Let’s be honest: a flood in your home probably isn’t something you want to think too much about. But floods do happen – and in recent years, they’ve become a frequent occurrence across the UK.
If you live in an at-risk area, you’ll want to be prepared just in case. On this page we’ll help you find out what to do should the worst happen; what you need to know about flood insurance; how to get the flood protection you need – and how you could save money while doing so.
Are you covered?
Some sort of flood risk insurance will be included in most house insurance policies. But the level of coverage can vary considerably, so be sure to check your policy and don't get caught out.
If you’re a homeowner, you’ll want to check the level of cover in your building and contents insurance. If you’re renting a property, you’ll need to make sure your personal belongings are covered against flooding through your home contents insurance. It’s generally down to your landlord to take care of building insurance.
Are you at risk of flooding?
You may be one of the estimated 350,000 homes in the UK located in flood-risk areas if you live near a river, the sea, a reservoir or any surface water. To find out if your home is in an area that’s prone to flooding, go to the Environment Agency website.
For anyone living in a flood-prone area, house insurance with flood protection becomes all the more important. To help, the government, along with insurance companies, are introducing a scheme called Flood Re. The initiative is due to launch in spring 2016, and will limit flood insurance costs, ensuring that homeowners in flood-risk areas can get affordable insurance.
Flood Re will cap the price of the flooding element of household insurance. The upper limit will vary between households, depending on your council tax band. To find out more, visit the Flood Re website.
Flood premiums may become more competitive once Flood Re comes into force. So you’ll want to spend time doing your research and shopping around to get the best home insurance quotes.
What precautions can I take if I’m at risk of flooding?
So you’ve found out that you live in a flood-prone part of the country. But do you know how to limit the damage to your property if a flood hits? There are several precautions you could take:
- Think about your electrics – raise your sockets to a minimum of 1.5 metres above the floor, and mount televisions against the wall to at least the same height.
- Choose your flooring carefully – use rugs instead of carpets, as these can be easily removed if a flood looks likely to happen.
- Use robust materials – for example, stainless steel or plastic fittings in the kitchen instead of chipboard.
- Protect your valuables – keep precious items upstairs.
What should I do if my home’s been flooded?
Finding out now what you need to do in case of a flood will help you prepare for the worst should your home flood. Here are some tips for dealing with the fallout:
Stay clean. Flood water is dirty, and carries the risk of infection. So if you’re having to remove it, wear rubber gloves and boots, and always wash your hands immediately afterwards.
Don’t switch on. If water has got into your home, it’ll probably have affected the electric circuits. So don’t attempt to turn the power back on yourself. Call a qualified electrician, who’ll know how to do it safely for you.
Reach out. Report the flood to your insurance provider immediately – for two important reasons. Firstly, so that you can claim on your house insurance. And secondly, because depending on your policy, your insurer may provide temporary accommodation until your home is repaired. If you’re renting, you should also contact your landlord or letting agent as soon as any flooding occurs.
Make a claim. Take photos of the damage, and don’t remove anything affected until you’ve made your claim. What you can claim for will depend on your policy. Buildings insurance typically covers the costs of drying everything out, removing debris, repairing and restoring your property and its fixtures and fittings, as well any professional fees. Contents insurance generally covers the cost of repairing or replacing damaged furniture, equipment and other personal belongings.
For more information, read our simples guide on protecting your home from flooding.
How can I keep insurance costs down?
We’ve already covered some of the measures you can take to help reduce the cost of flood insurance. The other thing to do is shop around. You can compare home insurance at comparethemarket.com.
Hit the button, select the options that suit your needs, and we’ll list out your cheapest home insurance quotes, all in one place. See how much you could save on covering your home against flood today with comparethemarket.com.