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Storm and flood hints and tips

Read about what you should do in the event of a claim for damage to your property by a storm or flood. We also provide a few tips on how to prevent or reduce the amount of damage caused by flooding.

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Tips to prevent or reduce storm or flood damage:

Storms and floods are impossible to prevent, but the following are ideas to help prevent excessive damage:

  • Check your roof on a regular basis to look out for any slipped or missing tiles, loose or cracked flashings or worn concrete.
  • Keep all drains and gutters clear of debris. During high rainfall, blocked gutters etc could cause extensive water damage to your home.
  • Cut back any large branches (especially dead ones) which overhang your home or outbuildings.
  • Back up your computer to avoid the loss of any sentimental material (such as family photos). Both lightning and flood damage could wipe your computer's hard drive.
  • Make sure that all valuables are locked safely away, preferably in a waterproof container kept on an upper floor.
  • Keep a stock of sandbags - ask your local council as they may supply them.
  • Obtain temporary flood protection equipment such as removable covers for air bricks and other vents and floorboards to help protect vulnerable windows and doors.
  • When refurbishing or decorating your home, use flood resilient materials, for example ceramic tiles on ground floors, or rugs instead of carpets, and moving kitchen units and electrical sockets above ground level.
  • Keep an emergency kit ready and ensure it is kept somewhere easy to get to. Any kit should include:
    - A torch
    - Canned food and portable cooking equipment
    - Bottled water
    - Portable radio, along with spare batteries
    - Blankets, waterproof clothing and boots
    - A list of local emergency numbers (e.g. the council)
    - Your insurance details
    - First Aid kit

Further information can be obtained from the Environment Agency's ‘Preparing for Flood' leaflet contained on their website www.environment-agency.gov.uk (opens in a new window).


If there is a threat of storm or flooding:

  • Remember to keep your garden clear of any hazardous loose objects, as these could damage windows etc. Potential hazards include garden furniture, children's play equipment (such as slides) or building material. Tie down garden furniture too large to store in sheds.
  • Lightning can travel along phone and electrical lines, so if there is the threat of a thunderstorm, unplug electrical items, phones and computers (internet connections).
  • If possible, roll up carpets and move them upstairs.
  • Move your furniture upstairs. If some pieces are too heavy to carry (for instance, fridge/freezers or tables), try to raise them on bricks, heavy wood or blocks.
  • Make sure that you keep pets indoors, as they could be harmed by rising water levels, which could contain sewage.
    Put your temporary flood protection measures in place, for example put sandbags down, airbrick covers on and place floorboards over windows and doors.
  • Check the latest flood developments by calling England and Wales Environment Agency's floodline on 0845 988 1188, alternatively, go online at www.environment-agency.gov.uk . For Scotland contact the Scottish Environment Protection Agency at www.SEPA.org.uk and for Northern Ireland contact www.riversagencyni.gov.uk (links of third party sites open in a new window).

In the event of storm/flood damage occurring at your home:

LV= will do everything they can to help you as quickly as is practically possible, should you or your home suffer the effects of flooding. Where possible, we'll try and contact you if you are in a known affected flood area however, should you need to make a claim, please contact us as soon as you can on 0845 640 5630, lines are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Assessing the damage

If your home is badly damaged by flooding, we are likely to commission a loss adjuster to contact you to assess the damage in detail, arrange alternative accommodation (our buildings and contents policies provide up to £25,000 of cover) and plan the restoration process. In normal conditions, your loss adjuster will get in contact within 24 hours of you contacting us, however, after a major flood, this may take longer both due to the volume of claims and difficulties accessing areas affected by flooding. Nevertheless, you should hear from your loss adjuster within 2 days of contacting us.

Once the loss adjuster has completed their initial assessment, they should be able to provide you with an approximate timetable outlining what needs to be done to restore your home, who will do it and how long it will take.

Cleaning up

As your insurer, LV= will organise the cleaning and stripping out of your home. If necessary we may employ a specialist cleaning firm to do this, often known as a disaster restoration firm. The first step to restoring your home is to remove any silt and other debris left by the floods, to clean affected areas, and to check the gas and electricity supplies and appliances. This will be followed by ‘Stripping out' your home where necessary- this is likely to include removing damaged and wet furnishing and fittings as well as damaged plaster or woodwork.

After cleaning and stripping out your home, the next stage is to disinfect affected areas. Drying homes can take some time – months in the event of a serious flood. The disinfecting and drying process must be completed before repair work begins because otherwise the repair work will not be sustainable and the damage may reappear in the future.

Repairs

LV= are likely to appoint a building contractor to undertake the repairs and reconstruction work. We will only employ builders that meet our criteria and are competent to do the work. Any repair work is guaranteed, giving you peace of mind should any issues arise in the future.

The repair and reconstruction work should commence shortly after your home has been issued with a certificate confirming that it is fully dried out. Once your home is dry, work can begin to restore and repair your home, including re-plastering and fitting a new kitchen where necessary.

Getting you back in your home

LV= will discuss with you when it is safe for you to move back into your home following any flood damage.

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