A HOMEOWNER is facing footing the bill for £10,000 worth of damage to her home by Storm Ciara despite having insurance.
Erin, from Bradford, was forced to evacuate her house for two days after the whole downstairs in her house became flooded in the bad weather, reports the Mirror.
She returned to thousands of pounds worth of damage, including ruined carpets and furniture, including her TV, DVD player, music station and a computer.
But despite taking detailed photographs of her wrecked home, her insurers refused to pay out.
This is because the small print of her home insurance meant she was covered for any structural damage but not the contents.
Consumer lawyer Dean Dunham believes Erin should appeal the insurer’s decision because she was lead to believe the contents of her home would be covered when she declared it was a flood-risk when taking the policy out.
It’s a stark reminder though for other homeowners to check their policies, especially as the bad weather is expected to continue.
Here are your rights if your home is damaged by a storm:
Can I make a claim if my property is damaged by bad weather?
Both building and contents insurance usually cover against storm damage, according to confused.com, so you’re likely to be able to make a claim if the bad weather has had a negative impact on your home.
The Financial Ombudsman defines a storm as something that “generally involves violent winds, usually accompanied by rain, hail or snow”.
But many insurers have their own standards that define “bad weather”, which you agree to when you take out the policy.
In lesser weather, they may argue against claims citing things like wind speeds.
Many set their own thresholds and vary depending on the policy but are usually between 47mph and 55mph.
Malcolm Tarling from the Association of British Insurers, said: “Insurers are ready for Storm Ciara.
“They expect storms to strike at anytime, and are fully geared up to help customers hit by high winds and floods recover as quickly as possible.”
What kind of damage can I claim for?
According to the comparison site, things that you are likely to be able to make a claim for include:
- Roof tiles that have blown off in the winds,
- Damage to the house caused by lightning,
- Bricks and mortar broken by fallen trees and debris,
- Water damage caused by heavy rainfall.
You’re not likely to be able to get a payout for things such as garden fences, sheds, gates and hedges unless your policy specifically says it will.
Many policies often exclude damage made to anything outside the house itself unless you have specific cover.
In some cases, insurers may refuse to pay out if you didn’t maintain your home to a good enough standard.
For example, if you make a claim for water damage to your house after the storm but the insurer’s inspection finds that the gutters aren’t clear.
In other cases, your building insurance might not cover your possessions so it’s important to check the small print before taking out the policy.
If your house is damaged to badly that you can’t live in it, your insurer should pay for alternative accommodation until they have repaired it.
How do I make a claim?
Get in touch with your insurer as soon as you can and find out if they have any specific requests that you need to do to make the claim.
Make sure that you take detailed photographs of all of the damage that’s be caused to your property and possessions.
You’ll need to keep all of the damaged property too as the insurance company might want to carry out their own inspection of them before making a decision.
If you need to make any emergency temporary repairs, then you should let your insurer know about it first.
Keep all of the receipts and invoices too as you can add this to your claim.
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