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07-03-2014

Storm damage insurance claims

With the appalling weather which has been hitting most parts of the country, there has inevitably been a rise in claims for storm damage. But this often leads to complications as there isn’t a hard and fast rule as to what constitutes a storm.

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has a really useful section on this subject on its website. It defines a storm as involving violent winds, usually accompanied by rain, hail or snow. But it’s not as simple as citing winds higher than a certain level on the Beaufort Scale, and to complicate matters even further there can be circumstances when storm damage occurs without high winds.

The FOS rules on a significant number of complaints from people who have had their claims for storm damage rejected. The reasons vary but are usually because either the insurer does not accept a storm occurred, or does not accept that the damage was caused predominantly by a storm.

Existing condition is critical

One key point that the FOS makes in its guidance is the condition of the property before the ‘storm’ is crucial. For example, it might rule that a claim for broken tiles is rightly refused by the insurer because the tiles would have been displaced regardless of the storm.

We’ve worked with many people who need to make an insurance claim for storm damage and we will always give fair and honest advice on whether the claim is viable. If it’s not, there are sometimes other avenues to explore such as pursing the claim under the accidental damage section of the buildings insurance policy if appropriate. We’re just a phone call away.

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