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fences blown over in storm

Storm damage. Who pays?

4th May 2022 by John Munro

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With UK weather becoming more extreme, homeowners are having to deal with an increase in damage caused by trees and fences being blown down. We take a look at who is responsible and how to deal with a storm damage insurance claim.

The UK has seen an increase in extreme weather events, with storms and high winds sweeping the country and causing extensive damage. Where damage is caused to walls or fences between properties or your property is damaged by something from your neighbour’s property, difficulties can arise.

Damage to fences and walls

Boundaries can be a major cause of disagreement between neighbours. Wherever possible, it is always recommended to approach the subject cautiously and try and keep your relationship amicable.

The title deeds to your property may state who is responsible for a fence or wall. If they do not, then the general presumption is that they are shared.

Damage caused by a falling tree

If your neighbour’s tree falls on your property and causes damage, you will not be able to make a claim against their insurance. This is because home insurance only covers the policy holder’s property.

It is usually the case that you would make a claim against your own insurance. You may be able to negotiate with your neighbour and ask them to pay your policy excess.

If the tree fell on your property from publicly owned land, then you can ask the council to remove the tree. You may be able to ask them to pay for the damage if it was caused by their negligence, but generally you would again make a claim against your own insurance.

Claiming against your home insurance for storm damage

Home insurance policies generally pay out for damage caused by a storm, however on occasion they may dispute what was a storm. The Association of British Insurers defines a storm as a period of violent weather with one of the following:

  • Wind speeds with gusts of 55 mph or more
  • Torrential rainfall of 25mm per hour or more
  • Snow of at least 1’ in depth in 24 hours
  • Hail that is hard enough to damage hard surfaces or break glass

Alternatively, in some cases your home insurance policy may include its own definition.

Making an insurance claim for storm damage

You should ring your insurer as soon as you can after the damage occurs. They may have a 24-hour claims line that you can use.

You should take photos and video straight away if you can. Where you need emergency repairs you should ask your insurer how to proceed. They may have workers they send out or you may be able to arrange your own repairs.

Ideally, you should keep anything that has been damaged so that you can show your insurer evidence, should they query it.

If you would like any further information on this issue or other areas relating to your property you can visit our Residential Property page on our website or contact Kelly Howe on k.howe@laceyssolicitors.co.uk or 01202 377800.

John Munro

Partner — Commercial and Residential Property

Direct dial: 01202 377839

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John Munro, head of Property, Laceys Solicitors
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  • “Changing solicitors is not to be undertaken lightly. However really impressed with the way that John Munro and his associates have dealt with us over the last couple of years in a variety of complex property related transactions and on the commercial and personal front as well. We look forward to working with them going forward.”

    Malcolm Tice, Director - Tice & Son Ltd

John joined Laceys in 2001 on a training contract, having completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Law in 2000, and qualified as a solicitor in 2003. He is now the Head of the Commercial and Residential Property Departments.

He is also the firm’s Senior Responsible Officer under the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) with overall responsibility for the management of the property team and their delivery of the excellent service that our clients have come to expect.

John acts in his own capacity for a number of commercial property owners, developers and investors, but also allocates time to ensure his team are up to speed with changing law and professional regulations and clients are provided with members of the team who possess the right skills to deal with their individual requirements, delivering projects in the most time and cost-efficient manner.

Outside of work John seems to spend a great deal of time ferrying his children around but occasionally gets to put his feet up and listen to his eclectic collection of vinyl. He is also not averse to a good cheeseboard and a glass of IPA.

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