How to protect against flood damage

With Storms Harvey and Irma having recently wreaked havoc in Texas and Florida, the devastation caused by floods and storms is not far from most people’s minds. But there are things you can do to protect your property and if floods do strike, help is at hand. Here are our top tips.

Check if you’re at risk

It’s not just in Texas or the tropics; flooding has become a major issue for homeowners in the UK during the last decade, with climate change becoming more prevalent. In recent years, the UK has experienced some of its wettest weather, with over 1 million homes estimated to have been affected by the increase of flooding. 

The Environment Agency states that around two million homes in England and Wales are at risk of flood from rivers and sea. More than 25% of these are at ‘moderate’ risk (or higher).

Check if you are at risk of flood damage with the Environment Agency’s long-term flood risk tool.

If you are at risk, you can sign up for flood warnings and alerts so that you can have some advance warning and be as well prepared as possible in the event of bad weather.

Get the right insurance

Flooding can cause thousands of pounds’ worth of damage to your possessions, structure and the interior of your home. So it makes sense that, if you are in a flood risk area, you make sure your property’s insurance covers you for floods and other water damage.

The government’s Flood Re scheme helps those in flood risk areas to access affordable insurance.

Be careful and check your policy!

Most property insurance policies cover flood, storm and escape of water damage as standard. It’s important to check your individual insurance policy to see how it covers them.

The Financial Ombudsman has reported that, while insurance policies for properties usually provide cover for any loss or damage that is caused by flooding, most of these policies do not provide a definition of what a flood actually is. It has seen many disputes regarding whether or not damage was caused by a flood, as well as complaints about how insurance claims in these instances are handled.

Get the right definition

Therefore, it is wise to check your policy thoroughly, to make sure that if and when you do make a claim, you are making it under the correct provision. If you use Sarrani, this is something we will help you with.

In general, the differences are as follows, but always check your own policy:

  • If a river overflows its banks and the water gets into your property, this is classed as flood damage.

  • If adverse weather conditions damage your property meaning that rain can then get in and cause further damage, this is classed as storm damage.

  • If water that has entered your property via the mains water supply has then escaped the pipe or tank and cause damage to your property, i.e. a burst pipe, that is classed as escape of water.

  • If you spill some water in your property, this is classed as accidental damage.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has some useful advice on how best to protect and insure your property against flooding.

Be prepared!

If you are in a flood risk area, you might want to consider installing some flood defence measures to help protect your property. These include flood doors and raising the level of your electrical sockets.

Both the National Flood Forum and the Flood Protection Association offer advice on how best to protect your property and install flood defence.  

If the Environment Agency issues a flood warning for your area, there are several things you can do to help minimise the likely damage:

  • Secure items that could cause damage in high winds, such as ladders and garden equipment

  • Move your car, if you have one, to higher ground out of flood risk areas

  • Move your most valuable and essential possessions either upstairs or secure them safely away from home – for example with friends or relatives or in a secure storage unit not in a flood risk area.

  • Keep key contact numbers for your insurer, electricity, gas and water supplier, as well as insurance policy documents to hand.

  • Have your mobile phone with you and fully charged

  • Put an emergency kit of essential items together in case you need to evacuate.

The National Flood Forum has an Emergency Flood Kit and a wealth of other information to help you prepare for and cope with flooding.

What can Sarrani do to help?

At Sarrani, we understand how upsetting and stressful it can be if your property is affected by flooding. We have huge expertise in this area and offer full flood damage repair and flood damage restoration services.

For more information on insurance cover and how we can help with insurance repairs, email us at info@sarrani.com or call us on 020 3006 3126.