Insurance advice: How to prevent storm damage[Kristel Kobi | 28.11.2022 :]
It’s not just leaves that are tossed around in autumn. In stormy weather, whole trees can be uprooted and roofs torn off – and they can damage other people’s property in addition to your own. Kristel Kobi, the head of the Property Damage Department at Seesam Insurance, explains how people can prepare for windy weather events and avoid unwanted consequences.
Kobi says 2022 has been a stormy year: Seesam indemnified 60% more loss events in the first eight months of the year than in the same period in 2021. “The biggest of those came to 16,000 euros in total, since an entire roof needed replacing,” she explains. “Given the costs involved, your roof is something you should be thinking about year-round. Previously, storms and resulting damage mostly occurred during particular periods, but this year there have been storms every month.”
Trees, roofs and power cuts are the main culprits
In terms of direct damage caused by storms, the majority results from trees falling on fences and buildings situated on properties. Storms also tear off roofs and lead to water damage in homes, affecting both the interior finish and household items.
Vehicles and outbuildings can also be damaged by falling trees. “I remember a case where a tree fell on quite a big outbuilding and all but destroyed it,” Kobi recalls. “The construction costs that led to were significant, to say the least.” She notes that although outbuildings up to 20 m2 in size are automatically covered under home insurance, larger structures need to be insured separately.
Indirect damage is most often associated with power cuts and power surges caused by storms, which affect appliances and heating devices.
Falling trees and flying objects leave you liable to damage caused to other people’s property
It should be borne in mind that trees falling on your own house or vehicle aren’t the only danger: there is a risk to other people’s property, too.
Roofs can also take flight. “There was one incident where the wind ripped the roof off an outbuilding and dropped it on three vehicles in the neighbouring yard, damaging them all,” Kobi says. “So much so, in fact, that there were worries the liability insurance wouldn’t cover it.”
Items can likewise go flying from balconies and yards. “You need to be particularly careful with trampolines and garden furniture,” Kobi advises. “That said, strong gusts can carry off smaller items as well, like flower boxes and children’s toys.”
The owner of the property on which the tree grew or from which the item went flying is responsible for any damage done.
Tips on preventing storm damage
Here are some simple pointers on avoiding damage in stormy weather.
• Regularly check the trees on your property. If they look likely to break or become uprooted, get in touch with your local government to arrange for their removal. If the whole tree doesn’t need to be dug up, individual branches that are potentially dangerous should be removed.
• Make sure your roof is in good condition.
• If a wind warning is issued, remove any items from your yard and balconies that might otherwise go flying.
• Unplug household appliances if a storm is approaching.
• Review the terms and conditions of your insurance. Make sure you know what your policy covers and what it doesn’t. If needed, arrange for extra insurance on your outbuildings and liability insurance in case something from your property results in damage to third parties.