With floods hitting the headlines once again, it’s a good time to remind homeowners of the potential risks to property and how best to protect your home should the waters start lapping at your doorstep.
Is my home in a flood risk area?
The first thing to do is find out if your home lies in a flood risk area.
If you live in England or Wales, the Environment Agency produces flood maps which are viewable online.
Simply enter your postcode and a local map will show how vulnerable you are.
You can then click on a location to see how likely a flood is at a specific location. For Scottish residents, SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency) offers a similar service.
Protect your home if floods strike
Despite extensive media coverage of the damage floods can cause, many households remain without home insurance.
Added to that, the Environment Agency estimates that the annual cost of flood damage in England could rise to £4 billion by 2035 unless funding for defences is increased.
Of course, if you are uninsured, it’s up to you to decide whether it’s wise to remain so if you live in an at-risk floodplain area.
But even though home insurance will cost you a little more, the benefits of such protection will become apparent should your home suffer serious flood damage. Shop around online to see what sort of policies are available.
Sign up to flood alerts by text
If you live in area that's at risk of flooding, The Environment Agency offers a useful warning service.
You simly register online to its Floodline Warnings Direct service, which provides flood warnings by phone, text or email.
SEPA also offers a similar flood alert service to Scottish residents.
Quick tips in the event of a flood
- Listen out for TV/radio weather warnings. Better still, sign up for text alerts.
- Keep home insurance details in a secure, dry place.
- If flood strikes, move as many valuables as possible from downstairs to upstairs.
- Place sandbags outside external doors.
- Floods can also damage your car, so makes sure you have adequate car insurance.
- If the authorities advise you to leave your home, do so – better safe than sorry!
- Switch off gas, water and electricity at the mains (get a qualified engineer to reconnect them afterwards).
For more tips, check out Confused.com’s Guide to Protecting Your Home Against a Flood.