With warmer weather on the horizon, most will breathe a sigh of relief that the next few months will be relatively storm free.
While major storms may not be an immediate threat throughout the late spring and early summer, now is the time to take action to secure property, making repairs where necessary and preparing for storms later in the year.
Storm damage is typically caused by gale force winds that batter roofs and gutters, sweep up outdoor equipment and furniture, tear down branches and trees, and driving rain that enters properties through broken windows, missing roof tiles and slates and other property damage.
Storms can also cause widespread flooding, particularly in low lying or coastal areas, which can cause extensive damage to property and local infrastructure.
Storm damage and climate change
Storms are part of a number of extreme weather events such as flooding, drought and sea level rises that scientists have observed are happening on an increasing basis.
A sharp increase in extreme weather events has been recorded over the last number of decades, with roughly a 10% increase in annual rainfall over parts of Ireland since the 1970s.
In fact, the Irish Government’s National Adaptation Framework, which details the “diverse and wide-ranging impacts” of climate change in Ireland, forecasts more intense and frequent storm activities in the future.
The report indicated that the cost of dealing with extreme weather events like Storm Ophelia, identified as Ireland’s worst storm in 50 years and the farthest east significant hurricane in the Atlantic Basin on record, could tally in more than one billion euro each year.
Tips for protecting your home from storm damage
With climate change and increased storm events now very much a reality, the warmer months are offer a good opportunity to catch up on property repairs, garden care and emergency preparations.
Take advantage of the warmer weather and secure your property against storm damage with these key tips:
- Carry out a visual inspection of your roof for any loose slates or tiles, tv aerials or chimney pots. If you spot damage be sure to have it repaired.
- Avoid water blockages and leaks by clearing leaves, soil and other debris from your gutters and drain pipes.
- Check fencing and fence posts to make sure they are secure; even a small gust of wind can rip them from their foundations.
- Trim branches and bushes that could pose a threat in wind gusts.
- Take the time to know where, and how to switch off your electricity, gas and water so that in an emergency you are fully prepared.
Carrying out repairs now, well before a storm hits, to ensure your property is secure will cost a lot less in terms of money and heartache than it will if your property is severely damaged in a storm.
How to get ready for a storm
Luckily, we get some advance warning of forthcoming storm events in Ireland which gives us a little time to secure those last-minute items around our homes and outdoor areas. For example:
- Check all outdoor equipment such as furniture, trampolines, barbeques, gas tanks, bins and sporting equipment are properly secured or brought inside to prevent them being swept up and causing damage in a wind gust.
- To avoid a power surge in a lightning strike, unplug electrical devices such as computers, televisions and stereo equipment.
- Move your car to cover or a garage where it is protected from falling branches and loose tiles.
- Have a generator ready in the event your home loses power to keep your food fresh and ensure you have access to conveniences.
What to do after a storm
If a storm has caused damage to your property, phone CMG Claims Ltd. before you phone your insurer. We can support you with a range of services, both in the aftermath of a storm and for your insurance claim.
It is important to remember that you should never enter a storm damaged building until it is deemed safe by an expert. Not all damage is obvious and only an expert can determine the true extent of the damage and therefore your actual loss.
It is also important you preserve the scene – if you touch anything or begin to clean up or carry out repairs, this can prejudice your insurance claim.
CMG will carry out a comprehensive inspection of the storm damage to your home to determine your total loss, including any structural damage caused by the storm or subsequent flooding that might affect your property in the long term.
We can then coordinate emergency repairs at your home to ensure its safety alongside specialist cleaning contractors to clean up any mess.
Our expert team will complete all your claims paperwork, and relieve further stress associated with your insurance claim by liaising with your insurer and their loss adjuster on your behalf to achieve the best claim settlement under your policy terms.
We can also help you engage your own independent contractors to carry out repairs, rather than being obligated to use your insurer’s contractors. This can speed up the repairs process and get your home and life back on track much sooner.
Getting ready for future storms and protecting your home from storm damage and flooding can save a lot of stress and anxiety, but sometimes a severe weather event can strike that takes us all by surprise.
You can count on CMG to be there when you need us and give you peace of mind in the aftermath of a storm.
To find out more get in touch with CMG today on 0818 118 118 (ROI) or 028 8224 9015 (NI).