With storms brewing across the UK, it’s important to be prepared. Here’s what you need to know if your home is at risk of flooding.
The damage caused by floods and bad weather can be devastating.
With weather warnings across the country, if the worst does happen - will your home insurance cover the costs?
When floods hit, water spreads easily through homes quickly and can cause plenty of damage.
Depending on the level of damage caused, it can be a gruelling and timely process making your home liveable again.
Without adequate insurance in place, people could be leaving themselves seriously out of pocket.
So it’s not worth skimping on home insurance. Without it, you could end up paying out a small fortune to cover the costs of the damage.
Take a look at our guide to flooding and home insurance to find out more.
More homes at risk of flooding
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) believes that house hunters should be aware of properties that are at risk before they buy.
As a result of the bad weather over the last couple of years, more and more homes are being reclassified as being in a flood risk area.
One in six UK homes are now believed to be at risk from flooding.
To find out if your home is in a flood risk area, you can enter your postcode on the Environment Agency's website or the SEPA website, if you you live in Scotland.
If you do live in a flood risk area, your insurer will know this too. The price of your house insurance could increase, depending on the level of risk.
Britain’s 350,000 households most at risk from flooding are potentially facing a huge increase in premiums.
And with the addition of extortionate excesses, some are facing a winter with no cover.
But in April 2016, the Flood Re scheme is being introduced to help offer affordable insurance to those with the highest flood risk.
Shop around to find the best deal available and make sure you have the right level of cover.
Always check that your policy doesn’t count flooding as an act of god, or you might not be covered.
Preparing for bad weather
Here’s a few things you can do to make sure you’re prepared for bad weather:
Keep emergency contact numbers for your insurer, local authority and utilities companies in a waterproof place.
Keep up to date with local weather warnings.
Secure any items that can cause damage in strong winds.
If you’re in a flood risk area, move valuables and essentials upstairs or to a high place.
Move any motor vehicles to a safe place away from flood risk.
Get essentials ready if you should need to evacuate your home.
If it’s safe to do so, turn off the gas, electricity and water supplies.
Protecting your home
If your house is at risk of flooding, there are steps you can take to help minimise flood damage.
Some of the measures will involve some expense, but they could really pay off in the long run.
Fit plastic covers over airbricks or ventilation vents, or use cloths or towels in an emergency. This will help minimise water coming in through airbricks in the walls.
In the event of a flood, use sandbags and floodboards to prevent water coming in through windows and doorways.
To stop water coming in through the drains and pipes, ensure drains are clear of debris.
And check that you have non-return valves fitted which only allow water to flow one way.
What to do if your home is flooded
If you're unfortunate enough to be a victim of flooding, the first step is to contact your insurer.
The GOV.UK website can give you information about who to contact to help pump out any water or to report any issues with your property.
Here's our guide to making a claim on your home insurance if you need more information.