As Storm Ciara continues to hit Belgium, people are waking up to damage to their property caused by winds of up to 120 km/h - but what do you do next?
To those with more substantial damage, there might be a need to call in insurance, something which Assuralia - the professional union of insurance companies - has produced some tips to help with.
What should you do immediately after the storm passes?
"Don't touch the wires and cables that have fallen to the ground," warns Assuralia. "Take the necessary measures to prevent any further damage and take photos that show the immediate danger. Have the roof covered if it is damaged, but do not under any circumstances intervene on the roofs. Have branches and trees that are in danger of falling off cut down. In the event of flooding or dampness inside buildings, dry and ventilate the premises."
Take pictures and find the receipts
While it is important to take pictures of the damage, it is also useful to find all relevant documents about a product to assist a quick conclusion and payment. " Look for proof of purchase of the damaged goods (original invoices, warranty certificates, photos)," said Assuralia.
Am I covered for damage to my property?
Your "fire policy" will include storm and flood coverage. "The definition of storm includes hurricanes or other windstorms, if they damage within 10 km of the designated building either buildings insurable against these winds or other comparable property, or reach, at the nearest weather station, a top speed of at least 100 km per hour".
In the case of storm Ciara, gusts reached 120 km/h during the night from Sunday to Monday, fulfilling the final criteria.
Is all the damage covered by my insurance?
In a word, no.
According to the FPS Economy, various types of damage can be excluded from the guarantee. This includes damage to light, dilapidated or unfinished constructions, goods attached to these them, goods that are particularly sensitive to damage caused by storms, such as an object outside the building.
The storm damaged my garden?
For the garden, specific conditions apply - "Fences and garden sheds are generally covered in current contracts, within certain compensation limits," said Assuralia.
This is by no means an extensive list of what to do, but being prepared for the call to an insurer will ensure an easier move from there - especially on a day when lines are likely to be busy and calls frequent.
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The Brussels Times