Floods cause untold damage to properties in the UK. Following the most recent spate of the worst storms in the winter of 2015-16, the insurance industry paid out more than £1.3 billion in claims, say the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
Flooding forced more than 3,000 families into alternative accommodation and each individual insurance claim was an estimated £50,000
With the potential for devastation on such a wide scale to many homes, what flood advice is it possible to give?
Assess the risk
- if your home has been damaged by flooding in the past, the chances of further inundation is naturally that much higher, so it is a risk to which you need to be aware of;
- if your home has not been flooded in the past, that doesn’t mean it might not be flooded in the future – and you may find out the risk of flooding from rivers or the sea simply by entering your postcode into the Environment Agency’s Flood Map for Planning, confirm the location on the scalable map which appears and confirm the flood risk zone of the property;
- your regular home building and contents insurance is likely to provide protection against a number of standard risks, including flooding;
- if your property has suffered loss or damage from this source in the past, however, or if it is located in a high-risk flood zone, many insurers may decline cover altogether, specifically exclude the risk of flooding to the property, or significantly increase the price of the premiums you need to pay;
- that is why you may need to consult a specialist provider of flood insurance – such as ourselves here at UKinsuranceNET – to secure the flood protection you need, at a competitive market rate;
- just as with any other type of insurance, though, flood insurance also relies on your taking all reasonable steps to prevent loss or damage in the first place;
- conventionally, these measures are group into two categories – flood resistance (preventing flood water entering your home in the first place) and flood resilience (ways of limiting the damage caused if flood waters do get in), and detailed considerations of both stages are given in the Homeowners Guide to Flood Resilience, published by Know Your Flood Risk website;
- examples of flood resistance range from the traditional methods of sandbagging to more tailor-made solutions, such as special guards which may be fitted to external doors to help prevent the ingress of water, covers to fit over ventilation bricks and non-return values on drain and waste-water pipes to prevent a backup of water;
- flood resilience, on the other hand, refers to such measures as raising white water goods on plinths, using plastic or steel kitchen units rather than wood, laying tiled floors, fixing your TVs and home entertainment systems on the wall, at least 1.5m above the floor or even rebuilding the first two steps on your stairs in concrete in place of wood.
There is no way of completely flood-proofing your home if it happens to be built in a high-risk area of course. But being aware of the risks, making sure to arrange adequate flood insurance and taking reasonable measures to limit the loss or damage a flood may cause are all important steps to take.
Further reading: Guide to Flood Insurance.