What should I do if my home is flooded?

What should I do if my home is flooded

There's often no stopping floods and they can cause extensive damage to a property.

However, there are steps you can take to prevent the amount of destruction that excessive rainwater inflicts on your home and it's vital that you take out a home insurance policy in case your property is affected. Don't forget to check your current home insurance policy to see if your home is covered for flood damage.

To get some tips on how to stay safe should your home be flooded and find out how to deal with any damage, read on.

Preparing for floods

  • If your area is given a flood warning, it's time to start making preparations.
  • Block gaps in doorways and low windows with sandbags and move any precious items - such as insurance documents, treasured certificates and family photographs - upstairs.
  • Placing them inside plastic wallets is another way to stop them from getting too badly damaged.
  • If you live in an area that is flooded regularly, think about moving plug sockets and wires higher up on lower floors to minimise damage.

Contact your home insurance provider

While making preparations, it's important to ensure that you contact your Home buildings and contents insurance broker. They will be able to assist you in making a claim, details that you need to record and the next steps to take.

Stay safe

Once the dreaded water arrives in your property, you need to be careful to keep yourself, your family and pets safe.

  • Don't allow pets downstairs or see if another household will look after them until your house can be made safe and hygienic again.
  • Be especially careful around gas and electricity and wear protective clothing if you can. Gloves, wellington boots and waterproof items are all a good idea to have handy if you think you might be at risk of flooding.
  • If you've got any cuts or sores, keep them well covered at all times to stop them getting infected.
  • Keep your eye on young children and make sure they wash their hands thoroughly with warm soapy water after being near floodwater.
  • Ensure nobody accidentally drinks any floodwater either, as it is full of nasty bacteria that can cause infections and lead to fevers and diarrhoea. If some floodwater does get swallowed, seek medical advice immediately.

After the storm

When water levels have decreased and your property is safe to inhabit once again, it's time to get stuck into the big clean-up.
Start by giving clothes and soft furnishings a thorough wash to destroy any lingering bacteria.

You may need to use a generator to dry out your home, but never use one powered by petrol or diesel as their fumes contain carbon monoxide, which can be fatal when inhaled.

Remember to be extra careful around electrical sockets and if you're unsure about reconnecting your supply, call in a specialist to ease your mind and make sure the job is done properly.

If your belongings have been badly damaged, as long as you've got home insurance you should be able to claim some money to help you towards replacing them.

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