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I'll huff and I'll puff – and I'll blow your house down

The UK has endured days of storms and driving rain. High winds have caused havoc around the country and one story in particular shows the devastation the weather can wreak on properties.

A mother of three is lucky to be alive after a massive 70' tree crashed onto the roof of her house whilst she was feeding her daughter at around 5:30am on a Sunday morning. At first, the startled woman heard a noise which she described as being 'like a car crash' and was unaware of the fallen tree.

Several tonnes of beech tree, thought to be around 300 years old, fell against her home in Plymouth, Devon and resulting in five two-foot-wide holes appearing in the roof. The trunk of the tree had split close to the ground and as it toppled, it crushed a flowering cherry blossom tree and both trees fell onto open space beside the house – but also blocked the road.

Looking out of the window, the poor lady saw a tangle of branches and realised that the huge tree had come down. Once she realised that the house could have been crushed – and the very room where she was feeding her baby could have been destroyed – the shock finally set it. Her partner had taken their other two daughters some way down the coast to check on their holiday caravan – fearing it may be getting weather damaged in the storm: ironically that was fine – but the timber framed house was not! If the tree had come over a few more degrees, the house would have been destroyed.

The family can now see sky through the roof in their family home and are waiting to see if the timber-framed house has suffered any structural damage. The five holes in the roof range in size between one and two feet and there is a lot of tree debris littered around. The roof felt has been damaged, fascia boards have fallen off and guttering, downpipes and security lights have all been stripped off the building. An eight foot fence, recently installed and concreted into the ground was crushed as well as a gate, leaving the property without a defence barrier.

Had the tree come down in daylight it may well have caused accidents for vehicles using the road, the implications of which could have been horrendous. As it is, there is a great deal of damage to the property caused both by the tree toppling over as well as by the weather seeping in. Luckily, there were no injuries to the family or passing motorists.

This is a case when having insurance is vital. Hopefully the family can claim on their buildings insurance and all building and remedial works will be carried out by qualified workmen who can restore the building to its former glory. The fact that this building is timber-framed means that the owners would have needed to speak to an insurance company who has specialist knowledge of insuring timber-framed properties in order to adequately insure their property. This type of construction is growing in popularity in the UK as it is fairly quick to erect and is cheaper to build with than traditional brick and mortar. However, because it is a fairly new concept within the construction industry, many insurance companies will not cover timber-framed buildings.

This is where Westhill Insurance Services really can help. With our experience of insuring 'unusual' properties, we can usually find a solution for most insurance requirements. As an independent broker, we will shop around to find the most suitable type of insurance at the best possible price. That means that we can insure timber framed houses, Grade II listed buildings and Period Properties, buildings on flood plains, those suffering subsidence, high value properties, unoccupied properties – the list is endless. We also do 'normal' home and contents insurance too! You will probably find that we are the only call you need to make to secure your property insurance. Take a look at our website at www.westhill-insurance.co.uk to learn more – or pick up the phone: one of our friendly and professional team will be pleased to help you. We really hope a tree doesn't fall on your house, or your sea-side caravan blows away – but Mother Nature does seem to be more volatile than she used to be, and if she really does blow up a storm, isn't it good to know that you are properly and fully insured?

Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.

Posted on 2nd May, 2012