It's not just the winter months that bring heavy rain, strong winds and flooding to the UK. Here's how you can prepare.
- Read our checklist of things to do to prepare for flooding and bad weather
- Know how much home insurance cover you have and how your insurer can help
- What to do if you need to move out of your home after a flood
What can I do to prepare for storms and bad weather?
- Create a list of emergency contact numbers in case you're affected by flooding or storms. Include any home emergency helplines offered by your insurer, local authorities and utility companies. It’s a good idea to save all the numbers you need on your mobile phone – make sure it’s always fully charged in case of an emergency
- Keep an eye on weather forecasts and warnings for your area. The Met Office has a colour code to help you prepare for severe weather: Green = no severe weather, Yellow = be aware, Amber = be prepared, Red = take action
- Make some practical preparations around the home. Know where your fuse box is and clear drains and gutters of any leaves to help water drain away properly
- Move your car away from areas likely or prone to flooding - park at the top of a slope or hill if you can
- If you can, move important possessions upstairs and keep valuables locked safely away in a waterproof container that can be moved easily
- Secure anything in your garden that could damage your home in a storm, like loose ladders or garden furniture
- Put up flood defences before bad weather arrives; you can find sandbag-like products to block your home’s doors and entrances
- Lastly, have a copy of your home insurance policy documents and your policy number to hand. It will be useful if you do have to call to make a claim
What can I do to prepare for high winds?
Flood and water damage isn’t the only thing to watch out for. It’s also important to protect yourself against high winds. Here are some things you can do:
- Check your roof tiling is secure; get a professional roofer to inspect your roof. Damaged, missing or loose tiles can cause serious damage in high winds
- Check fence panels and fix or replace them if necessary. Fence panels can fly off in extreme winds and cause damage to your home and potentially your neighbour’s property
- Make sure your windows are all securely shut. High winds can blow them open and cause damage to the inside of the house.
- Secure any loose objects in your garden or outside the house, for example rubbish bins. Wind can play havoc with your garden furniture, ornaments and bins, so move them into a safe place (e.g. a shed) if you can.
- Move cars into your garage; this will minimise the damage caused in the event of extreme winds or flooding
- Cut back tree branches; overgrown branches and trees are more likely to come down and cause damage in heavy winds.
What to do if your home has been affected
It’s important to let your insurer know as soon as possible if you need to make a claim. Refer to your policy documents to see what you need to do if you need to claim.
If the flooding is serious and you need help straight away, your policy might include a 24-hour emergency service. Normally, this service provides access to approved tradespeople who can make damage limitation repairs to your property.
I’ve phoned to make a claim - should I go ahead and arrange for repair work to be done myself?
If you have home emergency help as part of your policy, there shouldn’t be a need for you to organise your own repair work to stop any further damage from occurring. Call your insurer and they’ll let you know if you need to take any action.
If you do need to organise temporary repairs, keep detailed records of all the work carried out, as well as any costs and paperwork. This will help your insurer pay your claim quickly.