Protecting your property in the event of a flood
Late December 2015 much of North Lancashire and Cumbria battled through what seemed like weeks of torrential rain which caused devastating floods. Many homes and businesses are only now beginning to dry out and start the long process of repair.
Last year’s flooding was perhaps particularly shocking because it was so extreme. Flood levels reached heights not seen for generations and many property owners were taken completely by surprise by the oncoming water. There are, of course, no guarantees of when or if this could happen again. If you live in an area affected by flooding, or your property felt uncomfortably close we’ve put together a guide full of simple, cost effective ways to avoid flood damage and its financial toll.
The vast majority of properties should already be well insured as it’s a condition of most mortgages that properties are covered by both buildings and contents insurance. Check your policy for clauses relating to flood damage and know what you are covered for. Ensure you are familiar with the instructions given by your insurers following a flood (such as taking photographs or leaving contents in the property) as failure comply with your insurers conditions could invalidate your policy.
The government have a number of schemes in place to ensure that even property owners in known flood areas will be able to find property insurance with premiums capped at a reasonable rate.
Sandbags are low tech, surprisingly effective and cheap. If you know your property is vulnerable to flooding aim to keep a store of sandbags. They can be purchased from most builders supply retailers. During times of expected floods the price of even the simplest flood prevention methods increase as supplies become scarcer.
Change your airbricks
All properties have airbricks built into the lower levels of a property to aid ventilation. During times of flood these can allow water to gain access to a property at an alarming rate. Traditional air bricks can now easily be replaced by flood resistant airbricks or air brick covers. These allow air to circulate in the wall cavity but prevent water from entering a building. Simple air brick covers can be purchased for less than £20.
Large sealable bags
Packing supply companies sell large sealable plastic bags for furniture from as little as a few pounds. Whilst they are not completely waterproof, they will go some way to resisting water damage to furniture and large electrical items that can’t be moved in a hurry.
Ground floor toilets can allow quick access for floodwater as well as a backflow of waste water. This can largely be prevented by the use of a simple seal. These can be purchased from high street retailers and typically cost around £35.
In the Event of a flood
Take moveable items to the upper levels of your property, starting with your most previous and irreplaceable belongings.
Tie curtains and blinds as high as possible on curtain rails – or remove to a higher level.
Put furniture and large electrical items in sealable bags.
Seal ground floor toilets and put plugs in sinks and baths.
Switch off water, gas and electricity at the mains and unplug electrical items.
If you can, leave the property and ensure it is secured. If not, take an emergency kit with torches, mobile phone, blankets etc. to the upstairs room of your property.
Hopefully these tips will help you to keep your property safe, should we be faced with further flooding. If you have any flood damage prevention tips, we havent mentioned, please leave them in the comments.
For more advice on how to keep your property secure see our other articles:
Protecting your income - how important is it? - here
Going on holiday this summer? Make sure you protect your home before you go - here
How to make your property as safe as houses - here