Sharp rise in extreme weather costs UK billions in repairs

Abigail Fenton
·3-min read
Snowfall in Bedford, UK. Photo: Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/Sipa USA
Snowfall in Bedford, UK. Photo: Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/Sipa USA

UK homeowners are being urged to ensure their homes are “adequately insured,” as a sharp rise in extreme weather has cost billions in home repairs.

Official figures from the Meteorological Office show the number of extreme weather events over the past three years was higher than the total of the previous decade.

A whopping 31 extreme weather events hit the UK between the start of 2018 and the end of 2020 – two higher than the 29 recorded between 2008 and 2017.

(Policy Expert)
Source: Policy Expert

And the months of snow, storms and rainfall over this period resulted in a whopping total of about £3.8bn ($5.2bn) in home damages repair claims, home insurer Policy Expert estimated.

This sharp rise in extreme weather highlights the “urgent” need for UK homeowners to secure their properties from weather damage and make sure their homes are adequately insured – lest they end up paying out of pocket, the expert warned.

February 2020 contained the joint highest volume of extreme weather events, with three storms occurring across the month, the research found.

READ MORE: In Pictures: 2020 – From winter storms to scorching summer days

Extreme weather events inflicting damage on UK homes in the course of February 2020 included Storm Ciara, Storm Dennis and Storm Jorge.

Storm Ciara, which hit the UK on February, was the most severe storm in the UK since February 2014. Winds reached 69 miles per hour, and over a month’s rain fell across parts of West Yorkshire in around 18 hours, with several hundred properties affected by flooding.

Storm Dennis hit the UK just one week after Storm Ciara, on 15 February. Western upland parts of the UK received 5cm to 10cm – or more – rain, resulting in widespread flooding.

Storm Jorge, which lasted from 28 February to 1 March wreaked heavy bands of rain highly concentrated in Wales, causing further flooding and the closure of the M4 in west Wales.

Severe damage caused by extreme weather events has driven an influx in claims on home insurance policies from Brits over the last year, the research suggests.

The number of claims at the height of last year’s February 2020 storms alone was 54% higher than the same period in the previous year, Policy Expert's data shows.

READ MORE: Storm Christoph Leaves Homes Flooded in North Wales

These findings come during the UK's peak winter period, which yields a high volume of disruptive weather events and sits as “the culmination of months of snow and storms battering the nation’s homes,” the insurer said.

As the effect of Storm Christoph is felt across Britain, Policy Expert is encouraging homeowners to take precautionary action early to protect their homes and reduce their exposure to the impact of weather damage.

Andrew Elder at Policy Expert, said: “The UK’s intensifying climate highlights the pressing need for homeowners to shore up their properties now to mitigate the possibility of home damage from increasingly common extreme weather events.

“There are straightforward precautions homeowners can take to safeguard their homes against the risks of adverse weather – alongside securing comprehensive home insurance.”

Simple steps include servicing boilers to ensure they remain operational, checking pipes to make sure they can withstand freezing temperatures, and inspecting roofs for missing and loose tiles, the expert advised.

WATCH: Land Rover smashes through ice during Storm Christoph floods in Yorkshire