A guide to flooding in your home

Flooding has become an all too regular part of people’s lives. If you live in a flood risk area, it’s important to be prepared for the worst and know what to do if you’re affected by flooding.
Check if you’re at risk of flooding

To see if your own home is at risk from flooding or if you’re thinking of buying a house you suspect might be, you can request the Environment Agency’s flood maps for England and Wales.

Scotland and Northern Ireland have similar information on the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture and Rural Development websites.

How to prepare your home for a flood

Being well prepared for the incoming flood is the best way that you can protect yourself, your family, your home and your belongings. 

  • Stock up on sandbags. Your local council may have sandbags you can use.
  • More advanced Hydro Sacks are similar to sandbags but absorb up to 20 litres of water as it protects your property. It can also be squeezed into small openings or tight spaces.
  • You can also buy special flood boards that secure to the base of doors to prevent water from getting through.
  • Alternatively, have a stock of wooden planks to block doors and gaps.
  • Put together a ‘Flood Pack’ and store it in a place which is secure but easily accessible. Things to include:
    - a torch
    - a battery-operated radio (with spare batteries)
    - a first aid kit
    - warm clothes
    - blankets
    - bottles of water.
  • Raise the level of damp-proof brick courses.
  • Make sure plug sockets aren’t too low on the wall and at risk
What should you do if there is a flood?

If water levels rise, they will do so quickly, so you’ll need to be prepared and act quickly to increase the flood defences of your home to limit the damage as much as possible.

  • Listen out for flood warnings on your local TV and radio stations. Check the Environment Agency website or call their 24-hour Floodline information service on 0845 988 1188.
  • Put your insurance documents in a water-tight bag in a safe place, keep MORE THAN’s contact numbers handy and if flood waters reach your home or business, call us straight away.
  • Be prepared to move furniture and valuable items upstairs or to a safe place. Remember to include items like photos and valuable paperwork.
  • Park your car on higher ground.
  • Make sure you’re in touch with the outside world. Keep your mobile phone safe and fully charged and listen to your local TV and radio stations for news.
  • If you receive warnings of imminent flooding, be ready to switch off gas and electricity supplies. If water starts to enter your home, turn off the gas and the electricity at the main fuse board.
What should you do immediately after a flood?

As well as stopping the water, you want to help your home dry out again as quickly as possible, should flooding occur. 

  • Consider keeping a pump in the basement to remove water.
  • Contact your insurer as soon as possible. Take photos of any damage. The insurer will advise you on how to proceed and may involve specialists or tradesmen to dry out the building and carry out repair work to ensure you can get back to normal as quickly as possible.
  • Make sure you speak with your insurer before commencing any repair work, as it is likely they will want to use their approved tradespeople.

Flood insurance

Flood insurance is included under your regular buildings insurance and should cover damage to walls, ceilings, floors or windows.

Personal items or valuables will be covered under your contents insurance but it’s always a good idea to read the small print to double check what will and won’t be covered in the event of a flood. Some more valuable items may require separate insurance policies or even a ‘high risk’ policy.

If required, your insurance policy may cover the costs of drying out and repairing your home, replacing damaged possessions, the fees for professional services (builders, architects, solicitors etc.), and even alternative accommodation if you are unable to live at home, depending on the policy.

Your buildings insurance will take into account how much your property is at risk of being flooded, which, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), will be in one of three categories: low, moderate or significant. Taking steps towards flood prevention might work towards lowering your home’s category.

Find out more about home insurance from MORE THAN.

Flooding help and claims

If you’re affected by flooding and need emergency help, call our helpline on 0800 300 684, open 24 hours a day. 
You can register a home claim online or call us on 0330 100 7783. 

Before you make a claim, please make sure you have your policy schedule and as many details of the damage as possible to hand, as this information will speed up your claim.

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