The weather is probably one of our favourite topics of conversation in this country. But it can also be a sore point if you’re expecting torrential rain and you live on a flood plain.
Flooding can be immensely traumatic for homeowners. It can cause huge disruption and may take you a long time to get your life back to normal again. However, there are some simple steps you can take to prepare yourself if it looks as though bad weather is really on the way.
What you can do if flooding is forecast…
- Unplug all electrical items. Try to store them well above ground level or upstairs. With heavy items like fridges, get some help to raise them up on bricks – and if you’re unsure, be on the safe side: turn off gas, electricity and water supplies at the mains.
- Push back against the water. You can often prevent water getting in at all by laying sandbags at entry points – but a pillowcase or plastic bag filled with garden soil or a heavy object will help, even if you don’t have sand to hand. If you are in a flood-prone area you may want to do something more permanent. The National Flood Forum produce a really useful booklet called ‘Ready for flooding’, which is available on their web site: http://www.nationalfloodforum.org.uk/property-level-protection-community-tool
- Store your valuables carefully. Put your valuables somewhere safe. Check your policy to find out the extent of your cover, then either move them upstairs or ask someone to look after them elsewhere for you. Clearly, you’ll need to be certain your insurance still covers those items if they’re not in your home.
- Take care of your paperwork. Keep important documents in a watertight plastic bag in a high, safe place. You might even decide to give them to family or friends to look after.
- Move everything up. Take as much furniture as possible upstairs. If there’s something you want to protect that’s too heavy to carry, move it away from walls as this will speed up drying times later. Rugs are easy to roll up, even if carpets may not be movable.
- Make a flood kit. You’ll be glad of this when the flood clean up begins; include key personal documents, a torch, batteries, a wind-up radio, spare mobile phone, rubber gloves, wellington boots, waterproof clothing, a first aid kit (including any important medication), and blankets. Also have a list of useful numbers to hand, such as the emergency services, local council and your insurer’s emergency number.
- Help your neighbours. Make sure everyone knows there is a flood on the way – especially those who are elderly or infirm.
- Stay flood aware. You can get real time flood warnings and advice from The Environment Agency on 0845 988 1188. It’s worth updating yourself regularly if you think you are about to be flooded. You can also visit environment-agency.gov.uk/floodline for information.
Check your contents and buildings insurance is up to date
Apart from practical considerations, one of the most important things you can do is make sure you have a good insurance policy in place. Here’s what you need to know:
Flooding is covered as standard in most insurance policies, but if you’re in a flood plain, you do need to double check what the extent of your cover is.
You’ll need home contents and buildings insurance if you want to claim for individual items as well as property damage.
If you need to make a claim, you could get all sorts of help like alternative accommodation, emergency payments or drying equipment. And at Aviva, we can even make arrangements for your pets too.
If you live close to a watercourse, do make sure your policy shows that.
And if the worst does happen?
If your home does get flooded, find out what you should do here.
How to make a claim
For Aviva home insurance: call 0345 030 6945
For Aviva car insurance: call 0345 030 6925
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