Interruption cover will cover you for loss of income.
  • Check with your claims adviser before anything is thrown away. You might need to keep hold of it for the claims process.