General Insurance Article - Batten down the hatches as 1 in 3 unprepared for storms

The storms of 2020 and lingering damage from two more at the end of 2019 has seen almost £10 million paid out this year to LV= General Insurance (LV= GI) customers who have suffered damage to their homes - almost double the amount claimed in 2019.

 Storms have battered parts of the UK this year, with rain, wind, hail and snow creating havoc for homeowners on six different occasions. The largest volume of claims were for Ciara in February, where LV= GI paid out £3.2 million, followed by Dennis (£1.7m) and Brendan (£471,000). Jorge, Ellen and Francis also generated £50-60,000 worth of claims each.
 Storm claims can come in all different shapes and sizes, but the most common seen by LV= GI this year are:
 1. Loss of roof tiles e.g. ridge tiles
 2. Water penetration due to poorly maintained flat roof
 3. Guttering and chimney stack damage
 4. Damage to walls and outbuildings. This includes a trend in damage to garden cabins/sheds, garages and greenhouses
 5. Damage caused by or to garden equipment. This includes a trend in damage by trampolines
 Homes in York suffered the most damage from the storms, with 13.8% of all claims received, followed by Wolverhampton (12.2%), Tunbridge Wells (8%), Warrington (7.9%) and Wakefield (6.6%). The average storm claim cost was £2,600.
 Despite the large number of storms so far this year, and over five million homeowners having experienced storm damage to their property, research from LV= GI shows that one in three homeowners are unprepared for storms, potentially leaving their properties at risk of damage. Additionally, over a fifth of homeowners (22%) expect wear and tear damage to be covered as standard on their home insurance policy.
 With the World Meteorologist Organisation recently declaring a La Niña event – the first since 2010/11 – temperatures, precipitation, and storm patterns are likely to be affected in many parts of the world, meaning there is a heightened risk of UK storms during winter 2020-21. It is therefore crucial that homeowners are prepared for the extreme weather ahead and take precautions to prepare their homes against severe weather.
 Martin Milliner, Claims Director at LV= GI, said: “Storms can cause devastating damage to anyone’s home, and their unpredictable nature mean they can appear anywhere, at anytime. This year has been particularly bad but I’m pleased we’ve been able to help thousands of our customers who have suffered damage to their property.
 “It’s really important, especially as we move into winter and the heightened risk of storms that homeowners check their property to make sure it’s storm ready, ensure they have the right level of cover and are aware of what is and isn’t included in their policy, if in the unfortunate event they need to make a claim.”
 Here are some tips from LV= GI on the best way to prepare your home for storms:
 1. Clear gutters and drains of leaves; if heavy rainfall is expected, make sure water can drain away properly by clearing gutters.
 2. Check your roof tiling is secure; get a professional roofer to inspect your roof. Damaged, missing or loose tiles can cause serious damage in high winds
 3. Check your property for water damage; this may be considered ‘wear and tear’
 4. Check fence panels and fix or replace them if necessary. Fence panels can fly off in extreme win and cause damage to your home and potentially your neighbour’s property
 5. Secure loose objects in your garden or move elsewhere (e.g. shed); wind can play havoc with your garden furniture and ornaments – move them indoors or secure them
 6. Move cars into your garage; this will minimise the damage caused in the event of extreme winds or flooding
 7. Cut back branches; branches or trees in your garden can cause damage in storms. Cut them back to reduce the chance of this happening.
 8. Put up flood defences before bad weather arrives; you can find sandbag-like products to block your home’s doors and entrances.

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