MILLIONS are being hit by snow and cold weather as the temperature worsens for the winter.
Roads across Eastern and South East England are buried in snow, and there are more chilly nights to come.
The Met Office forecasters have issued several yellow weather warnings for snow, ice and fog across Britain for Monday, set to continue through to Thursday.
So far, travellers have been forced to turn back home after over four inches of the snow fell overnight – sparking travel chaos.
So what are your rights if you can't get out due to heavy snow?
We get into the full list below.
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If you suffer a power outage from a storm or other poor weather conditions, you could claim £70 in compensation.
You get it for the first 24 hours or 48 hours, depending on the severity of the weather.
You then get £70 for each additional 12-hour period after that – the maximum claim is £700.
To claim compensation, you need to speak directly with your area electricity distributor.
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That's not your energy provider but instead it's a regional contact based on where you live.
You can find out who your distributor is on the National Grid's website.
You must claim power cut compensation within 30 days of the outage though.
There is scope to claim home insurance for storm damage, but that will depend on the cover you have and other terms and conditions.
Usually, both building and contents insurance cover against storm damage, so you should be able to enquire if snow has badly affected your property.
The Financial Ombudsman defines a storm as something that "generally involves violent winds, usually accompanied by rain, hail or snow".
But many insurers have their own standards that define "bad weather", which you agree to when you take out the policy.
In lesser weather, they may argue against claims citing things like wind speeds.
Many set their own thresholds, and vary depending on the policy, but it usually needs to be winds between 47mph and 55mph.
What you can claim for
Here are the things that you could make a claim for:
- Roof tiles that have blown off in the winds,
- Damage to the house caused by lightning,
- Bricks and mortar broken by fallen trees and debris,
- Water damage caused by heavy rainfall.
You're not likely to be able to get a payout for things such as garden fences, sheds, gates and hedges unless your policy specifically says it will.
Many policies often exclude damage made to anything outside the house itself unless you have specific cover.
In some cases, insurers may refuse to pay out if you didn't maintain your home to a good enough standard.
For example, if you make a claim for water damage to your house after the storm but the insurer's inspection finds that the gutters aren't clear.
In other cases, your building insurance might not cover your possessions so it's important to check the small print before taking out the policy.
How to claim
If your house is damaged so badly that you can't live in it, your insurer should pay for alternative accommodation until they have repaired it.
Get in touch with your insurer as soon as you can and find out if they have any specific requests that you need to do to make the claim.
Make sure that you take detailed photographs of all of the damage that's been caused to your property and possessions.
You'll need to keep all of the damaged property too as the insurance company might want to carry out their own inspection of them before making a decision.
If you need to make any emergency temporary repairs, then you should let your insurer know about it first.
Keep all of the receipts and invoices too as you can add this to your claim.
If your water supply is interrupted by an emergency, such as a burst main water pipe, your water company must restore the supply within 12 hours of becoming aware of the problem, or 48 hours if it's a strategic main pipe, Citizens Advice says.
You could be entitled to compensation of £20 for the first 24 hours of an interruption to supplies and £10 for each further period without water.
Your water company must also take reasonable steps to let you know where to get an alternative supply and when it plans to restore it, as well as a contact for further information.
Exceptions include "exceptional weather", but this would mainly be if there was a huge storm.
If you're without water you can contact your provider, which you can find on the consumer council for water website.
Broadband and landline outages
The Automatic Compensation Scheme means broadband and landline customers get their money back from their provider when things go wrong.
But you don't have to ask for it, and it should just be given to you automatically.
If your broadband stops working, you simply have to report the fault to your provider to be in line for the compensation.
And if your service doesn’t start when you expected it to, or if your engineer appointment is missed, your provider will pay you back automatically too.
Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, confirmed to The Sun the scheme applies if the fault is caused by bad weather.
You don’t need to take any action to receive the compensation and it will be sent as a credit on your bill no later than 30 days after the issue occurred.
If the service is not fixed after two full working days, you still won't have to do anything as there are measures in place to send out the compensation.
You should be set to receive an initial £8.06 if the service is not fixed two full working days after you report it, and then £8.06 for each full day it's still not fixed after that.
They will also pay £25 for each missed appointment, or for appointments cancelled with less than 24 hours' notice, plus you'll get £5 for each calendar day delay to the start of the new service.
You should get in touch with your provider to see if they are involved in the scheme.
You'll only be able to make a claim on your car insurance if it's fully comprehensive.
Third party fire and theft policies only cover if your car is damaged by another car, or if your car is stolen or catches fire, according to USwitch.
So if you're not fully comp, you'll have to fork out yourself for damage that's caused by falling trees or fences from the snow.
With a fully comp policy, you'll still have to pay the excess – how much that is depends on how much the policy is.
Making a claim could put up your premium.
The exact coverage you have and what the policy will pay out for will depend on the terms and conditions, so it's worth checking the finer detail.
You'll also need to show that you've taken suitable care to protect your car, for instance that you weren't driving recklessly in a storm which caused a collision.
If you do have fully comprehensive motor insurance and need to claim, here's how to do it:
- Contact your insurer as soon as you notice the damage – try their 24-hour emergency helpline if it's outside business hours
- Take photos of the damage – don't move debris until you have photographic evidence
- Arrange temporary repairs as soon as possible – discuss with your insurer first so that they are aware and will be able to reimburse you later
- Don't drive your vehicle if the damage has made it unsafe
You may be able to get compensation for train journeys that have been delayed or cancelled by severe weather, but you'll need to apply as you won't get it automatically.
All train companies have adopted "delay repay", a national scheme used to compensate you for unexpected delays – and sometimes this includes bad weather.
Passengers are entitled to compensation each for any delay of 15 minutes or more.
How much you get back depends on how long the delays are and the type of ticket you have.
Compensation ranges from 25% of the ticket price to 100%. You’ll get a full refund if your train was delayed by 120 minutes or longer.
It doesn't matter which train company you are travelling with – the scheme is nationwide and all firms are part of it.
But how you claim the money back will be up to the train line, and you'll have to apply to them directly. You can usually do this online.
You'll probably need a picture of your ticket and information about the train service you were on to claim.
You need to apply to the train company directly, each has their own system but you can usually do this online, or you can fill in a form and send in your ticket with it.
You can get your money back if your train is cancelled or delayed – but only if you choose not to travel at all.
Your unused ticket can be refunded, National Rail says, and you shouldn't be charged a fee for this.
You can get the money back from where you bought the ticket originally.
All ticket types are refundable if you do not travel due to disruption, according to the Office of Rail and Road.
If you are not happy about a train company then you can make a complaint
You need to make a complaint to the train company directly, and you can do this online, by email or over the phone.
You'll need to provide information about the issue and your journey, such as departure station, date, time and ticket type.
You should get a response within 20 days.
If you're not happy with this you can ask them to look at it again and they will need to respond within 40 days.
If you still haven't resolved the problem you can escalate the issue to the Rail Ombudsman.
When a flight is due to depart from an EU airport, regardless of the airline, or where an EU airline is due to land at an EU airport you are covered by EU flight delay and cancellation rules.
When your flight is cancelled, you're entitled to an alternative flight or a full refund – including a refund for the return leg.
If you opt for an alternative flight, it’s up to you whether to fly as soon as possible after the cancelled flight or at a later date.
If you opt for a later flight, you may also be entitled to care and assistance.
This usually means food, drink, access to communication – for example this could be by refunding the reasonable cost of phone calls – and accommodation if you have to stay overnight.
Your airline may give you a voucher for this to use in the airport.
If you're unable to contact your airline, you may need to pay for accommodation yourself, you can claim the cash later, just make sure you keep the receipts.
If you were due to travel outside the EU, contact your airline as what you're entitled to will vary.
If your flight has been delayed for more than five hours and it's an EU flight, then you are entitled to a refund if you no longer wish to travel.
You will also get a refund for any unused parts of your booking – for example the return flight – and a flight back to your departure airport if you’ve already completed part of your journey.
If you opt for this, just keep in mind that you'll generally no longer be entitled to any further care and assistance.
Generally, you don't have a right to claim additional compensation if the cause of the delay or cancellation is bad weather.
But there are a few cases where you may wish to pursue a claim.
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For example, if you are told you can't fly due to heavy snow, but other flights are departing, then you may want to raise this with the airline.
The airline doesn't have to compensate you if you're told about a delay or cancellation at least two weeks in advance.
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