Insurance claims

High winds set trampolines, wheelie bins and even a boat flying

9 January 2012

High winds set trampolines, wheelie bins and even a boat flying

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

Comment

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.

Blown off course

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. 

Tie it down

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.

Claims

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.

AA insurance claims statistics

  • 2012 - 991 (1 to 5 January)
  • 2011 - 711
  • 2010 - 418
  • 2009 - 199

Barometer of weather claims

  • 45% Roof tiles or other building parts
  • 21% Trees, branches
  • 15% Trampolines, wheelie bins, a boat and other flying objects
  • 9% Car doors blown by wind
  • 6% Shed/greenhouse/garage roof/fence
  • 4% Flood/ice/snow

Selected claims

  • Flying trampolines: One, in Scotland, was for a trampoline that ‘Hit my car denting the roof and cracking the windscreen.  It bounced on down the street hitting six other cars before getting stuck on the back of a parked van.’
  • Several for flying wheelie bins, for example: “Had a head on collision with an empty wheelie bin that seemed to be doing about 50mph down the wrong side of the road”
  • One was for a ‘Greenhouse that crashed on my car sending glass everywhere’
  • One customer ‘Heard a crash and looked out to see my next door neighbour’s garden shed plonked on top of my car’
  • There were a few for shed roofs, garage roofs and a garage door that had taken off
  • Seven claims were for a whole roof taking to the air – one coming from a church
  • One was for scaffolding planks coming off a building
  • A couple for flying sheets of plastic or tarpaulins.  In one case ‘A huge tarpaulin blew off a lorry and landed on my windscreen so I couldn’t see where I was going: I hit a lamp post.”

 

(2 February 2012)