More than ten years have passed since the serious flooding which took place across various parts of the UK.
Since those dramatic scenes in 2007, flooding has been one of the biggest topics in the world of home insurance, with action taken to ensure that homeowners are still able to get cover from their homes even if they live in areas at risk of flood damage.
So how do you check if your home is at risk? And what steps can you take to protect it?
Is my home at risk?
The easiest way to check whether your home is a potential flood risk is by using the flood maps on the Gov.uk website. You just need to enter your door number and postcode.
You can also get the flooding history for a property by contacting the Environment Agency.
What is Flood Re?
Homes that are identified as being at a higher risk of floods may have been difficult to insure in the years following the flooding, and cover that was available was often expensive. Flood Re was launched in order to try to tackle that issue.
Flood Re was set up by the insurance sector along with the government to ensure that people who own properties in areas with a higher risk of flooding are still able to access affordable home insurance.
Essentially Flood Re takes over the risk of offering cover against flood damage from the individual insurers. This has not only meant that homeowners in affected areas have more choice when it comes to arranging insurance, but that cover is also cheaper; according to Flood Re, four out of five householders who have previously made a claim on their home insurance due to a flood have seen their current cover drop in price by 50%.
Steps you can take to protect your home
The priority is to ensure that you and your family are safe if there is a severe flood warning in your area. If it is safe to do so ahead of time, there are some simple things you can do to minimise damage during a flood:
Move valuables upstairs or to a higher place - this can help to keep them away from floodwater if it enters your home.
Move your car - if it is safe to drive, consider moving your car out of the area.
Cover any water entry points - use thick plastic sheeting to cover up any air vents where floodwater could enter your home. Specialist covers are also available.
How to prepare for flood warnings
Campaign body Electrical Safety First suggests that it can be worthwhile to install things like your boiler, switches and electrical sockets at a height where they are unlikely to be affected by any flooding. Similarly, it’s a smart move to place large appliances like electric cookers, fridges and washing machines on raised plinths.
The organisation also suggests ensuring that radiators are readily removable, meaning you can swiftly take them out before they sustain too much damage from any floods.
Installing a flood sensor is a good idea too, according to Anthony Neary, managing director of security retailer Safe.co.uk.
He explained: “Flood sensors are also really useful if you’ve got other compatible wireless security alarm systems installed, as they can be integrated to the same alert system, sending a notification straight to your smart phone if water is detected in the vicinity of the sensor.”
Your choice of flooring is important when it comes to flooding as well. Elaine Toogood, Architectural Advisor to Modern Masonry Alliance, said: “One option is to replace timber floors with concrete ones, as these are proven to be more resilient in a flooding scenario.”
It may also be worth signing up for flood alerts, which are sent by phone, email or text message. These are available in England, Wales and Scotland, and come directly from the Environment Agency.
For more tips on how to prepare for a potential flood, listen to these tips from the Association of British Insurers.