The Met Office has issued amber warnings for “heavy rainfall” combined with “snowmelt” which could lead to significant flooding in some regions. The UK meteorological service said homes and businesses are “likely” to be flooded which could cause damage to some buildings. There’s also a chance that power cuts and loss of other services could impact homes across the country.
What to do before a flood
1. Listen out for local flood warnings by checking the radio and TV regularly. Checking the Met Office and Government websites is also a good idea.
2. Once you’ve been given a flood warning, sandbags and flood boards will be in high demand so its best to stock up on these before.
Sandbags can be used to seal doorways and placed in sinks and toilets to prevent and back flow from sewage.
Air bricks on the exterior of your home should also be blocked with plastic sheeting if possible.
3. Get a bag together with all your essentials and make sure this is away from any areas in your home which could be flooded.
Insurance documents, a battery-powered torch and radio, waterproof clothing and blankets, bottled water, non-perishable food and medication, a first-aid kit, phone chargers and any food you need for babies and pets are the best things to pack.
4. If you think your home could be at risk of flood damage, take some pictures before.
This is useful to show insurers if you have to make any claims.
5. Turn your electricity, gas and water off before any flood water enters your home.
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6. Shut all your windows and doors to reduce the amount of flood water that enters your home.
7. Before flooding begins, it’s also best to evacuate any elderly people, young children or pets who could be vulnerable.
8. Move your car to higher ground to ensure floodwater doesn’t damage it.
9. Protect your belongings by moving them higher up where flood water is less likely to reach them.
After a flood
1. Standing floodwater can carry contamination risks and could have sharp objects in it or an electric current.
It’s best to avoid it but if you can’t, make sure you wear waterproof clothing and wellies when traversing through it.
2. Don’t turn your electronics on until they’re dried out as this could cause more damage to them.
3. It’s best to get rid of any food if it’s been in contact with flood water as it could be contaminated.
4. Contact your water supplier to ask whether your water supply is safe.
Until then, only drink bottled water or boiled tap water.
5. Keep taking photos of your home to show how the flood as damaged your home.
6. Although it’s winter, you need to keep your doors and windows open once the flooding is over.
This will help dry out and ventilate your home.
A dehumidifier will also help speed the process along.
How to make an insurance claim
1. Firstly, let them know as soon as possible.
2. Then, organise your evidence which will include any photos or videos you took of the damage.
Measurements like the depth of water in your home is also a good idea.
3. It’s tempting to start throwing stuff out and cleaning up but it’s actually best to speak to your insurer first before you do this.
If you start making repairs straight away, this could affect your claim.
4. Consider speaking to a loss assessor who will investigate a claim and decide how much they will pay out.
Insurance companies can appoint a loss assessor but they can also represent your claim although this usually costs.
Kate Devine, home insurance spokesperson at MoneySuperMarket added: “Those living in high-risk flooding areas should make sure the home insurance policy covers the cost of any restoration and repairs to contents and homes in the event of a flood.
“The cheapest policy may not provide the right level of cover for what you need, so make sure you’re getting the right deal.
“Compare different policies by the level and amount of cover that they offer, the minimum excess you’ll have to pay, including any extras or inclusions, customer reviews and rankings, and the price of the policy.
“If your home is damaged by floods, it may be worth considering whether or not to claim on your building insurance, if the flood damage is only mild…
“Covering the repair costs yourself, where possible, can keep your no-claims bonus whilst avoiding paying any excess. In the future, this may also help keep your premium costs to a minimum.
“If your insurance provider offers flood insurance as part of the Flood Re scheme, then you will need to pay a £250 excess fee to cover any loss or damage claims that are caused.
“Finally, if you do need to make a claim due to flooding, then contact your insurer as soon as possible.”