Insurance Guide to adverse weather

Dealing with the impact of floods and storms

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23 December 2016

Preparing for floods

  • Ensure that any personal items and light furniture are moved upstairs or to higher ground.
  • Know how to turn your water, gas and electricity off.
  • Make a list of your possessions. Note what they are, their make and model, and take photographs if you can. This will speed up the claims process.
  • Ensure you have the right contents insurance to avoid the risk of being under-insured. Visit each room and do a thorough inventory. Think about how much it would cost to replace the items rather than the price you originally paid for it. For example, a vintage watch may now be worth five times the value that you paid for it several years ago, or gold jewellery may have risen in value because of increases in the price of metal. Consider if a professional valuation is needed.
  • Create an emergency plan for your property and your family – if there is a flood, what do you need to do and who do you need to contact?
  • Prepare a ‘flood pack’ to include a torch, first aid kit, warm clothes, blankets and water and make sure your mobile phone is fully charged.
  • Make sure your insurance documents and any other important contact details are in a safe dry place.
  • Subscribe to the Floodline direct warnings service provided by Environment Agency (EA) and Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). You can sign up to receive free advance flood warning messages direct to your landline or mobile phone, which will alert you when a flood warning message has been issued for your local area.

What to do in the event of flooding

  • Turn off essential supplies – gas, electricity and water – at the mains.
  • Move property from lower floors to higher levels but do not risk hurting yourself.
  • Move your car to a sheltered area if you can do so safely. Don’t start the engine if your car is or has been flooded before it has been checked by a professional.
  • We hope that any impact of potential storms will be minimal, however in the unfortunate event that you are affected in any way, please contact our claims team or your account manager as soon as possible. Contact details are at the foot of this guide.

Preparing for a storm

As the sayings go, “it is better to fix the roof whilst the sun still shine” and “prevention is always better than cure”. Do all that you can in advance to identify and fix problems such as loose roof tiles.

Check fences and clear gutters, drains and ditches. This will help to minimise the risk of flying debris and allows water to drain away effectively to avoid flooding and water damage.

Put outdoor items away or secure them. The main danger in a storm tends to be flying debris, so it is very important to put everything – from children’s toys to barbeques – away.

 

What to do in the event of storm damage

  • Keep safe and remain clear of areas of loose roof coverings or damaged walls.
  • Carry out any temporary repairs to prevent further damage but don’t put yourself at risk and ensure you keep any receipts or invoices for work carried out. Ask your tradesperson for an estimate for full repairs and forward to our claims team who will obtain authority to go ahead from insurers. Please do not proceed with full repairs unless you have been advised by us or your insurer to do so.
  • Make a list of any items damaged and take photos of the damage wherever possible.
  • Only if it is entirely safe to do so, salvage your belongings to prevent further damage.

Strong winds can also make driving more challenging. Here are some tips on how to stay safe behind the wheel:

  • Be especially aware when emerging from buildings, crossing bridges or on coastal roads as gusts of winds can be particularly strong.
  • Expect the unexpected – keep your speed down and a firm grip on the steering wheel, with both hands.
  • Remember that all other vehicles could be affected so pay attention to other road users and be particularly cautious of high sided vehicles.
  • If you see debris such as twigs and branches in the road, this is a good indicator that there could be larger debris just around the corner, so keep a keen eye on the road ahead and slow down where you can’t see what’s coming
  • After driving through water, drive slowly with your foot on the brake pedal as this will help to dry the brakes.

 

How to contact us

We hope that any impact of potential storms will be minimal, however in the unfortunate event that you are affected in any way, we are here to help.

During office hours please contact Julie.abbott@rkharrison.com or regina.VanDerLeeuw@rkharrison.com.

Out of office hours, please contact emergency@rkharrison.com.