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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Preparing for a Possible Flood

As most of us do not live in any form of "mobile" home, avoiding a flood caused by the weather, may not be a viable option, so it is best to be prepared, but what do you do?

Firstly, there are a few things you need to do even before any flood is expected. Check to see how much at risk of flooding your property is, and if deemed necessary, sign up for flood warnings. You can do this at the environment agency website which will give out warnings via text, email or even telephone, and also has a page where you can assess your particular property's risk by entering your postal code.
Your buildings insurer may also be able to help with this, because they check your postcode for flood risk as a matter of course when they insure you. Talking of which, you should check a few things with them too, such as:
  • Are your belongings covered on a replacement as new basis?
  • Are there any exclusions or stipulations that may apply to flooding?
  • If you live within 200m of a watercourse, make sure your insurance company knows this, as it could affect any claim if they don't.
  • What your excess will be for a flood claim (sometimes it can be quite high)
If you live in an area prone to flooding a lot of insurers may turn you down, but there are some who will still cover you albeit with a higher excess.
Learn how to turn off your mains services, such as the gas, electricity supply, and the water! Also, show other adults resident in the house how to do this as well.
Protect your valuables and important documents. By this I mean irreplaceable objects of sentimental value, such as photo albums, treasured possessions etc. and paperwork, such as your insurance details - these will often have relevant telephone numbers on them, such as a claims line. It is good practice to keep a record of other useful phone numbers with these as well, for example, the number for your local water utility company and your local authority. If you keep these high up, or even upstairs, you will be able to find and use them should the need arise. If you are expecting a flood imminently, you should also consider what other items to move upstairs, this should include electrical items, to avoid damage to them, and to you.
Prepare an emergency kit. This should comprise items such as:
  • torch and candles
  • radio
  • blankets and spare old clothing for warmth
  • a first aid kit
  • a food kit (preferably pre-cooked, tinned, or dried)
  • numbers for nearby B&B's or alternative accommodation
The last item may be needed if you are going to be away from your property for some time.
Lastly, you need to think about limiting the potential damage to the property. There are various products on the market that you can buy from DIY stores which can delay or keep floodwater out, such as non return valves for drains, plastic covers for airbricks and sandbags. Also, certain items tend to have an affinity for water. Carpets, for example, can hold a lot of liquid and can greatly lengthen the drying out process afterwards, so removing these (even after the event), will cut down on time and costs later.
Further information on flooding and how to cope with it is available at the Environment Agency's website:
M Withers is Commercial Business & Web Marketing Manager at Coversure, an insurance broker specialising in Vehicle, Business & Property Insurance Quotes

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