Storm damage poses a real threat to homeowners, from missing a few tiles off the roof to losing valued possessions. Aside from the financial implications there is an emotional toll, but having a plan in place means you have the resources you need to grapple with the situation. Being prepared for a storm is half of the battle, and knowing what to do should the worst happen is also important. Here are our tips on what to do before – and after – a storm.
Get prepared before it arrives
Secure your home. Walk around, ensuring gates are locked, windows are shut and that any loose items in the garden – such as furniture, toys and trampolines – are secured or stored inside if possible.
Facilitate the quick drainage of rainwater by ensuring that your gutters are clear of debris and that there are no obstructions to drains.
Regularly maintain trees on your property. Call in a tree surgeon if you feel any individual tree or branch looks dead or unstable, to see if it needs to be removed.
Check to see if a flood warning has been issued in your area by visiting the OPW’s flood maps at https://www.floodinfo.ie/ If floods may occur, try to store any important documents safely out of reach of possible damage in a watertight bag. Place other valuable items and costly electricals in high cupboards or on upper floors to avoid damage. You may also want to buy air brick covers and use floorboards or sandbags to block doorways, to prevent water getting in.
Ensure you have easy access to emergency telephone numbers as – if the worst should happen – you may need to act quickly. As well as family and friends, these should include gas, electricity and telephone providers. You may also want to make a note of the contact details for your insurer, local council and emergency services. Fully charge your mobile phone in case the landline is cut.
If a big storm is forecast, take steps to protect your car. don’t drive, and ensure your vehicle is parked away from overhanging trees.
Double check your insurance coverage and when it’s time to renew, speak to an insurance broker to make sure you have the best home insurance policy for your needs. Be sure that any high value items are included, and see if you have new-for-old coverage that will replace your property with new,
What to do if you sustain damage
If your property suffers weather damage, for example from high winds or floods, as soon as it’s practically possible you should contact your insurer – they will have dealt with situations like this before and will be able to offer additional help and advice.
If you need to carry out emergency repairs, make sure any plumber, electrician or builder you call is fully qualified. Keep any receipts as you’ll need them when you make a claim.
If you need to submit an insurance claim, provide full details of the circumstances pertaining to anything that’s been lost or damaged, plus any evidence – it might be worth keeping affected items in a shed if possible. Take photographs or record footage of damage to your home, contents or vehicle. This should answer any questions that may arise and will act as supporting proof.
Submit any claims as swiftly as possible. If there is a delay in your claim the insurance company might be suspicious as to why, plus the costs of repairs and replacements would rise in the interim.
Be prepared to decamp to temporary accommodation if you can no longer stay in your home. Check your home insurance policy covers alternative accommodation and if you need to avail of it, let them know quickly to avoid any delay.