Severe weather warning: Keep your wheelie bin under control!
Why a rampaging bin might not be covered by home or business insurance
Winter storms inevitably bring storm damage, and one of the major culprits these days are wheelie bins being blown into cars and property. This weekend’s storms have caused many £1000s of pounds worth of damage to cars, garden fences and untold hours will be wasted collecting litter from streets and car parks.
And according to one waste and recycling company, if you’ve not made a reasonable effort to prevent your bins from getting loose, you might not be covered by insurance.
Waste collection company Divert.co.uk says rampaging wheelie bins can cause thousands of pounds of damage for which the householder or business owner from where it came could be held responsible.
We’ve all seen videos of bins being blown down the street during storms, says Divert.co.uk spokesman Mark Hall, “but what many people forget is that they’re heavy and can pack a real punch if they hit anything.
What’s the damage, then?
The average domestic wheelie bin, when empty, weighs around 10kg (22lbs in the old money). A wheeled commercial bin weighs between 15-50kg (33-110 pounds).
Allowed to run free in gale-force winds gusting up to 50mph, the potential for damage is enormous.
Blown out into the street, even a domestic bin can cause thousands of pounds of damage to a car. Even a small dent could cost you between £50-£150, and that might not be covered by your insurance excess, so it’ll come straight out of your pocket.
And that’s if your insurance is valid because here’s the small print: Insurance companies – always looking to protect their bottom line – might not payout if you have not made a reasonable attempt to secure your bins.
We repeat, in bold type: Your insurance may not be valid.
“The nightmare scenario is your bin pummelling your neighbour’s brand new Tesla,” says Divert.co.uk’s Mark Hall. “You might need to be as rich as Elon Musk to get out of that if your insurance turns you down.”
So, should I tie down my bins?
Securing your wheelie bins on your domestic or commercial property protects you from any liability should they cause damage to other people’s property.
In most cases, you don’t need to do anything elaborate. For a domestic bin, a bungee cord securing the bin to a fence, downpipe or other fixture would be sufficient.
You can also buy a bracket handle that fixes your bin to the wall if you want a more elegant and secure solution.
For multiple or heavier bins, it’s worth investing in a corral or enclosure for your wheeled containers. They also look tidier than having a row of bins outside your property.
All of these solutions also secures them against bin theft, which is a bizarre, yet growing phenomenon.
Not only do thieves love wheelie bins as a means to carry swag away from a break-in, but they’re also stolen and burned by feckless youths who live under the belief that inhaling the fumes gets you high.
Public service announcement: Huffing bin fumes does not get you high.
And securing your bins makes sense even before you consider the insurance aspect.
That’s because there’s nothing worse than stepping out in a cold, wet, and blustery morning to find your bin blown over and having to chase rubbish down the street.
Nobody wants to do that, says Divert.co.uk’s Mark Hall.
“Save yourself a morning of misery – secure your wheelie bin.”