Are you prepared for when monster storms like Gonzalez hit Britain?

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If you read the Daily Express, you’d be forgiven for thinking the UK gets knocked about by monster storms that race across the Atlantic Ocean almost constantly throughout the winter. iStock_000003506509XSmall

While newspapers such as the Express exaggerate in an attempt to sell more copies, it’s certainly true that Britain does get hit quite hard at least once each year, and in recent years more than this.

Don’t get caught out by bad winter weather

During last winter, for example, Britain experienced its worst storm for 20 years and the Association of British Insurers says claims for damage caused by flooding and bad weather reached a total of £1.9billion.

Whether your home is somewhere that’s prone to flooding or not, it pays to prepare your home and its contents as best you can, and as early as you can, before the weather catches you out.

Here are 8 ways to get your property and household ready for the storms the lie ahead:

Maintenance work

– Early in the autumn, make a close inspection of your home, looking for anything that needs repairing. Pay particular attention to windows, loose fence panels, roof tiles, guttering, pointing, overhanging trees, flashing, chimney pots and cladding of pipes. Basically, the stronger a home, the more likely it is to resist storm damage.

Prepare for flood defence

– If you live on a flood plain or near a river or stream with a history of flooding, consider buying flood defences that can be erected quickly such as sand bags, floodgates for doors, air vent covers and hydrosacks.

Use the Environment Agency’s information service

– If a major storm is approaching, use the information on the Environment Agency’s excellent website to check for flood warnings and updates on what you’re advised to do.

Make sure you’re correctly insured

– Check your home insurance before winter starts to see if your policy includes cover for outbuildings, such as sheds and offices, and that any cover you have includes their contents; not all policies do. Many people are caught out and don’t realise they’re cover is insufficient.

Follow emergency services instructions

– If you have to leave your property due to flooding or other hazardous conditions that threaten the structure, secure your home as best you can before leaving. Then follow any instructions given by the police and fire services as closely as possible.

Switching off gas, electric and water mains

– Ensure everyone who lives at the property knows how to turn off the main power and water sources into your home. This is absolutely vital!

Sort out an emergency kit and keep it handy

– Place vital ‘survival’ items in a waterproof bag and keep it handy. Include such items as torches, passports and other key documents, first aid kits, emergency numbers and insurance details.

Move vehicles to higher ground

– If you know a storm is going to hit hard and your property is at risk of flooding, it can be relatively simple to secure vehicles by moving them to higher ground nearby.

Policy Expert

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