On Doris and Storm-Proof Fences

Last update: 5 months ago

3 min read

Since Doris blew our expectations for a “windy day” away, here in London the demand for fence panels at our office skyrocketed:
Google trends showing rise in fence panels after the Doris storm
Seeing the destruction it has caused we feel slightly obligated to talk some fences and hurricanes.

Insurance or a Storm-Proof Fence?

There is no hurricane resistant fence.

…as you would probably guess from this recent event. Doesn’t matter if it’s a hurricane vinyl fence or a chain-link, they never were and they never will be. Especially at winds reaching speeds of 100+ mp/h.

In fact, many years ago every home insurance plan in England used to cover fence storm damage.

That until in 1987 another calamity, symbolically named “the Great Storms of 1987” struck all of southern England (together with France and part of Scandinavia) only to take 22 lives and cause tremendous property destruction.

Naturally, all homeowner insurance agencies found themselves buried in claims about covering destroyed fences. As fencing panels are prone to wind damage, which that historical day made clear, insurers no longer wanted to deal with that type of coverage.

Note: There are some rare cases where it is either a combined garden insurance, a high price full package one, or one with specific conditions that need to be met in order for them to cover the fencing damage.

What You Could Do Anyway

There are some hurricane preparedness basics that you could still follow and hope for the best.
If a storm as strong as Doris strikes again, you may not save a lot but if you’re lucky enough to not have your fence ripped off by the gust alone, there are still some risks to consider. More often the damage dealt is from fallen trees or scattered furniture and yard decoration. Here’s what you can do in short and long term to protect your fence (and property for that matter) from a costly storm:

  • Long run preparations– the only thing you can take care of in the long run would be your garden tree selection. Every tree that is not shallow-rooted would be suitable for the job. This is mandatory if you’re the owner of a soft soil garden. It is also important to monitor your older trees for root rot, which may also weaken the root systems. A common symptom is a decreased leaf count.
    Our advice: go for Oak trees, they are really good at resisting strong winds.
  • Right before the disaster preparations – if you happen to have a BBQ immediately bring it inside. You may be facing a prolonged power cuts as these 40 000 homes did. This will be your cooking alternative if this happens. If there’s a pool in your yard your best option would be to leave your lawn furniture inside (yes, in the water). It will keep your chairs, stools and tables from flying around damaging your property. If you don’t own a pool, make sure you turn the furniture pieces over. Tying them up to trees is also a smart move as long as you have the time.

Garden fencing only serves to establish privacy, borders and aesthetics. Don’t feel cheated if some extreme gust rips your newly installed boards off. Such events are not under your control so simply consider replacing it. We could even help with that.

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