Winter winds are some of the strongest of the year. High winds can cause serious damage to your home and any properties that you let out. Wind speeds continuously vary and change direction, which can put enormous pressure on buildings, bringing with it unexpected damage, cost and hassle.
In insurance terms, storm damage relating to high winds usually means wind speeds with gusts of at least 48 knots (55mph) - equivalent to Storm Force 10 on the Beaufort Scale.
Prevention is better than cure, and storm insurance claims can often be declined as a result of regular maintenance not being carried out. Follow this useful maintenance information to help you and your tenants prepare for a storm to reduce your chances of being affected:
1. The roof
The roof is often the most vulnerable part of your house. Ensure all tiles are securely fixed with none missing. Aim to get the roofs inspected at your rental properties twice a year, and this can be done from ground level. Debris on the ground from broken slates, tiles or shingles can indicate that there may be a problem.
Check for leaning chimneys or pots. If in doubt, a reputable builder can check the property. Specialist roofs will require specialist repair.
2. Guttering and fascias
When poorly maintained these can be easily blown loose and cause damage other parts of your property. Twice a year you should check your gutters for blockages and damage, and your fascia’s for damage and wear.
3. Windows and doors
You can draught proof windows and doors with a sealant that you can get at any DIY store. Secure entry doors with a hinge and appropriate security locks. Solid wood or hollow metal doors stand the best chance of battling high winds and flying debris.
Securely shut and lock garage doors, and where possible install ones that are designed to withstand high winds.
4. The garden
Often a forgotten area, but along with roofs, gardens are one of the most vulnerable. Your tenants should store away any garden furniture, trampolines, barbeques, tools, toys and anything else that could be picked up and thrown about in high winds. These items flying around can damage not only the item itself, but also the surrounding buildings on impact, damage which can be so easily avoided.
Regularly trim any trees that you have around the property that could pose a threat. Ensure you have permission to trim any trees that aren’t on your land, but affect your property, from the relevant owner.
Garden sheds or green houses should be firmly fixed to a strong base, with a secured roof and door, and should be kept in good condition to avoid damage.
5. Make sure you're covered
Even if you take every preventative measure, there's still a risk that your property might be damaged by high winds, which is why it's important to make sure that you have the right landlord insurance cover in place to protect your property, and your tenants' belongings. Most landlord insurance policies will provide cover against storm damage - but it's worth checking this with your insurer, just in case.
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