What to do if your house is in a flood risk zone
No one wants to think about it but there is a very real risk that your home could be in a flood risk zone. As much as we like to believe that England isn’t prone to adverse weather conditions, recent years have proved us wrong.
There is a very real risk of flooding in the UK considering 7 out of the 10 wettest years have occurred since 1998. 2013 saw the wettest Winter in history and only two years later saw the next wettest. Many will remember the shock the country felt with the floods of 2015; they affected 16,000 homes with a total cost of over £5 billion. We shouldn’t underestimate the extreme storms and intense downpours that could potentially affect the country in the next century.
If you don’t know if your house falls in a flood risk area there is a very easy way to check. The gov.uk website is a great resource for flood information. You can even sign up for warnings. If you’re interested, you can also get the flood history of your area based on the Environment Agency records. The report is free most of the time unless it takes more than 18 hours to collate and it will be sent to you within 20 working days. In addition, the Environment Agency also provides live flood risk maps.
It is estimated that 5.9 million properties in England and Wales are at risk of flooding according to the Environment Agency, which is why it is important to consider this when looking at home insurance. Some insurers won’t automatically cover flood damage, especially in relation to contents. You must check that your contents insurance covers flood risk if you are in a high-risk zone.
Say you’ve done all this, you’ve prepared yourself but unfortunately the flood has reached your home, what do you do next? Flooding can affect all aspects of your life including transport, electricity, gas and water. Even if your property seemingly hasn’t been affected, be aware of others around you and the knock-on effects the flood might have. If your alert is a warning be sure to turn off your gas and electricity as well as moving all your valuables to the highest room in the house.
The most important thing is to keep yourself safe, stay in contact with the emergency services and those around you. When the time comes to contact your insurance company make sure you keep a note of all phone calls, who you spoke to and at what time. Avoid throwing anything out before checking with your insurance company as it is likely they will want to check what has been damaged and adjust their pay-outs accordingly. If the flood has been so severe that you can no longer stay in your home, your building and contents insurance will usually help to find alternative accommodation.
The only thing you can do for a home that is at flood risk is prepare. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Always keep on top of media forecasts when it’s a particularly wet season whether that be through social media, the radio or TV and make sure your insurance covers what you need it to.
No one knows what the future holds but it’s better to be prepared than be swamped with the unexpected.