Storm damage insurance coverage: a guide for small businesses and landlords

From Abigail to Doris, storms have been wreaking serious havoc over the last couple of years. If you have a rental property or a business premises, insurance can help you get back on your feet if a storm hits.

What is storm damage insurance?

There’s no single policy to cover storm damage, but damage caused by storms is one of the risks that can be covered by a number of business and landlord insurance covers.

In particular, property insurance covers can pay to repair property damage caused by a storm. Buildings insurance, for example, can pay to repair the structure of your property, and contents insurance can pay to replace your furniture and appliances.

There’s also insurance that can cover your lost business income or rent if a storm means your property can’t be used for a certain period.

What does storm damage insurance cover?

The Financial Ombudsman says that for the purposes of insurance, “a storm generally involves violent winds, usually accompanied by rain, hail or snow.”

It’s important to understand that if your property is poorly maintained or damage has occurred over a long period of time rather than during a sudden event, you may not be covered and your insurer may reject your claim.

Also, most insurers won’t cover outdoor structures like fences and sheds in the case of damage caused by storms or other events.

What’s actually covered under your insurance policy depends on the type of insurance you have. We’ll explain some of the main options below.

Storm damage insurance for landlords

If the structure of your buy-to-let property is damaged by a storm, landlord buildings insurance could cover the cost of repairing it. This includes storm damage to the roof, the walls or the floor.

Some landlords aren’t responsible for insuring the building, for example if the rental property is a flat and the freeholder organises the buildings insurance. If this is the case, you may choose to take out landlord fixtures and fitting insurance instead, which can pay to replace things like fitted bathrooms and kitchens if they’re damaged by a storm.

And if items you own inside the property (furniture, for example) are damaged due to a storm, landlord contents insurance, can cover the cost of replacement. Remember that your tenants will need to take out their own insurance if they want to cover their possessions.

If the storm has caused damage that means your tenants have to move out while you fix things up, loss of rent insurance can cover your rent for a certain period, as long as the damage is covered by your other insurance.

Storm damage insurance for businesses

If you own your business premises and it’s damaged by a storm, business buildings insurance can cover the cost of repair. If you don’t own the business premises, it’s probably the landlord who is responsible for insuring the building, but if you’ve modified the property you can buy tenants’ improvements insurance to cover the cost of redoing your handiwork.

Meanwhile, business contents insurance can cover things like furniture and business equipment, and stock insurance can replace your stock if it’s ruined in a storm.

Storm damage insurance for tradesmen

If you’re a builder or another type of tradesperson, as well as covers like business buildings insurance and contents insurance, you may decide to take out contract works insurance. This cover can pay to redo your construction work if it’s damaged by a storm or another disaster before it’s completed. There’s also plant and machinery insurance to protect things like diggers and forklifts, which could be damaged in a storm.

How to make a storm damage insurance claim

If your business or rental property is damaged by a storm, it’s important that you report it to your insurer as soon as possible. If you have a Simply Business policy, you can do this online, by email or over the phone on 0333 207 0560. You may need to provide evidence to support your claim, for example photographs and receipts. A claims handler will help you through the process, and a loss adjuster will usually visit your premises to assess the storm damage.

If you have any further questions about storm damage and insurance, ask away in the comments!

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