Flooding of your property - 'Flood Resistance'
The unwelcome flooding of your home is one of the most disturbing events that anyone can experience. Unfortunately, due to the recent spate of adverse weather conditions in the UK (and globally), flooding of properties is happening more often.
Taking measures to strengthen 'flood resistance' means taking active, robust action to prevent water from entering your property, in the first instance. Awareness of the possibility of a potential flood is the key to prevention, and any flood resistance action depends on you being at home.
In the 2015/2016 winter, approximately 15,000 homes and businesses experienced unwelcome flooding, and many of these incidents comprised serious flooding events. It is predicted that a number of major storms will take place in the UK this winter, so it is likely that home-owners will need to brace themselves for heavy rain. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors predicts that a significant number of commercial properties will endure the disruption of flooding. As a large number of homes (and businesses) are at risk of heavy rainfall, and potential flooding, it is a wise precaution to take prompt steps to minimise the possibility of your property being flooded.
If your property is close to a flood area, there are many precautions which you can take to reduce the possibility of flooding (and to prevent the traumatic impact this will have upon your family).
We list below a number of “Flood Resistance” measures:
- It is a good idea to conduct a careful risk assessment of the most vulnerable areas of your home (or business) in regard to potential flooding.
- Aim to receive flood warnings, in advance, by signing up for the alerts from the Environmental Agency (the Scottish Environment Protection Agency or the National Resources Wales).
- Install 'non-return' valves on drains, as well as on inlet and outlet pipes; the valves further protect the drainage system from water ingress and allow the system to be more flood resistant.
- Organise for water sensors to be installed.
- Buy portable flood barriers (e.g. sandbags) which can be placed carefully around the most vulnerable areas, especially doors and windows. Sandbags will help to reduce the water damage by directing the flow of water, mud and other debris away from your home. (If you are in a flood risk area, your local council may be able to provide you with sandbags to protect your property). Alternatively, sandbags may be purchased in hardware shops.
- Check the drains and guttering surrounding your home for any fallen leaves or debris that can block the drainage route and increase the risk of flooding; see our "preparing for autumn" blog here (if concerned, please contact a professional). By ensuring these pathways are clear, you can and will help to prevent the possibility of any flooding.
- It is worthwhile to place covers over air/ventilation bricks. These covers will prevent flood water from entering your property as the threat of 'open' air bricks can be overlooked, and may potentially let thousands of litres of water into your home, causing huge problems.
- Compile a detailed contingency 'flood plan' so that key 'flood emergency' actions take place in the event of a flood, including how to shut off your building’s gas, electricity and water. This contingency plan should include a checklist of actions to ensure personal safety, as well as to minimise flood damage to the home.
Your Household Insurance:
If your home has been affected by a flood, you must contact your Insurer, as soon as possible. It is useful to make a list of all the damaged items, as well as the general damage within your home, taking photographs and/or videos so that you have an accurate record of the damage to your home caused by flood. It is important to include as much information as possible for your Insurer to review. If you are a tenant, rather than the home-owner (i.e. you are renting the property), you must contact your Landlord as soon as possible, after the flood, and also contact the Insurer of your home's contents. Once the claim has been reported, your Insurer will send a Loss Adjuster to your property to examine the damage caused by the flood. This information will then be processed in terms of evaluating your claim, including the cost of the repairs to your property which are deemed necessary.
Those who live in a high flood risk area may have difficulty finding insurance cover that is affordable, or even insurers that will be able to offer cover. Flood RE is a re-insurance scheme that enables properties that fall in flood risk areas to have affordable insurance. The scheme offers reassurance that even those with a flood claim, insurance with sufficient cover is attainable.
For more information on what you are covered for in the event of a flood, please contact us on 0208 332 6535.