UK weather can be unpredictable, so it's important to prepare your home for the worst. In this guide, we’ll share what you can do to get your home ready for storms, including what to do before, during and after.
What is a storm?
Storms are atmospheric disturbances characterised by strong winds, heavy rain, thunder, and lightning. They can take various forms, such as hurricanes, thunderstorms, and tornadoes.
Storms can cause damage to buildings, disrupt transportation, communication systems, and endanger lives.
In the UK, we name storms that are likely to affect cities and towns across the country. This is to ensure better communication through the media and government agencies.
How to protect your home against storm damage
Here are 8 ways you can prepare your home ahead of a storm, to help prevent damage:
2. Clear branches and trim trees
Pruning or cutting back your trees is essential when a storm is on the way. Branches can break off and cause significant damage to your home or belongings.
Check for frail areas and cut anything that you don’t think will survive a storm. Enlist the help of a specialist if you’re unsure or if the tree is too tricky or large to manage yourself.
3. Check and secure fences and other outdoor objects
Fences can really take a hit during a storm so make sure they’re repaired or strengthened in advance. In warmer weather you can apply fence preservative. Minor damage can be patched up with wood and nails at any time.
Clear weeds and rubbish and make sure there’s adequate drainage. If the base gets waterlogged, any wooden posts can rot.
4. Put away or secure outside furniture
Secure large items, including furniture and trampolines. Tie them down or take them indoors. Don't use heavy items to weigh them down as this can be dangerous.
Bring small items indoors, such as plant pots, lights and ornaments. Securely cover anything that could be damaged by heavy rain or hail.
5. Check roofs and skylights
Inspect roofs and skylights often to find and fix weaknesses, preventing water damage.
Look out for:
- Signs of leakage - Look inside and outside where walls and ceiling connect. Look out for cracks, openings or missing mortar
- Missing or cracked tiles on your roof
- Gaps or deteriorating seals and joints in skylights and roof windows
If you’re unsure or can’t access your roof safely, it's worth enlisting the help of a roof specialist.
6. Check your chimney
It can be common for there to be weak spots around your chimney and vents, so make sure to check in and around these. Things to look for include general wear and tear, gaps or cracks in seals and joints and signs of damp.
Checking your chimney can be dangerous, so consider calling in a professional tradesperson.
7. Clear gutters and drains
Leaf fall and moss build-up can block gutters and drains. Keep them clear year-round and check them before a storm. You also need to maintain gutter joints to make sure they’re strong and that there are no cracks or leaks.
Repair any damage quickly. Otherwise you risk further problems such as weakened walls and damp.
8. Lock your car away (or park out of harm's way)
Secure your car in a garage or carport during the storm. If you don't have a garage or off-street parking, try and find a spot on higher ground to avoid potential flooding. Also, remember to bring in or secure your rubbish and recycling bins to protect your car and others.
What to do during a storm
Facing a severe storm can be stressful and scary, but preparing ahead of time can ease your worries.
Be storm-ready with an emergency kit
Prepare essential items for potential power cuts or low phone battery situations.
Your emergency kit could include:
- Useful contact numbers: A paper list is handy if your mobile runs out of battery
- Phone charger and battery pack: Make sure the battery pack is fully charged and you have the right cables
- Torch: A head torch is handy for bathroom trips if there's a power cut
- Food and drink: Make sure it doesn’t require heating or cooking
- Warm clothing and layers: To keep you warm if the heating cuts out
- Buckets and bowls: To catch any surprise leaks
Make it fun if you can! Prepare some activities to keep the family entertained – a pack of cards, board games, and books.
In case of flooding
Placing sandbags where water could enter can help reduce flood damage. Use buckets and bowls to tip out any water that has worked its way in, and to catch any leaks.
We recommend you sign up to flood alerts from the Environment Agency. You can also use their site to track the progress of a storm.
What to do after a storm
Check for damage
Perform a thorough inspection of your home and belongings for storm-related damage.
Check the following areas:
- Gutters and pipes
- Outdoor furniture
- Windows and doors
Take note of any damage and assess whether it might be eligible for a home insurance claim. Keep in mind that our home cover excludes storm or flood damage to fences, hedges, or gates.
Be cautious carrying out these checks, as some tasks could be hazardous. If unsure, seek help from a trade specialist who can survey the damage and provide expert advice.
Start a home insurance claim as soon as possible
If your home has suffered damage, it’s best to start your claim straight away and get the process started.
Our Extra home insurance cover includes home emergency as standard. This includes up to to £1,000 per claim, 24/7 support, plus a fast call out from a MORE THAN authorised tradesperson*. You can add home emergency cover to Essentials and Standard policies.
*Must use a MORE THAN authorised tradesperson. A MORE THAN authorised tradesperson arrived within 4 hours when customers used our 24-hour home emergency helpline in 81% of cases. Based on a total of 2,488 claims. MORE THAN data from March to August 2023.