How to protect your home from storm damage
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Storm damage could see home insurance claims soar in the aftermath of Storm Eunice, with everything from damaged roofs to broken fencing prompting claims by homeowners. While your property is likely to be fully covered by your insurer, what’s covered in the garden? Garden spaces are often included in home insurance policies, but there is one key term which could invalidate your claim on storm damage. Express.co.uk reveals the fine print you should never ignore.
Are garden fences covered by home insurance?
Cover for your garden is usually included within your home insurance policy, but the type of damage you can claim on isn’t always as clear.
Fences and gates are seen to be a part of the structure of your home by most insurers, but Compare the Market warns that you should always read the small print before filing a claim.
The price comparison website said: “Gates and fences may be covered in the event of vandalism or fire but storm damage is often specifically excluded.
“We suspect many policyholders would expect their insurance providers to pay out in the event that a storm wreaks havoc in their garden, but experience from previous storms is that sheds, greenhouses, fences and gates may not be covered.”
When can I claim insurance compensation on a garden fence?
While Storm Eunice has sent hundreds of fence panels flying throughout the day, there are only a few circumstances in which you are likely to make a valid insurance claim.
In the event storm damage is covered by your existing policy, you could be asked to prove the damage to your property did not exist before the adverse weather occurred.
Money Supermarket explained: “To pay out on a claim, your insurer must be satisfied that you’ve maintained your home to a reasonable standard.
“Say a storm knocks some tiles off your roof, you may need to provide evidence that they hadn’t already been damaged by wear and tear.”
In most cases, the same rule will apply to damaged garden fences.
Which insurers will cover garden fence damage?
LV is one of the largest car and home insurers in the UK and has even stolen the top spot in the UK Customer Satisfaction Index.
Unfortunately for garden-owners, it seems that there are tight grounds for claiming on a damaged fence.
On their website, the company states that their buildings insurance will cover policy-holders for damage to:
- Garden walls, gates and fences
- Drives and footpaths
- Domestic outbuildings, like your shed, and garages
- Swimming pools and tennis courts
- Septic tanks and central heating oil or gas tanks
However, they also add a disclaimer which states that insurance for damage caused by storm or flood is not extended to gates or fences.
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Policy-holders who are relying on Admiral to pay out for a damaged fence could also be disappointed, with storm damage excluded once again.
While the company offers garden insurance specifically for bikes, tools and garden equipment, it offers no obvious cover for your garden fence or gates.
Admiral Insurance said: “The effects of weather damage on your garden, for example, may not be covered in the same way as they are with your home.”
If you have an existing buildings insurance policy with Admiral, it is worth exploring your ability to claim on a damaged fence as it is listed as a covered entity.
What to do in the event of storm damage
Even if you think you are unlikely to receive a pay-out for storm damage to your fence, it is always best to take the following steps to protect your garden in the meantime.
Contact your insurer as soon as possible. Most companies will have a 24-hour helpline to provide customers with advice and arrange speedy repairs.
Next, remove the fence panels if possible and store them in a safe position to prevent them from blowing away or suffering further damage.
If necessary, arrange short-term repairs to freeze any existing damage, and keep the receipts in case of a future claim.
Photograph the damage and the empty space where the panels have blown from.
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