Protecting your rental property against storms

Extreme weather events are becoming more commonplace globally: as the world gets warmer, raised temperatures not only make heatwaves hotter, they also increase the intensity of storms.

This summer, when storms wreaked havoc across the UK following a heatwave, the army was drafted in to help deal with the devastation after roads and bridges were washed away and homes and businesses flooded. And in the winter season storms are even more likely to hit the UK.


Why do landlords need to protect their rental properties from storms?

Storm damage is the second most common insurance claim at Hamilton Fraser Total Landlord Insurance. The most common hazards associated with storms are roof tiles cracking or breaking, trees falling, flooding and fences collapsing. In fact, 64 per cent of all storm claims made between January 2014 and January 2019 were as a result of roof damage. And the average claim value for storm-related roof damage is £2,310.

So, although in the UK we don’t tend to experience storms as frequently as many other countries, major UK storms do cause significant damage to rental properties every year.

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What can landlords do to protect their rental property against storms?

Clearly it is in your interests to protect your property and safeguard your tenants from harm. And prevention is the best strategy. But where should you start? Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to reduce the risk of damage to your property and subsequently the need to make an insurance claim:


1. Keep an eye on the weather

Aligning our claims data with weather data has enabled us to assess the likelihood of storm claims in the future. Our research shows that maximum gust speeds closely correlate with storm claims – as gust speeds increase, the payout increases in a reliably linear fashion. For landlords this information highlights the importance of taking preventative measures, particularly to loose roof and fence panels, which account for well over half of all our storm damage claims.

Keep an eye on the forecast and if strong winds or extreme weather are predicted, contact your tenant to arrange a visit so that you can prepare the property and check that everything is in order and secure. This will reduce the risk of damage to your property as well as helping to safeguard your tenants and passers-by in the event of a roof tile coming loose and crashing to the ground.


2. Carry out advance preparations

It can be difficult to make emergency preparations for a rental property, particularly if you do not live nearby. Make sure you carry out preventative measures in advance, when your property is empty or by prior arrangement with your tenants, so that it is adequately protected in the event of a sudden storm. Here are the key steps you should take:

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Secure fences

Ensure that your fences are properly secured to reduce the chances of them being lifted up by heavy winds during a storm. Rotten posts are a common reason for fence panels falling over in high winds, so it is important to check these and if you are replacing fencing make sure you invest in a strong weather resistant option.

Although gates and fences are usually covered by insurance in the event of vandalism or fire, storm damage is often specifically excluded.

Hamilton Fraser’s Total Landlord Insurance, for example, will not cover damage to your fence if a storm wreaks havoc in your garden.

Secure outdoor furniture

Outdoor furniture, plant pots, toys and other everyday objects can cause damage to your rental property and even injure people if they become airborne during a storm.

Make sure you put anything away or anchor it down before a storm hits.

Protecting your rental property against storms | Patio with garden furniture