Here’s How To Protect Your Home Against Gale-Force Winds
Caeva O'Callaghan | February 24th, 2020
In Ireland, we don’t need to protect our homes from hurricane-level weather events… hopefully we haven’t just jinxed it. However, it does get very windy. A lot of insurance claims arise from damage to properties caused by unusually blustery conditions. So, it’s best to be prepared if you know a storm is on the way.
There are many precautions you can take from securing valuables to shoring up your building’s structure and taking care of surrounding trees. In this article, we’ll answer questions like:
- How can I protect my home from strong winds?
- What do I need to do before a big storm?
- Wind damaged my house. Can I claim on my home insurance?
Gale force winds and home insurance
Buildings insurance policies will usually cover financial loss caused by storm damage. Insurers generally say storms would involve violent winds, usually accompanied by rain, hail or snow. However, in some cases, you may have hail or snowfall without winds, or strong winds that cause damage all by themselves. Almost any extreme bad weather can potentially damage a property.
If an insurer rejects a claim, it could be because of a dispute over what actually constitutes a ‘storm’, or whether the damage was actually caused by a storm. This is why it’s important to do everything you can to protect your home, and not rely on your insurance too much. But if your insurer thinks you haven’t taken proper precautions, your claim may be denied.
Insurers look at data from the Met Office and other sources to determine if a storm indeed happened when you say so, and if it was strong enough to inflict the damage wrought. If a storm happened ‘some time in the past’, that isn’t persuasive.
Check your perimeter
Forecast says a storm is on its way? Before it hits, take a walk around your property and check off any potential risks.
Most of these will be found in your garden, or on adjacent property. Take a look at broken fences which may cave in, any shaky branches on nearby trees, or loose roof shingles. Schedule to have these things fixed before the wind picks up. If the storm is predicted to be huge, consider cutting down or moving any big trees. The cost of doing so will be a lot cheaper than repairing a roof or car that has been crushed.
Cover up doors and windows
Consider investing in lined curtains with weights sewn into the hems if gale force winds batter your home on a regular basis. They fit over your doors and windows and keep out draughts nicely.
In extreme cases, windows can burst open if they are hit by strong gusts of wind. Shutters prevent that from happening. They also ramp up your home’s security, and give you peace of mind against would-be intruders who use the storm as an opportunity.
If the weatherman forecasts wind, it’s a good time to tie anything and everything that moves to the ground. Secure all outdoor furniture, preferably by storing it in a shed or garage. If that isn’t possible, tie it securely to your house or something else that’s solid. Similarly, tie down your shed. Aluminium sheds – and even some wooden ones – which are only resting on concrete bases may fly off if winds pick up enough.
Barbecues, sporting equipment, and lightweight ornaments all need to be stored away. Similarly, bamboo canes might become javelins if they are uprooted, so make sure you secure your plants. Consider the cost of replacing your plants if the wind crushes or uproots them. If you couldn’t bear it if you lose them, cover them or bring them indoors.
Repair your roof
If you have a hole in your roof or a few loose tiles, now is the time to get those sorted. Strong winds can damage your shingles, making homes more vulnerable to rain and leaks. Your insurance will cover you for water damage that has arisen because of a storm, but it’s best to avoid it.
In worst case scenarios, wind can remove entire roof panels or create larger holes. As a result, the wind enters your home and might cause your belongings to fall and smash, or damage your pipes or electrics. Therefore, get a contractor to secure your roof well before bad weather is on its way.
Above all, if you follow these simple tips, your home will withstand any weather we’re likely to see in the near future.
Have a chat with us in QuoteMe.ie with any of your questions
If you have any questions regarding what is covered and not covered in your home insurance, pick up the phone anytime and get immediate expert advice from our certified insurance agents. We have been providing home insurance in Ireland for over 30 years. We genuinely know all the angles. Call us anytime between 8.30am and 5.30pm each weekday on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.
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