• We don’t suffer from hurricanes in the UK but high winds and heavy rain can still cause expensive damage to your home. If you live close to the sea, high winds are a particular danger because there are no natural barriers, such as trees, to act as a windbreak.

    Living in a built up area doesn’t mean you don’t need to take any precautions either. For example, because of their size, garage doors are highly susceptible to wind damage, and the tiles on any roof can be swept away by the most powerful gusts. 

    High winds are a hazard on roads as well. Remember, larger vehicles and lorries can be easily toppled by strong gusts – so it’s not just your own driving you need to worry about.

    Download our Storm info graphic (PDF 0.64MB)

     
  • Precautions you can take
    It’s all about regular maintenance really – making your home as secure as it can be. Here are some areas you should look at:

    • Your roof – make sure you have no loose, cracked or missing tiles, and that your aerial and chimney stack are secure
    • Gutters and pipes – clean out the dead leaves and other debris that gathers. Water gathering in gutters could find another way to get into your home
    • Fences – solid wooden fences can act like a sail in a high wind and are easily blown down. Make sure they’re sturdy
    • Trees near your home – trees can offer some protection to your property but loose or overhanging branches can cause damage in a storm. Make sure they’re not close to windows, your roof or electricity cables
    • Prepare a storm kit in case you’re stuck in your home – you could include waterproof clothes, non-perishable food, bottled water and any medication that you take

    If a storm happens

    • Make sure all windows are firmly closed – and pull the curtains closed to reduce any damage from breaking glass
    • Put your car in a safe place – your garage if you have one, otherwise move it away from anywhere it could be damaged by falling roof tiles
    • Tidy away garden furniture – in a garage or garden shed with a securely locked door
    • Don’t take risks – only attempt to stop any damage from getting worse if you’re absolutely certain that it’s safe to do so
  • Even the most experienced driver can be caught out by sudden gusts of wind. Overtaking high sided vehicles, open stretches of road and gaps in buildings are a threat for every driver, so take care.

    Like driving on snow and ice, avoid driving in high winds unless it’s absolutely necessary. But if you have to, follow these tips:

    • Slow down – high winds and driving rain impairs your vision, and reduces your visibility to other drivers
    • Be aware of other vehicles – lorries and caravans especially are susceptible to being blown over by high winds. Keep your distance and be aware of other road users including cyclists and pedestrians
    • Take extra care in the dark – fallen trees and branches on the road might not be visible until you’re quite close to them, particularly on unlit country roads
    • Get your buildings checked over: are roof coverings, chimney stacks and wall panels secure?
    • Make sure your drains are unobstructed.
    • Try to fix any loose fencing or gates and stow away any outdoor equipment or materials.
    • Where possible, garage your vehicles or ensure they’re away from potential sources of damage like falling roof tiles, overhanging branches, etc.
    • You and your staff may have to work from home. Does everyone have access to email, contact details and documents?
    • Check your insurance policy: are you covered for people using business equipment at home, for example? Log in to your online My AXA Account to view and print your documents.