Floods and Home Insurance

The unseasonable weather we’re experiencing might be a one-off and this time next year we’ll all be basking in glorious sunshine (oh please, oh please…) but for now we are potentially faced with several weeks of torrential rain or, at best, frequent showers.  That pattern is likely to continue into Autumn and Winter.  Yes, it’s all a bit gloomy, so why are we telling you this?

Well, with this much rain comes an increased risk of flooding and the need to double-check the maintenance of your homes to protect them as far as possible from damage caused by all this rain.  If you live in an area that has been declared as being at high risk of flooding then there’ll be a good chance that you’ve already been turned down for home insurance, or perhaps been accepted for a home insurance policy that excludes damage caused by flooding.  If you have a mortgage, perhaps your lender is the only company willing to offer home insurance (if only to protect the mortgage lender’s interest in your property).

But if you’ve never had to claim for flood damage before, or live in an area that isn’t prone to flooding normally, you need to be very careful to protect the insurance that you have so that it can be renewed next year.  After all, if you make a claim through your home insurance for damage caused by natural floods, insurers are less likely to be inclined to offer you home insurance next year.

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To avoid having to claim against your home insurance for flood damage, you need to defend your property against rising water.  Check flood alerts and severe weather warnings regularly (if you live in a high-risk area, you can sign up for text warnings).  Stock up on sand-bags and make sure that seals around your windows and doors are all in good condition (if you have any double-glazed windows that are misty or wet between the two panes of glass you should get your seals checked).

If you notice any damage to your property as a result of storms or general wear-and-tear, you must get that damage repaired.  Obviously if a lot of damage has been done despite your previous efforts at maintaining your home, you could claim against your insurance (especially if the cost of repairs would be too great for you to pay out of your own pocket).  But minor damage could be paid for at little cost (particularly when you factor in the cost of your excess were you to claim on your insurance).

The fact of the matter is that your insurers would be within their rights to reject a claim for repair or replacement of belongings or your home itself if you hadn’t adequately maintained your property, allowing water to get in (e.g. by not maintaining your roof, especially if you have a flat roof anywhere on your property).  Of course, a major, natural flood cannot always be prevented from causing damage, in which case your claim should be accepted, but if your insurer believes that the damage has stemmed from a lack of maintenance of your home (e.g. by not clearing your gutters, or not checking that water pipes are all intact and all lead directly to the drains) then it can turn down your claim.

So, check your guttering carefully and check your water pipes for any sign of blockage or leaks; check the lead flashing around your chimney, and check that your driveway or paths are not higher than the waterproofing around the bottom of your walls.  That way, if this weather continues and you do have to make a claim at least you shouldn’t be rejected on the basis that any damage could have been prevented.

Get home insurance at Swift Cover today!

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