There are many ways water can cause serious damage to your home and belongings. Being aware of the risk by doing your research first means you are prepared for the worst, but even the best-laid plans can’t always remove the risk altogether. Climate change means that properties may flood, even if they have never flooded before. Here we run through the risks of flooding and how best to tackle the aftermath. And whatever the cause of the flood, it’s likely you’ll need to contact your insurer if any of your property is damaged.
Assess the risk
Outside Increased demand for land for housing has meant some properties being constructed on flood plains. This, combined with more extreme weather, has seen an increase in properties being flooded. Low-lying properties can be more likely to flood, but homes on higher ground aren’t exempt from risk. In a prolonged and heavy downpour of rain, surrounding areas can become saturated causing drains and sewers to block. Houses that are surrounded by lots of hard surfaces – such as front gardens paved over for parking – can also be vulnerable. Websites such as Flooding.ie and www.floodinfo.ie offer great advice and have interactive maps for you to assess the risk in your area.
Inside The convenience of water on tap and heating at the touch of a button is not without it’s drawbacks. Cold weather can cause pipes to freeze then fracture, or properties that are empty for a spell of time can have overflow issues. Be sure you (and all the people you live with) know where your stopcock is and switch it off if you suspect a pipe has ruptured, then call in a plumber.
What to do if the worst happens
If floods are predicted, invest in sandbags to stack against doorways and around the perimeter of your home (it’s unlikely your local council will provide these). Move any valuable or sentimental items away from basements or the ground floor – take them upstairs if you can. Take any emergency action to protect your property from further damage if it’s safe to do so.
Tips for the big clean up
The first thing to do after a flood is contact your insurer, as they may need to send an assessor round to view the damage before you start the repair process. It’s also a good idea to take photos to document the extent of the damage.
Clearing up after a flood is a messy job. Domestic floods may simply require drying out – set your thermostat to 20-22 degrees to steadily remove the water, and open windows. An external flood is a different matter, as in most cases the sewers empty into the home via drains and WCs. Councils often provide skips for the removal of damaged property – you’ll need gloves, waterproof clothing, a face mask and plenty of disinfectant to tackle this clean up.
3 insurance considerations
- Floods and water damage are covered on most policies but if you are concerned, check the fine print. Homes that have been subject to floods in the past may not be covered or may have higher premiums. If you are purchasing a new property, it’s worth checking the risk of flooding before you buy.
- Ensure home insurance policies include outbuildings including garages and sheds. These often contain valuable pieces of equipment so you’ll want to know these are covered too.
- In a situation such as this where your house insurance needs are not straightforward, there is nothing like having an expert on hand. Using an insurance broker such as Britton Insurance means you’ll get the exact cover you need, at the best possible price. Our brokers have unparalleled experience in finding the right policy for a variety of situations.