Storm damage in Northern Ireland© Brian Lawless/PA Images

Claims for damage from gale force winds brought by storm Ophelia could reach £10m, according to the UK’s largest rural insurer.

While the cost of the gales across Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland are expected to be between £5m-£10m, NFU Mutual said this could rise further as farmers venture out to inspect any damage over the coming days.

But although the gale force winds seen across the country on Monday (16 October) were some of the worst in recent years, in terms of damage to farms it has been a fairly low-level storm, the insurer added.

See also: Top tips on reviewing insurance for arable farms

NFU Mutual’s rural affairs specialist Tim Price said in comparison to other recent weather events, such as the heavy snowfall experienced in Scotland in 2010 when claims reached a total of £70m, the UK has got off quite lightly.

Wake-up call

He said the storm should act as a wake-up call for farmers to check for minor repairs on farm buildings that need attention as the weather in the UK worsens for the winter.

Mr Price said the company had already received about 50 claims in Northern Ireland and a handful of others across Scotland. It has launched its emergency claims plan to speed up the process for claimants.

The claims are likely to be for damage to tile roofs, sheeting on agricultural buildings, and for properties and vehicles damaged by falling trees.

Further bad weather is also expected at the tail end of this week.