June 2012 saw some of the wettest weather since records began. Britain was battered by storms which destroyed many homes and businesses, caused immense disruption to transport services and sadly even claimed the life of one man when his car was swept away by floodwater and landslides.
No matter what the time of year, it is essential to make sure that your home has as much protection as possible from flooding. Disasters such as these can be devastating but there are a few simple things you can do to minimise the distress that flooding can cause. Your first step is to compare house insurance policies to ensure that you are protected should the worst happen.
However, no matter how good your insurance cover is there are some things that are irreplaceable. You should be prepared to protect yourself against the increasing number of floods that are hitting the UK.
Why You Need to Take Action
The risk of flooding is on the increase in the UK. This is largely due to the effects of climate change and is made worse by the particular topography of Britain, with its many rivers and coastal areas.
According to the Royal Institute of British Architects, around 1.5% of the country is at risk of direct flooding from the sea and as much as 7% will suffer river flooding every 100 years. Around £200 billion worth of private homes and commercial properties are at risk of coastal and river flooding across the UK and this problem is exacerbated by the increasing number of developments situated on flood plains.
When you look at these figures, it is easy to see why protecting your assets against the risk of flooding is absolutely essential. Austerity measures have also seen a reduction in investment in flood defences over recent years.
How to Protect Your Home
The first thing you can do to protect your home from flooding is to keep an eye on the weather forecast. Most instances of severe weather are easily predicted by the Met Office, so if there are severe weather warnings for your area make sure you are prepared.
Ensure that your insurance policy documents are in a safe place and are easy to find. It’s best to keep them upstairs in a protective container so that they are not damaged by flood water. You will need them if you have to make a claim.
If the area that you live in is prone to flooding, make sure that you do have a ready supply of sand bags available. During times of severe weather the council cannot be relied upon to keep your home safe. It is the responsibility of the home owner to do everything possible to protect a property.
If flooding seems likely you can protect your possessions by moving them to a safe place. Take as many of your rugs and soft furnishings as possible upstairs and hook long curtains over the curtain rails. Unplug any electrical equipment and move it upstairs too – this will reduce the risk of an electrical fire.
Some things such as photographs and diaries are completely irreplaceable. Wrap them up in waterproof bags and store them as high up as possible. No matter how good your insurance policy is, you will never get those things back.
In severe cases of flooding, evacuation might be the only option in order for you and your family to remain safe. While it is not a pleasant thing to think about, you can make things easier by packing an emergency flood kit in advance. This should contain any medication you need to take, your identity documents and a change of clothes. Pack wisely and make sure you have got all the essentials you need if you are forced to leave your home.
These tips could save you a lot of heartache should you be affected by severe flooding. You only have to look at the devastation that was caused over the summer of 2012 to see just how easily you could be affected by a severe storm or flash flooding.
Protecting yourself and your home will not only help to save your treasured possessions, but it will also reduce the amount of any home insurance claim you may have to make. With so many indicators pointing to the fact that this kind of severe weather is on the rise, it certainly pays to be prepared.