Homeowners have been warned to make sure they have sufficient home insurance cover ahead of the storm season. December and January are traditionally the stormiest months in the UK, with rain and high winds at their peak, Met Office figures show.
The storm season looks likely to kick off even earlier than usual this year, as the weather is predicted to worsen this week. Severe weather warnings are in place in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and western counties of England, as snow, sleet, heavy rain and winds of up to 65mph set to batter parts of the UK.
M&S Money has urged homeowners to pore over their existing home cover documents to ensure they are fully protected against storm damage.
The average cost of a home insurance claim for storm damage is £660.
"We saw a large increase in storm-related home insurance claims during January this year as bad weather conditions swept across the UK," Andrew Ferguson, M&S head of general insurance, said.
"Claims included structural damage resulting from fallen trees and damage to fences and gates caused by strong winds.
"Householders can take simple steps to help reduce the risk of damage if a storm is forecast. These include securing garden furniture, checking that roof tiles and guttering are well maintained, and ensuring that windows and doors are locked."
A recent report for the Association of British Insurers warned that increased global temperatures are likely to increase the cost of windstorm damage.
The report warned that Wales and the south-west region of the UK could be the most badly affected. In the south-west, average wind damage insured losses could rise by 24%.
Nationwide offers great rates on its Home Insurance products and customers can save up to 30% when they take out buildings and contents insurance together. Furthermore, existing Nationwide customers can get an extra 15% off their home cover.
Home insurance from Barclays is also worth a look. Some 20% can be saved by applying online and cover comes with three months free insurance, equating to around a 45% discount when paired with the online discount.
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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