Is your home covered against storms and weather damage?

Your home insurance covers you for sudden, unforeseen events like bad weather and storms. Find out some of the common pitfalls to look out for when claiming for weather damage and what to look for on your policy.

Amy Smith
Amy Smith
Updated 15 June 2023  | 3 min read

Is weather damage covered by home insurance?

Weather damage is covered by your home insurance, but it’s not always easy to understand exactly what cover you have and what part of your policy it falls under.

Key points

  • You can claim for accidental damage following bad weather or a storm, but definitions vary by policy, so check the details
  • If your property isn’t well maintained, it could invalidate a claim
  • You can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service if you’re not happy with the way a claim or complaint was handled by your insurer

For example, acts of nature are classed as storm damage, which is included on most buildings insurance policies.

But if an incident occurs as a result of the natural event - such as water damage from rain coming through a storm-damaged roof - your insurer might class this as accidental damage.

As accidental damage cover is often sold as an optional extra on home insurance, you might not be covered if you didn’t take this out too.

Here’s a list of incidents generally classed as weather damage:

  • Hail damage
  • Roof damage
  • Wind damage (including fallen trees and dislodged shingles or bricks)
  • Water damage
  • Sewer back-up
  • Freezing pipes
  • Fallen trees
  • Ice dams forming on the roof
  • Weight of snow and ice on the roof causing damage
  • Loss or displacement due to power failure, which might include food loss
  • Flooding due to melting snow, a sudden thaw, or excessive rainfall
  • Water infiltration into the home, depending on how the damage happens

Is weather damage cover worth it?

It's impossible to predict whether your home will be affected by weather damage. But having home insurance that covers such an event could give you peace of mind should something happen.

According to our data, weather damage accounts for roughly 12% of all home insurance claims[1] - the third most common type of claim overall.

Problems with weather damage claims

Weather damage can be a contentious area for insurers and there are a few things to look out for when making a claim.

Proving storm damage

Your insurer might dispute whether a storm happened at all, whether the damage to your home was actually caused by a storm or whether the storm was the primary cause of damage.

Instead, it might suspect that lack of maintenance was the cause of the damage, or at least a contributing factor and refuse your claim in these grounds.

If you genuinely believe stormy weather was the cause of the damage, you should explain this to your insurer and send it any evidence you have, such as local weather reports.

High winds and heavy rain, snow or hail are all likely to be classed as stormy weather.

Your insurer can use the Beaufort Scale to help judge, but the wind speeds measured by weather stations can be different from your local conditions.

Accidental damage after storms

Most buildings insurance policies will cover you if a storm blows tiles off your well-maintained roof, as that’s clearly weather damage.

However, damage caused by rain coming through the gaps will likely require accidental damage cover.

Damage caused by large quantities of snow that has built up after the initial storm will be classified in the same way.

On Defaqto, only 21% of 303 buildings insurance policies offer accidental damage as standard, while 76% offer it as an optional extra.[2]

For peace of mind, you could buy an accidental damage policy, but you shouldn’t assume it’s included as standard with your home insurance.

What else do I need to consider?

Check your policy documents to find out how your insurer treats:

  • Fences, walls and gates
  • Sheds and other outbuildings
  • Incomplete extensions
  • Falling aerials
  • Property in the garden, such as garden furniture
  • Falling trees

Make sure you're prepared for bad weather

With howling winds and stormy weather happening more often, it's important to take extra safety precautions to protect your home. Fixing the damage caused by bad weather can cost up to a few thousand pounds or more so check what your home insurance covers if you find yourself in this situation. If your home is affected, record all details of the event - taking photos and videos can also be helpful, if it's safe to do so.

Ceri McMillan - GoCompare home insurance expert

How to prepare for bad weather and storms

  • Check that pipes and tanks are insulated properly
  • Make sure your loft and wall insulation is thick enough
  • Pipes in the loft should run under insulation
  • Repair any dripping or leaking taps
  • Turn off the water to outside taps
  • Remove excess snow and ice from your guttering and drains, if it’s safe
  • Run the heating regularly to keep the system circulating
  • Repair loose roof tiles
  • Clear drains and guttering
  • Fix broken fences or walls
  • Plant trees and shrubs away from your home
  • Cut back or remove vegetation that’s too close

Before a storm hits, secure your windows and doors, park your car away from trees (ideally in a garage) and put away any outdoor furniture, tools or ornaments.

What to do if your property suffers weather damage

As soon as you can, contact your insurer for advice.

If your home needs emergency repairs, arrange to have these done and just inform your insurer as soon as possible if you’re unable to contact it first – it won’t want your property to suffer further damage.

Keep all receipts from the repair work, as you’ll need these as proof if you make a claim on your home insurance.

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[2]We've looked at all of the areas of the UK where claims were made and what the claim was for. We've then pulled out the top 20 areas where those claims were most frequently made. Data is based on home quotes completed in 2022. Data relates to last quote per customer in year. % of Quote relates to the % of quotes (last per customer per year) in each area where the customer declared 1 or more claim of the specified type when completing their home quote. Where fewer than 5 claims of the specified type were declared for the area, the area has been excluded from the output.

[2]Last checked 24 May 2023