Recently, the UK suffered its biggest earthquake for nearly 25 years. It was centred in Lincolnshire, and had a magnitude measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale, causing varying levels of damage across the country. But it wasn’t just property that was affected – one South Yorkshire man even suffered a broken pelvis when his chimney collapsed!
The shocks from the earthquake were felt across the UK – emergency services received numerous calls from panicked citizens who had been affected by the earthquake, and fire brigades were called out to a number of fires and incidents as a result of the tremble. One man in the Lincolnshire town where it was centred reported being thrown from his bed, while thousands of others were woken by their homes shaking during the 10 second quake.
Affected houses were afflicted with structural damage, cracks, collapsed chimneys, and dislodged roof tiles. Dr Brian Baptie, a seismologist and spokesperson from the British Geological Survey, told the BBC that an earthquake of this size – moderate to significant – happens on average every 10 to 20 years; so while they are few and far between, they are a statistical reality; the potentially damaging effects of which should be taken into account by homeowners.
Earthquakes of slightly lesser significance have been a regular occurrence in Britain. One hit the West Midlands in 2002, and another shook Folkestone, Kent, last year, so they are not as rare in this country as one might think. Other freak events such as adverse weather conditions in the form of tornadoes have also been known to hit British shores, so it is wise to be prepared for any eventuality.
Many homeowners are failing to get the home insurance they need to protect themselves against such events. Most are not thoroughly checking the market to make sure they are getting the best deal, or checking that they know exactly what is covered by their policy. So, if you find that your home is not fully insured, this could add considerably to your stress levels and cause great financial hardship if you were to suddenly find the chimney in the living room!
As a result of the severe flooding last summer, there have been in the region of 27,500 domestic claims, with an average value of £30,000. In addition, there are approximately 6,800 business claims with an average value of £100,000, according to the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters; which gives an indication of how much you could stand to lose without the adequate insurance.
Thousands who did have insurance had to spend months living in hotels or caravans until their houses were made habitable once again – but what would have become of them if they didn’t have insurance? With the national average home insurance premium about £160 per year, it’s relatively inexpensive when compared to the potential financial catastrophe of not having insurance at all.
When it comes to assessing the level of home insurance cover you need, you should remember to add any new purchases and gifts to the value of your home and also inform your insurance company in order to avoid any nasty surprises should you be the unlucky victim of loss or damage from any foe; be it earthquake, fire, flood, or burglar.
Also, to ensure that you keep track of all your new gadgets and gizmos, make a list of all your home’s contents and review it each year to keep it up to date. You can also compare the market and shop around to find the best deal on your home insurance, while still checking that it gives you all the cover you need so you won’t be left out in the cold.