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6 PIECES OF ADVICE: an insurer teaches you how to protect your home and property from autumn winds

[Dagmar Gilden | 26.10]

According to Dagmar Gilden, Head of Property Insurance at Seesam, powerlines, garden furniture, trampolines, as well as cars and houses – onto which fallen trees and branches are blown – are the hardest hit by autumn winds. In the worst case, the wind will tear loose the edge of a roof, opening the way for rainwater to enter.

The strong, raging winds of August brought Seesam home insurance losses in the amount of nearly EUR 70,000. The biggest loss reached EUR 16,000.

‘Prior to the actual arrival of winter, Estonia is once again assailed by strong gusts of wind, resulting in multiple loss events. Big loss numbers are also proof that strong wind and precipitation constitute a notable threat to people, homes, property, and vehicles’, said Gilden.

To avoid severe losses and the accompanying unpleasantries, the insurer is sharing clever words of advice with homeowners to help protect themselves and their property.

Moving furniture and trampolines indoors

All unsecured objects, such as trampolines, garden furniture, and children’s toys should be moved into winter quarters at the end of the season. These objects tend to take flight from yards, balconies and terraces during strong winds, and there have been situations where an unsecured trampoline has flown around the yard or landed on a car in the neighbour’s yard. This means financial obligations before the neighbour.

Check doors, windows, gates

There is an incident in Seesam’s history, in which the wind tore loose an improperly secured fence and damaged a car parked in the yard. Properly closed windows, doors, and gates do not yield to jostling by strong winds and help to prevent the occurrence of more serious damage.

Unplug home appliances from the mains power supply

Wind also frequently causes power outages and power fluctuations, which in turn may affect the functioning of home appliances. According to Seesam’s representative, the insurer receives claims following every storm, in which home appliances stopped working after a power outage.

Any home appliances that are not intended for continuous use should be unplugged from the mains power supply before the storm arrives. It also pays to consult with a specialist, who will be able to provide the best tips for protecting domestic property.

Make sure that your roof is properly maintained

Seesam’s insurance statistics show that in the event of a storm damage is most often associated with building roofs. Bigger winds and torrential rains expose the most fragile locations on a roof – strong wind may tear away a piece of the roof, but may also damage the entire roof and the main structures. It is not just older homes that are at risk from storms – strong winds may also tear open a new roof. Prior to the arrival of the storm, make sure to check the roof of the residential building as well as any outbuildings and, if necessary, secure or repair any suspicious spots.

Strong torrential rains also have a way of penetrating through roof structures without destroying the roof and may cause damage to interior furnishings, as well as household property.

Keep away from trees

If possible, vehicles should be parked away from trees and posts. You should also remain at home in the event of strong winds, since falling trees are also a danger to people.

If you have noticed any trees that are old and in danger of falling, then they should definitely be removed prior to the arrival of storms. Naturally, with the approval of your local government. Branches should also be removed, as they may become fatal in the wind.

Read the Terms and Conditions of Insurance

Make clear what the insurance contract does and does not cover, and under what terms and conditions storm damage is subject to compensation. In general, storm damage caused by strong winds is subject to compensation in most insurance contracts, although different insurers define the concept of storms differently. One insurer considers a storm to be wind speed above 18 m/s; for another, this limit may be lower or even higher.

Attention must also be paid to exceptions, which may, for example, be damage that has been helped along by wear and tear, and fatigue. For example, edges of roofs, which were already loose prior to the storm or a rotten tree standing next to a house. Both damages could have been prevented with the repairing of the roof or the removal of the tree. However, if that has not been done, the insurance undertaking may refuse to pay compensation or reduce the amount of compensation.