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What do I need to do in the event of a flood?

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A flood may cause considerable damage to your home, it is also likely to be a very frightening experience and – above all perhaps – may happen at lightning speed.

So that you are not caught unawares if the worst happens, it is sensible to plan in advance whatever preparations you need to make before a flood occurs, during it, and after. 

Before 

  • visit the Environment Agency’s website to assess the risk of flooding in your area – and of course, take on board any flood warnings that are currently in force;
  • make sure to have to hand all the telephone numbers you may need – emergency services, local council and your insurance company (remembering also to keep a note of your policy number);
  • make sure you know where to turn off gas and electricity supplies; 
  • stock up on sandbags and assemble a “flood kit” – containing those emergency phone numbers, first aid kit, torch, battery or wind-up radio, and flasks for hot drinks); 
  • make sure that every member of your household is aware of your flood plan or drill – and practice it if necessary, suggests the Fire Service;

During

  • stay alert and keep watching the flood levels and listening to the radio for further warnings or changes in the weather;
  • move people and pets upstairs or, if there is any risk at all in the flood waters reaching upper floors, move to higher ground; 
  • move valuables and items of sentimental value to upper floors;
  • if the emergency services ask you to evacuate, take with you only essential items, including any medication required by members of the household, bearing in mind that you might be away for some time; 
  • avoid contact with flood water, which may be contaminated with raw sewage, so everything that has come into contact with it needs to be thoroughly cleaned, disinfected or thrown away;

After

  • as soon as the flood water begins to abate and you have some idea of the extent of the damage likely to have been caused, make contact with your insurance company – the sooner the better, since quick action may avert still further damage; 
  • if your flood insurance has been arranged through us here at UKinsuranceNET, remember that we are always available to help – right through from your initial report of a flood emergency and throughout the claims process; 
  • it is especially important to seek the advice of your insurance company before agreeing to quotes that might be offered by local builders and tradesmen – your insurers are likely to give immediate approval for emergency repairs to prevent further damage; 
  • there are a number of steps you may take whilst waiting for the major mop-up operation and repairs to start – open doors and windows to help start to dry it out (it is a long process, taking about a month for every saturated inch of brickwork to dry out) – and remember to unblock ventilation bricks or flood guards that were installed on external doors; 
  • do not turn back on your water, gas or electricity supplies until these have been checked by the relevant utilities.

Flooding of your home is likely to prove a traumatic experience. Being prepared in advance and enlisting the help of your flood insurance company at an early stage may help ease some of that inevitable trauma.

Further reading: Guide to Flood Insurance.

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