Snow-damage insurance claims piling up

SNOW-DAMAGE claims worth £15 million have already been lodged with NFU Mutual, the main insurer for the agricultural sector, and they are set to continue piling up.

"Initially most of the claims related to collapsed roofs in the North-east of Scotland but now they are coming from all over Scotland and the North of England," said spokesman Tim Price. "After last year, when there was a great deal of damage to farm shed roofs it was felt that most of the weaker buildings had gone but we are now getting claims for all types of buildings including several quite new large roofs."

The problem for the insurance company is that assessors have been unable to reach a number of farms where roofs have collapsed under the weight of the snow, and therefore no full appraisal has been carried out.

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Even if farmers fear their sheds may be under threat on account of the snow, Price recommended farmers and employees be very cautious when contemplating clearing roofs or gutters.

"Think carefully about the risks that are involved before trying to remove heaps of snow from roofs," he said.

NFU Mutual, which looks after the insurance of more than two -thirds of all Scottish farms, is also dealing with a large number of property claims related to the cold weather.

"We already have more than 330 property claims. Many of these relate to burst pipes and consequential damage," Price said. "We have a major concern that when the thaw does comes there will be far more incidents where water damage has taken place.

He asked all those who may have problem to check when the milder weather comes so that damage can be limited even if there is a burst.

Claims relating to vehicle damage have also soared as a result of the weather, with tractors and other farm vehicles suffering damage on slippy roads and in deep snow.