After one of the longest and warmest summers on record, the UK is starting to be hit by winter weather, which often includes floods.
What action can you take if your home has been hit by a flood, and who is there to help?
- What to do if you’ve been hit by a flood
- How your home insurer can help you get back on your feet
- Getting help for the whole family
Having your home flooded can be truly devastating, but there are people who can help, including your home insurance provider. We talked to our LV= home underwriter about what to do if your home gets hit by a flood.
How can you protect your home from flooding?
If you’re in a flood-risk area, the best way to protect your home is to prepare – even if the weather is sunny and dry.
You can find out if there could be a flood in your area using various sources online. Depending on the region you live in, you could try:
- England: the Environment Agency's flood checker
- Scotland: the Scottish Environment Protection Agency
- Wales: the Natural Resources Wales website
There are a few more useful links on the government's information pages, where you can also sign up to receive flood warnings by email.
When there is a flood warning in your area, taking steps such as moving valuables and paperwork higher than floor level will prevent damage. You can read our article on protecting your home from flooding for more ideas. In this article, however, we’ll go into detail on what to do after the flood.
What should you do if your home has been flooded?
First, if it’s safe to do so, turn off the electricity in any affected areas. Next, work out the extent of the damage and call your home insurance company – they’ll probably be able to help.
Next, open the windows in your home in order to reduce humidity – even on the upper floors where damp and condensation can still have an effect.
Once the water has reached a safe level, you can start to tidy up. Move any furniture and carpets away from flood water. Don’t throw anything away, though – your insurer will need everything to hand to understand the impact of the flood.
As well as your home, your garden may need to be cleared of any debris that could have been washed from nearby. However, your garden could also be hazardous, as the ground could be uneven and unsighted underwater, so do be extra careful.
Can your home insurer help if your home has been flooded?
According to the Environmental Agency, 5.2 million homes are at risk of flooding in England, but less than 10% of the homeowners in these buildings think they are at risk. It’s a good idea, then, to check if you are by using the links above.
Home insurance providers are very aware of these flood risks, and so have written their policies in order to better protect their customers. As such, when you are hit by a flood, your home insurer should be one of the first numbers you call.
‘What you are covered for very much depends on who you’re insured with, but with LV= we will do all we can to put you back in the same position that you were prior to the flood,’
So, as long as flooding hasn’t damaged your home beyond repair, and your home insurance is correct and up to date, LV= will help you to repair or replace anything that was damaged by the flood. We’ll even provide dehumidifiers to help dry out your home.
How else can your insurer help?
Depending on your circumstances, your insurer will often help you relocate for a short time if your home can’t be lived in during the repair stage, as well as find companies that can carry out repairs. Sometimes, though, it’s just one room in your home that’s unusable – and there are ingenious solutions that mean you don’t have to move out.
‘If a customer is without a bathroom or kitchen due to a claim, but don’t want to move out of their home while the repairs are being made, LV= can arrange for The Kitchen & Bathroom Company to come and install the temporary facilities you need.’
‘They range from caravan-sized freestanding units, which can be placed in your garden or drive, to pop-up kitchens that are roughly the size of a three-seat sofa!
‘They come with fridge/freezer, oven, hob and, in some cases, a washing machine and dishwasher. They’re fully heated, powered and insulated so you won’t feel like you’re in a draughty caravan in Devon. They’re also fully adaptable for those who are less mobile.’
Looking after the whole family
It’s important for your insurer to know your entire family situation when you’ve been hit by a flood, as they may be able to give you help specific to your circumstances. However, in some cases, it may not be possible to keep the family together.
‘If you need alternative accommodation and we can’t find a place that will allow your pets to stay with you, we will also pay for kennel and cattery costs within your alternative accommodation limit,’
Your accommodation limit is dependent on your home insurance policy, as well as your situation, and will determine the place you are relocated to. For example, with an LV= Home Plus policy, you get a higher accommodation limit.
A flood can come out of nowhere, and it’s almost impossible to be fully prepared. But, thankfully, there are people who can help – not least of all your insurer.
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