The past few years have seen severe flooding in some areas of the UK, with up to 200,000 homes facing insurance problems when a government agreement ends next year. Read our tips on how to prepare for possible floods.
What to do if you’re worried about flooding
To find out if your home is a flood risk enter your postcode on to the Environment Agency’s Flood Map.
If your home is at risk from flooding it’s a good idea to have contents as well as buildings insurance. However you may find home insurance is more expensive than if you weren’t at risk from flooding.
If you think there is a possibility you might be flooded at some point you need to be prepared. Put together a “flood kit” to help minimise damage and help keep you and your family safe. The kit should include a mop, broom, bucket, cleaning equipment, mobile phone, torch, waterproof clothing, first aid items, and long-life food supplies. Keep your flood kit upstairs if possible. Store your home insurance documents – and other important documents – somewhere safe and watertight.
If heavy rain or flooding is imminent get flood protection equipment such as sandbags, plastic covers to seal airbricks, and floorboards to fix around windows and doors. Move as many of your possessions as possible upstairs and listen to news and weather reports for flood warnings. If a severe flood is predicted, get together items you’ll need if you’re evacuated.
In the event of a flood put yours and other people’s safety before property. Either evacuate the property or move your family upstairs. Turn off gas and electricity sources before flood water enters your home and don’t touch electricity devices when standing in flood water.
Be ready to evacuate the property if you’re told to do so by the emergency services. They will take you to an evacuation centre which provides food and bedding.
What to do after a flood
After the flood you will need to clean up. Flood water can contain sewage so wear protective clothing and gloves. Use a pump or generator to get water out of the property only when water levels have started to go down outside. If you’re drying the property manually leave doors and windows open but close them if you’re using a dehumidifier. Only turn gas and electricity back on when it’s been checked by a qualified person.
Speak to your home insurance company as soon as possible – it might organise cleaning the property for you. It should also send a loss adjuster round to assess your claim. In the meantime mark on the wall in each room the level the flood water reached and photograph damaged property and possessions.