Even if we only get modest amounts of rain in the early months of 2013, it will be falling on saturated ground and draining into swollen streams and rivers. So the prospects are far from rosy for those in flood-prone areas - which means homeowners need to make sure their property is as water tight as their contents insurance cover.
Minimise the risk of flood damage
Unfortunately you can't guarantee that your home won't be affected in some way by flooding but you can at least prepare so that the damage is kept to a minimum. Check out these easy ways to reduce the impact of this grotty weather.
If your plug sockets are close to the floor consider moving them higher up the wall. This will stop water getting into the electrics and potentially cause a power outage.
Take a look at your downstairs flooring. If you have wooden floorboards or carpet, replace them with tiles. This will help with the clear up if water does find its way into your home.
You can now buy water-resistant door and window frames. These are brilliant items to install as, unlike some everyday frames, they won't be ruined by heavy moisture.
Raise your kitchen and bathroom units above floor level and, if you have any wooden features, consider replacing them with plastic or steel.
Make sure your pipes are fitted with one-way valves. This ensures that water and sewage won't come back into the house.
How often does your home flood? If it's fairly regularly, you may want to think about attaching flood barriers (sometimes called skirts) to doors and windows. You'll just have to find time to slide these into place if heavy rain is on the way.
Similar to flood barriers, if your home is regularly flooded then you may want to consider fitting a pump system around the ground floor. Despite coming with a hefty installation cost but it does get rid of the flood water quicker than it can get in.
Remember your car! If you are warned about flooding, consider moving your car to higher ground. And always take heed of warnings to avoid driving through flooded roads and fords.
The cost of all these measures could be substantial, but you need to weigh up the price against the misery of cleaning up after a flood. You might also be able to persuade your insurer to discount your premiums if you can show that you have been pro-active in protecting your property.
Need to claim for flood damage?
Research from Lloyds TSB shows the average claim for flood water damage is around £17,000, so it's essential you take the right steps to ensuring your claim is successful. If you act without your insurer's knowledge or consent it could even invalidate your claim.
As soon as you think something might be wrong contact your insurance provider. Most have a 24-hour emergency hotline if you have a problem outside standard office hours. Your insurer will then advise you on what to do next. It's worth keeping the contact details to hand - perhaps along with other important numbers (such as utility firms) in a watertight container.
Claiming on your contents insurance is hassle enough without adding personal injury to your woes so make sure the affected area is safe before entering it. Never enter a flooded area in your home unless you're sure the electricity supply is off. Wait for an all-clear from your utility providers before turning on or using gas and electricity and drinking water from the taps.
If you are flooded take as many pictures and as much video footage as possible of the damaged areas. You need evidence of what has happened.
Make sure you do everything possible to help the insurance company with your claim. It can be a good idea to mark how high the water levels are on the walls as this gives a good indication of scale.
Don't start anything, especially moving things or repair work, until your insurer has told you to - unless there is a danger to you or a risk that the damage could get worse unless action is taken. Insurers endeavour to get people 'on the ground' swiftly following an incident, or you will get instructions over the phone.
When the insurance company tells you to start the repair job, be sure to use a trusted and certified builder from your area (some insurers will specify firms to use). Also make sure you keep every receipt and evidence of any transactions so you can claim back the cost. Make sure you keep your insurance provider in the loop at all times, let them know what repairs are being done and by whom.
Don't throw anything away. Items such as furniture or electrical items might be salvable and the last thing you want is to get rid of them and then find you can't claim. But you can move sodden items into the garden, perhaps protecting them with plastic sheeting. Think of everything as evidence to support your claim.
Insurers should provide drying equipment for your home. Machines such as heaters and dehumidifiers will help speed up the process but damp will usually take a few months to recover.
Your insurance provider will usually pay for alternative accommodation if the damage makes your home uninhabitable. Just make sure the insurer has your contact number so they can stay in touch.
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online quote service. You can follow me on Twitter: @EdTowner Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.
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