What to Do If Your Fence Gets Blown OverAdvice, Fencing
After a storm or severe gales you can be left with a fence that’s decidedly more horizontal than is preferable. Fixing a broken fence that’s been damaged by high winds can bring up a number of questions around the ownership of fences, home insurance queries and choosing a design that won’t blow over next time there’s a weather warning. We’ve gathered together the most common questions to give you advice on what to do if your fence has been blown over or broken by storms.
“Should I ask my neighbour to pay half?”
It’s often unclear who is responsible for looking after border fences and can cause tension between neighbours. Always try to talk to your neighbour as soon as you can after any damage to establish ownership, whether they are willing to contribute to costs and how the situation will be sorted out.
If you or your neighbour aren’t sure who owns the fence, or disagree over ownership, you can check your title deeds online at the HM Land Registry site. As there is no legal obligation to have a fence (unless explicitly stated in title documents or you have pets), even if your neighbour is responsible or owns the fence, they don’t necessarily have to repair or replace it, although if it has fallen into your garden or driveway you can ask them to move it off your land.
If for example, your neighbour’s tree has blown over in a storm and damaged your fence panels, they are responsible for the tree and you are responsible for the fence. You can ask them to contribute to the cost of fixing the fence, but they are under no obligation to pay.
“Should I claim on my house insurance?”
If your neighbour is responsible for damage and won’t pay, putting in a claim to your insurance company may mean that the neighbour will be shown to have liability and the insurance company will recover costs from them. However, your premiums may rise next time you renew and it can often be cheaper and easier not to involve your insurance provider. Under law, as damage caused by storms and strong winds are caused by an “act of God”, no one is responsible for the damage and it can be difficult to prove liability. Many insurance policies don’t cover fences, gates and movable property, and insurance companies have been known to debate what constitutes a storm and whether the damage happened during said storm. The Financial Ombudsman can help in these cases.
“What type of fence should I get that won’t blow down next time?”
For strong fences you need strong posts with good foundations. Concrete posts are the best choice, timber posts can become misaligned in strong winds. However deep-set concrete foundations will make timber posts stronger and provide protection from rot.
Fences that allow wind to pass through are better suited to windy areas and are less likely to buckle or blow over than solid fencing. ‘Hit and miss’ fences (pictured above) and trellis topped fences allow wind to pass through making them popular choices for gardens facing strong winds. Wire fences, though not particularly aesthetically pleasing are a good choice and can be disguised with hardy hedging like hawthorn, holly, sweet briar and dog roses. See our full guide to wind proof fencing.
If your fence has seen better days, get in touch for a free quote. We provide all the fencing services you need to keep your garden happy. Call us on 07947 366551 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.