Flooding: A guide to home protection and how to claim

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Flooding in your home is one of the most costly, as well as dangerous, events you can experience. And the chances of it happening are increasing. flooded houses street

Over the last decade, the number of properties suffering flooding in the UK has risen dramatically. Earlier this year, the national environment department, Defra, concluded that the greatest threat posed to the UK by climate change was flooding, estimating that 3.6million people could eventually be at risk.

While there’s little you can do to prevent a flood from occurring, there are ways you can minimise the impact.

And if you need to claim for it on your home insurance, there are also ways to increase the chances of the claim proceeding smoothly.

Making your home flood resilient

The DIY approach
There are a good number of flood defence DIY products on the market to help protect your property; Airbrick covers, window and door flood guards, sand bags and other free-standing water barriers. These can all potentially help minimise the amount of water that gets in your home

Use what you have
If you haven’t had time to get to a local DIY store, you could use any bits of plywood, or other wood, that’s around to cover your doors, windows and airbricks.

Flood warnings
There is a great deal of flood warning information now available to keep you up to date and quick to respond. Check on the Environmental Agency’s website, or with your local council and sign up for text, tweet and email alerts.

Utilities
Turn off mains gas, water and electricity supplies and unplug any electrical items such as fridges and televisions.

Transfer possessions upstairs
A lot of flood damage occurs at ground floor level to sofas, curtains, electrical and white goods, and the other valuable items. It’s a good idea to move as much as possible upstairs, potentially out of reach of flood waters.

Landscaping your garden
This can be done in ways which will divert water away from your home. Look online for tips, or hire a landscape gardener, it could pay dividends in the long run

Don’t forget your car
People often forget vehicles in the panic of flood preparation, but moving a car, motorbike, sit on mowers and other vehicles to safer areas is a sensible precaution.

Important documents
It’s expensive replacing passports, driving licences and other documents. Place these in waterproof bags, if possible, and keep them on you or in a safe place.

How to claim and making sure you’re covered

Most policies automatically include cover for flood damage. However, some cheaper policies, or those taken out by people who live in high risk areas but haven’t indicated this, may not.

The best way to ensure you’re covered is to read the small print of your policy, and/or call your insurer to check.

Claiming is relatively simple, but there are procedures you should follow:

  • Firstly, as tempting as it might be, don’t start the clear up after a flood until you’ve called your insurer. Your policy will stipulate that you need to tell your provider as soon as damage has occurred, and they may wish to send someone to your home to assess the damage as it stands.
  • If it’s vital, you can arrange for emergency repairs to be carried out, but keep all receipts and make notes of all the damage, taking photographs if possible.
  • Make a note of, and mark on walls, water levels. As above, take as much photographic evidence as possible. Witness statements might also help from neighbours and/or friends.
  • Keep records of all communications with your insurer in case of problems with your claim at a later date.
  • Don’t throw away damaged items if you can help it. Insurers recommend that you only throw anything away after a flood that you want to claim for if it’s a danger to health.

Policy Expert

We’re dedicated to helping customers find the insurance policy that’s right for them. Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, so we have a team of experts with a real passion for making sure people get the cover that’s right for them at the right price. To speak to one of our experts, call 0203 014 9300 or email ask@policyexpert.co.uk

 

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Policy Expert.