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9 January 2012
High winds set trampolines, wheelie bins and even a boat flying
The storms that battered parts of the UK brought a 28% increase in car insurance claims over the first five days of January, compared with the same period last year.
Analysis of AA Insurance statistic shows that this increase can be attributed to extreme weather. We recorded 991 weather related claims over the first five days of January, the equivalent of over 5,600 claims nationally.
In Scotland, which suffered particularly severe gales, 65% of all claims between 1 and 5 January were weather-related.
The number of claims is also higher than the first five days of 2010 when the country was blanketed by snow.
the most common cause of damage was from dislodged roof tiles and trees or tree branches
Simon Douglas, director AA Insurance
Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, said that the most common cause of damage was from dislodged roof tiles and trees or tree branches.
“Other claims are from items not fixed to the ground – including eight cars damaged by trampolines, dozens of wheelie bins, garden sheds, TV aerials, a church hall roof and even a dinghy.
“Several customers also had their car door whipped out of their hand by a gust of wind, breaking hinge mechanisms, smashing glass or damaging a vehicle parked in the next space,” he says.
Other weather-related claims over the first stormy days of the year involved cars stranded in flood water, being hit by vans or lorries blown off-course into the oncoming lane of traffic or drivers simply losing control in a sudden gust.
The Met. Office had been accused of not predicting the severity of gusts that reached over 100mph in the Pennines on 5 January, although it did warn that winds would be strong. It also accurately forecast the severe gales that battered Scotland and parts of southern England two days earlier.
While it might not be expected that a garden shed would take to the air, items such as trampolines should either be firmly secured, or better, dismantled for the winter and stored. Similarly, wheelie bins are notorious for taking off in a strong wind, especially when empty: it might be prudent to put them in a garage or at the very least weigh them down with something heavy, such as a few bricks, if strong winds are forecast.
If your own car is struck by an airborne trampoline, bin or roof tiles, a claim against the owner cannot be made unless negligence can be proved which, following a severe storm, is not very likely.
If you have comprehensive cover you should claim through your insurer in the normal way.
(2 February 2012)