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What to do if... your home is storm damaged

High winds and flooding cause millions of pounds worth of damage to homes in the UK every year. So what do you do if a storm damages your home?

First steps

Storms can be extremely destructive. The high winds can rip off roof tiles, letting in water which can cause damp, mould and even electrical fires. Accompanying heavy rainfall can cause flooding, ruining carpets and furniture and even causing structural damage.

Contact your insurer

If your home is damaged by a storm, contact your insurer as soon as possible. Some insurers have a 24 hour home emergency helpline that you can call for advice.

If you have Home Emergency included in your John Lewis Home Insurance policy, you can contact our 24 hour Home Emergency helpline and could also get up to £1,500 for labour and parts.*

What happens next?

There are two important areas you’ll need to take care of if your home is damaged by a storm.

  • Damage: check with your insurer what you need to do to make a claim. This may include photographing damage and keeping receipts for replacement items.
  • More severe damage may need to be assessed by a loss adjuster before you get repairs done. Be safe and don't attempt to check structural damage yourself - your insurer will arrange for a professional to do it.
  • Accommodation: if your home has been badly damaged in a storm, you may need to find temporary accommodation. Many home insurance policies include alternative accommodation. The amount of cover will depend on why your home is uninhabitable.
  • Damage to contents is usually repaired more quickly than structural damage to the building. 

John Lewis Home Insurance provides cover for the cost of alternative accommodation for you, your family and your pets if you can't stay at home due to damage to contents. We could also provide cover if your home can't be lived in due to damage to the building.

If you have to pay rent for alternative accommodation, our Specialist Home Insurance covers up to 20% of the total amount your contents are insured for. We’ll cover the total cost for up to three years if damage to the building has made your home uninhabitable.

Putting things right

There are several things that'll need to be done to get your home back to normal after storm damage.

  • Structural damage assessment and repairs: the full extent of any structural damage will need to be assessed professionally.
  • Garden damage: high winds can cause trees and fences to become unstable, so check for any damage.
  • Cleaning: if your home has been flooded, debris and silt will need to be cleared away.
  • Checking utilities: have a suitably quialified tradesperson check that gas, water and electricity supplies are safe.
  • Decontaminating and drying out: any flooding will mean that your home will probably need professional decontaminating and drying out. This can take several months.
  • Stripping out: any furniture and fixtures damaged by water will need to be stripped out and damaged plaster removed.

Preventative measures

Maintain your roof

Try to check regularly the condition of your roof and arrange repairs as soon as possible. Cleaning out gutters and drains can help prevent damage from overflowing rainwater.

Minimising the impact of flooding

If your area is prone to flooding and is likely to be hit by a storm, put sandbags outside external doors and turn off the mains water. Move electrical equipment and furniture to a higher floor, if possible.

Secure or remove garden furniture and other free-standing equipment such as climbing frames and swings. Cut loose or low-hanging tree branches to help to keep wind damage to a minimum.

How John Lewis Insurance can help

John Lewis Home Insurance offers cover for your buildings and contents. We also offer services designed to help you in a home emergency and cover for garden furniture.

John Lewis Specialist Home Insurance has no limits on the amount of contents and buildings you can insure. It also includes a 24 hour Home Emergency service with up to £1,500 cover for labour and parts and up to £10,000 cover for outdoor items.

Find more about our Home Insurance cover options now.

See the Met Office's advice on protecting your home in a gale.

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We have carefully selected Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc to underwrite John Lewis Home Insurance.

* With Premier Cover

John Lewis Insurance is a trading name of John Lewis plc. Registered office: 171 Victoria Street, London SW1E 5NN. Registered in England (No. 233462). John Lewis plc is an appointed representative of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. John Lewis Home Insurance is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc (No. 93792). Registered in England and Wales at St. Mark's Court, Chart Way, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1XL. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (Financial Services Register No. 202323). Calls may be recorded and monitored.

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