Snow damage covered under ‘accidental’ rather than ‘storm’ cover


We looked into Fred's insurance policy when his conservatory was damaged, but the insurer rejected it as storm damage. But we could see another way he might be covered.

What happened

Fred contacted his insurer when there was damage to his conservatory. There had been heavy snowfall over a period of days, which he considered a snowstorm. 

But Fred's insurer rejected his claim, saying that the damage wasn't covered. They thought the amount of snowfall wasn't intense enough to amount to a storm - or to cause the damage claimed for. The complaint was referred to us. 

What we said

When we looked into Fred's claim, we decided that there'd been a build-up of snow on the roof of the conservatory before the damage had occurred. In our view, a one-off event of extreme snowfall would constitute a storm. But we didn't think the amount of snow that had fallen over a period of days constituted a one-off, extreme amount. 

The insurer's surveyor said the conservatory roof collapsed because the brackets supporting it had failed. When the roof had collapsed, it also damaged floor tiles and some of the furniture in the conservatory. 

We checked Fred's policy and found he'd taken out extra accidental damage cover for his contents only. The policy said the damage had to be caused suddenly and unexpectedly for it to be covered. We took into account the surveyor's comments and photos and agreed the problem with the roof happened because the brackets had failed. Even though there wasn't accidental damage cover for the roof, the damage to the tiles and furniture was from a sudden and unexpected event. 

We upheld Fred's complaint and told the insurer to pay for the tiles and furniture to be repaired.