Londoners, the Welsh, and those in the south west and south east of England, are currently facing flash warnings of heavy rain1
. The Met Office predicts that when combined with melting snow, the onset of such rainfall may lead to localised flooding - the Environment Agency currently has 14 regions on flood watch and one, around the River Char at Charmouth, on flood warning2
People in households 'at risk' of flooding should check the details of what their buildings and contents policies cover, as well as the limits and excesses on both. It pays to make sure that the quality of your insurance is high and you won't be left out of pocket if you have to make a claim.
Steve Sweeney, head of home insurance at moneysupermarket.com, said: "With the ground saturated from rainfall and melting snow, the prospect of flood risk could be imminent; Brits living in affected areas could face the awful situation of having to leave their homes. An official warning has been issued for heavy rain for areas from Portsmouth to Plymouth, and to Pembrokeshire in Wales - illustrating just how many people could be affected by the torrential weather conditions.
"If you are unfortunate enough to be flooded, you may need to claim on both your contents and buildings policies. Fixtures such as fireplaces and electric lights, which you may have thought would be covered under a buildings policy, will usually be classified as contents. Those at risk from the flooding should take expensive portable items upstairs or somewhere else dry. Your insurer will expect you to make attempts to minimise your claim. Brits should also consider their vehicles too; while home insurance is essential to guard your property, motor insurance should also be an important consideration for any flood risk to your car."
Further snowfall expected
Steve Sweeney continued: "The UK remains gripped by the prospect of further snow fall; with heavy snow warnings issued for the east and north west of England, and also for those in Wales, Yorkshire, the east Midlands and Strathclyde in Scotland1, we face the prospect of another 'white week in February'.
"Forecasts are for up to 10cm and even 15cm of snowfall, and will therefore affect everything from holiday plans to the daily commute; Brits should ensure they are fully up to speed with policy details on home, travel and motor insurance."
moneysupermarket.com offers the following advice to those affected:
In the case of home insurance there are significant caveats in many policies for the cover of burst pipes during very cold weather. Most providers cover for damage caused by pipes freezing and bursting, but are likely to have exclusions; for example if a property is left unoccupied or unfurnished - typically for 30 days in a row. Confirming this with your insurance provider is crucial.
For those travelling it is advisable to look for service updates online or seek advice on the telephone before leaving the house. Without adequate insurance, getting compensation for disrupted travel plans could be incredibly difficult. Always check the small print to see what you are and aren't covered for. Most providers will cover for delays at snowbound airports, cancellation of flights due to bad weather, and flights missed because of bad weather preventing travel to an airport.
However, if you have only recently bought insurance and plan to travel over the next few days, you may find your cover compromised due to the advanced weather warnings issued - again, checking in with your insurer here is crucial.
Motorists should ready themselves and their vehicles for ice and snow conditions before taking to the roads. In times like these it's important drivers are extra vigilant and prepared for the potential actions of less responsible road users. In the most severely affected areas, avoiding non-essential travel is vital but drivers need to think ahead about the increased risk of breakdowns and accidents caused by hazardous driving conditions if they do need to get behind the wheel.
moneysupermarket.com's top winter motoring tips:
- Regularly check the oil level, anti-freeze, hazard lights and tyres for tread depth and pressure. Check the spare tyre is in good condition too.
- Have the essentials in your car, such as a torch, reflective triangle sign, high-visibility jacket, first aid kit and jump leads.
- Keep adequate distance from the vehicle in front and take particular care to look out for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
- In cold or icy conditions, drive carefully and ensure you don't accelerate, brake or take sharp corners suddenly.
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