As the UK climate changes so must our preparation for flood events

The UK climate is changing and bringing more extreme weather events to our shores, including flooding.

Whilst having the right home insurance in place can help with the financial cost, the emotional impact is more difficult overcome.

However, you can give yourself some control over the risk of flood by investing in some flood protection for your home.

Resistance and Resilience

There are two categories that flood protection falls into and ideally buildings should be fitted with both. Flood Resistance helps prevent water getting into buildings. Examples include:

  • Removable Barriers on doors and windows
  • Temporary Seals for doors and air bricks
  • One-way valves on toilets and drainage pipes to decrease the risk of sewage backing up into a building during a flood
  • Pump and sump systems which drain water from below floor level faster than it rises.

Flood Resilience ensures minimal damage is done if water does get in. Examples include:

  • Using ceramic or stone tiles instead of laminate or wood flooring
  • Raising electrical sockets to above 1.5m
  • Fitting stainless steel or solid wood kitchens instead of chipboard
  • Replacing wooden window frames with UPVC.

Useful tips

  • Special waterproof bags can be used to protect possessions from flood water. These can be large enough to take furniture or even your car. Failing that you could use waterproof plastic bags and elastic bands to cover chair and table legs which will help resist low level flooding
  • Place items that are likely to be easily damaged higher up in a room, or keep them upstairs. If you are able to, keep some spare bricks, blocks or wooden pallets handy to stand items on to keep them off the floor. Make sure you consider your own safety before trying to move any objects and avoid trying to lift very heavy items
  • It is also possible to get water sensors installed which detect rising water and would allow an early warning for you to get to your property and deploy your defences. Consider signing up to the Environment Agency’s Floodline warnings service.

What if the flood is deeper than 1 metre? 

If the flood water on the outside of your property becomes deeper than 1m, it is recommended that the water is allowed to come into your home as this depth of water can create sufficient pressure on your outer walls, causing them to move and collapse and resulting in serious structural damage. At this point, or if water has already found its way in, flood resilience measures will come into effect.

Helping you to protect your home

To help protect customers who have been flooded from the consequences of it happening again, we include Flood Resilience cover as standard with Buildings Insurance as part of our Home Insurance. This gives flooded home owners the option to repair their flood-damaged homes with flood resilient materials without having to fund all the extra cost themselves.

If the cost of repair exceeds £10,000 using traditional materials, we can offer up to an additional £5,000 to make resilient repairs.

Repair options can include, but are not restricted to:

  • the use of water resistant floor and wall materials
  • resilient kitchen materials
  • the raising of electrical wiring circuits and plugs
  • one-way water valves to prevent flooding from the waste water system
  • modified airbricks.