Properties with a history of flooding can be difficult to insure and sell. So, how do you protect your home from flooding?
Taking the practical and easy-to-follow steps outlined in this article will help.
Table of Contents
Evaluate the flood risk For your home
To protect your property from floods, it is important to take a flood insurance policy. You should assess the likelihood of experiencing floods in your area. To do this, use the long-term flood risk map to identify your area’s level of exposure to floods.
Check the local council’s website to see what flood barriers have been put in place.
Types of improvements
The changes you could make to reduce or prevent flood damage include:
- Providing permeable paving surfaces on driveways and pathways.
- Replacing the bottom two steps of your staircase with concrete.
- Creating an easy-access store for flood barriers and blocks.
- Fitting stainless steel, plastic, or solid wood kitchens or installing free-standing kitchen units that can be moved.
- Installing a sump/pump to remove water and fitting non-return valves to all drains and water inlet pipes, which only let water flow one way.
- Placing your fridge and other white goods on raised plinths.
- Installing lightweight doors with rising butt hinges.
- Using ceramic tiles on the ground floor with waterproof adhesive and using rugs instead of fitted carpets.
- Placing valuable and sentimental items on high shelves and keeping documents upstairs with wall-mounted TVs.
- Raising the height of electrical sockets to at least 1.5m above ground floor level.
- Installing service vent covers/seals and automatic airbricks in place of existing vents.
- Moving vehicles to high ground as soon as possible.
- Moving the boiler to an upper floor (or wall-mounted on the ground floor).
- Separating electrical circuits for upper and lower floors.
- Installing closed-cell type insulation in cavities and using lime plaster instead of gypsum plaster on walls.
- Installing a flood-resistant front door and replacing wooden window frames and doors with man-made ones like UPVC – they are easier to clean.
Cost towards improvements
The Homeowner Flood Protection Grant covers 90% of the survey and installation costs up to a maximum of £9,000. The homeowner pays the remaining 10% plus any additional cost above £10,000.
The amount the homeowner might pay for the overall costs can range between £350 and £750, depending on the size and type of the property.
What are the best measures for keeping groundwater out?
If your neighbourhood is not on the Environment Agency’s “at risk of flooding” map, you could still be at risk of surface water or groundwater flooding.
In recent years, many city homes have experienced their first floods when drains were overwhelmed by heavy rainfall and water runoff, forcing water through front doors and garages.
Here are some commonly asked questions and answers to help keep groundwater out of your property:
- Should I use a pump? Yes, a pump is the most effective way of dealing with groundwater. It will cost anywhere from £50-2,500, but you should make sure the inlet is installed lower than the water you are pumping.
- What if the flood level outside is higher than the water inside? Don’t pump! You could increase the water pressure outside and cause damage to your home.
- Should I use an electric or petrol/diesel pump? Electric pumps are quieter and easier to power since you need to plug them in. However, be careful when using electricity near flood water. You might also need a generator if flooding has caused a power cut.
- Can I floodproof my basement? Yes, tanking is a popular way to flood-proof basements. It can be expensive (at least £10-20k) and complicated.
Does my insurance cover flooding?
If there’s a flash flood, the answer is yes. However, some insurers may be unwilling to cover homes in areas prone to flooding. Others may cover you, but they may set higher premiums for your home insurance payments.
This is due to the Flood Re scheme, which all UK home insurers must contribute to so that those affected by floods can be compensated. To be eligible for this scheme, your home must have been built before 2009 and be in council bands A to H.
If you’re renewing or taking out home content/building insurance, the best thing to do is speak to an insurance broker. They can help you get the right level of cover for you.
Homeowner Flood Protection Grant
If you live in an area prone to flooding or if your home has been flooded before, you may be eligible for the Homeowner Flood Protection Grant. This grant offers financial assistance to help homeowners make changes to their properties to make them more resilient to flooding.
With the grant, homeowners can install physical barriers and equipment, such as door barriers, air brick covers, non-return drainage outlets, and waterproof walls, to reduce the effect of flooding on their homes.
How to clean up after a flood
- After a flood, it’s important to contact your insurance company first. They can advise you on what to do, including whether you’re eligible to make a claim.
- Your insurer can provide you with a flood remediation expert to inspect your home. Make sure to read your policy document to understand what cover you have. This could include replacing damaged items or helping with the clean-up process.
- Get the name of the person handling your claim and ask how long you’ll have to wait for a loss adjuster to survey the damage. It may take some time if there’s extensive flooding in your area.
- Keep a record of all conversations with your insurer and the details of what happened to your belongings. Do the same with any proof of damage.
- If you don’t have insurance, contact your local council to see if you qualify for a hardship grant.
- The government has advice on clearing up after a flood.
If you’d like some more advice on protecting your property from flooding, contact your local water company. They often have dedicated sections on their website that provide information on what you can do to prevent flooding.
Alternatively, you can bring in a specialist flood defence company to assess your property and advise you on the best action plan.
If it looks like a flood is about to occur, move as much furniture to the upper floors as you can, and make sure to use any flood defences, like sandbags or barriers, that you have.
If your property does flood, remember to take photos of the damage once it’s safe to do so. You should also contact your insurance provider as soon as you can.
It’s a good idea to start removing any furniture or flooring that has been damaged as soon as possible, as the faster you can dry out your property, the better.
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