Tips to protect your house from flooding
It may be summer but with some areas of the UK receiving two months’ worth of rainfall in a single day recently, Yorkshire Building Society has offered some tips on what to do to prepare for or respond to flooding to your home.
Preparing your house before expected flooding
- Make sure your home insurance is up to date and your cover is appropriate
- Listen to updates on local radio or television
- Move valuable items upstairs
- Consider moving your car to higher ground
- Have all your relevant insurance documents and numbers for utility suppliers to hand, away from where they could get wet
- Prepare a pack of emergency supplies in case you have to evacuate your property
Emergency supplies you may need if your house floods
- Bottled water
- Any medication you are taking
- Rubber gloves
- Wet wipes or hand cleaning gel
- Spare house and car keys
- Small amount of cash
- A torch
- First aid kit
Sometimes flooding cannot be prevented, no matter how hard you try to stave off the water. But there are some helpful tips to help you get back on track as quickly as possible.
What to do if your house floods
- Contact your insurer straight away - They will be able to advise you on what you need to do, and they will also send a loss adjuster to your home to assess the damage. You will need your policy number when you call, so make sure your documents are kept in a safe place in case you need them urgently.
- Ask your insurer about alternative accommodation - Where your home is uninhabitable your insurer will normally pay for reasonable alternative accommodation for you, your family and often pets too.
- Do not touch the electrics - Even if the area looks dry, it’s best to keep away in order to avoid electrocuting yourself. Always seek professional advice from an electrician to make sure that the electrics are safe to use.
- Open all your windows - Once the flood water has started to recede, open all of your windows during the day if the weather allows you to – the air outside the house will be less moist than the air inside, so it can help to dry out the house. However do not leave your home open whilst unattended.
- Be careful when drying out items - Although you will instinctively want to dry items as quickly as possible, do not expose them to extreme levels of heat as this could result in further damage.
- Leave paperwork to dry naturally - When salvaging photographs/valuable paperwork, remove excess water and keep them tightly together. Leave them to dry away from a source of heat and leave a de-humidifier running in every affected room (your insurer should provide you with a de-humidifier).
- Mind what you touch - Once the flood water has receded, remember it may be contaminated. It could be harmful to you and your family, as flood water can potentially carry viruses such as E. coli or salmonella, so you will need to be extremely careful and make sure that you regularly wash your hands. Leave cleaning to professionals appointed by insurers.
- Clean out food from fridges and freezers as soon as possible - If you have the relevant insurance cover, remember to keep a list of food items for your claim and, if possible, take a photograph.
- Store damaged furniture and fittings in a dry place - They may have a salvage value or could be repairable. Either way they will need to be inspected.
- Remove wet rubber-backed carpets from inside the house - These will have to be replaced regardless, so it’s worth taking them out of the house to allow the rest of the room to dry provided the water is not contaminated. Leave hessian-backed carpets on the floor to dry, as they will shrink if they are lifted. Once they are dry, the carpets can be lifted to dry the areas underneath.
- Allow your home to dry properly - It may take months for a property to dry out properly, and your insurer will be able to advise you on the appropriate amount of time you should wait before redecorating. It is important to check with a decorator or other experts to ensure that the walls and other surfaces are fully dried out before any work is carried out.
Russ Hargreaves, Senior Insurance Manager at Yorkshire Building Society, said:
As we know, Britain’s weather is notoriously unpredictable. In the unfortunate case that something does go wrong, you should get in touch with your insurance provider as soon as possible.
People don’t typically expect to be affected by flooding until after it has happened, but knowing what to do if you are affected can be a tremendous help not only when it comes to limiting the damage, but also for the stress these events tend to cause.
Your insurance provider will be on hand to help and offer advice, but having a plan in place will help you to manage the situation as well as possible.
All information correct at time of publication.