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What can homeowners do to minimise flood damage?

Depositphotos 14564261 m-2015 (1)

Flash flooding brought travel chaos to parts of England yesterday, with train stations closed and cars stranded. This followed forecasters’ warnings of a months worth of rain falling in a day, with the Met Office predicting that homes and businesses would be flooded.

And sadly these aren’t one off events – last month, homes in Cornwall were evacuated as flash floods hit.

Sadly, flooding and bad weather that damages homes and businesses are set to become “the norm”, suggests the following data:

  • the Met Office predicted in 2014 that Britain was in line for more heavy rain as a result of the world getting warmer, saying that ‘daily heavy rain events’ (which have the potential to cause localised flooding) were now more likely to be a one-in-85-day occurrence than a one-in-125 day event;
  • as part of the NFRR (National Flood Resilience Review) in September last year, the Met Office concluded that rainfall experienced over the next decade could be between 20 and 30% higher than normal.

With these damning figures, in 2016 the Government prioritised investment in maintaining and improving flood defences in England with a record six-year commitment to 1,500 schemes, driving down total risk by 5%, better protecting 300,000 homes as well as providing £30 billion in economic benefits by 2021.

On top of this, the Budget 2016 included an additional boost to spending on flood defence and resilience of over £700 million up to 2021.

Flood Re has also been introduced to help homeowners in high-risk areas cope with ever soaring home insurance premiums.

Minimising the damage

But, while these are positive steps for homeowners, says Steve Bradley, MD at property insurance specialists UKinsuranceNET, they should also looking at minimising any damage and not just rely on property insurance.

He says: “While property insurance is designed to repair / replace water damage - Storm Desmond wreaked havoc in the UK in Winter 2015 and cost the country an estimated £5 billion – homeowners need to be aware that flooding can do more than just damage your home and contents.

“You may need to live elsewhere while the property is dried out and repaired - which can take many, many weeks. You may also lose old family photos or keepsakes that have been passed down to you, which have a sentimental value that can never be replaced”.

Mr Bradley recommends that home owners:

  • take advantage of free flood warnings issued by the Government;
  • set aside time for flood planning;
  • check for any vulnerabilities in their premises (such as points of entry for water) and put protection in place;
  • if possible, think about moving items with a sentimental item and those that are valuable or important upstairs;
  • make provision for any pets you have (so keep a supply of food and bedding upstairs).

Mr. Bradley adds: “Sadly, flooding is becoming a part of our seasonal cycle. Homeowners should look to see if their properties are becoming more at risk to suffer from flooding, then take precautionary steps to minimise its effect. That also, of course, includes making sure you have adequate insurance cover in case flood damage occurs”.

UKinsuranceNET can provide flood insurance cover for properties that have previously flooded or are in a high-risk area and have access insurers who are part of the Flood Re scheme.

Further reading: Being prepared for floods