What to do after your property has flooded

3 minutes

It’s no secret that the UK has been battling some very wet weather, and around 1 in 6 homes in England are at risk of flooding. A flood brings with it risk and emotional stress and you need to look after yourself and those around you as you focus on clean-up and repair. If you’re unfortunate enough to have been flooded, then here are some tips to help you stay safe and start the clean-up process.

Your local area

If flood waters are starting to recede and you must walk or drive somewhere, then remember the following as dangers still exist:

  • Use local alerts and warning systems to get ongoing information and expert advice. Additional flooding or flash floods can occur
  • Avoid floodwaters – water may be contaminated by oil, petrol, or raw sewage.
  • Stay away from damaged areas unless your assistance has been specifically requested by police, fire, or a relief organisation
  • Stay on firm ground – standing water may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines
  • Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car
  • Flood debris may hide animals or broken bottles, manhole covers may be missing, and it’s also slippery, so take extra care
  • Roads may be closed because they are damaged or still flooded, so take note of barricades and take another route if you come across one
  • Area familiar to you make look different as floodwaters often erode roads and walkways.

Entering your property after a flood

  • Find out from emergency services if it’s safe to re-enter your property
  • Switch off your power supply – flood water from an external source can be contaminated with harmful chemicals and sewage and may compromise your electrics
  • Service damaged septic tanks and anything else containing raw sewage as soon as possible – damaged sewer systems are serious health hazards
  • Listen for news reports to find out whether the local water supply is safe to drink
  • When you enter the property wear protective clothing and be careful – there may be contamination and hidden damage, particularly in the foundations
  • Dispose of items which have been contaminated by flood water and which cannot be cleaned or made safe
  • Clean and disinfect any items which are wet and can be saved
  • Once the flood water has receded and it is safe to do so, use dehumidifiers to help the drying out process – these should be provided by your insurer
  • Keep a manageable schedule – make a list and do jobs one at a time.

Repairing your property

The damage to your home from a flood can be extensive – and it may take longer than you think to get your home back to normal. You may need:

  • Specialist cleaning and drying companies to salvage your personal belongings and dry out your home, including specialist drying equipment
  • A surveyor to plan and oversee any major structural works
  • Professional builders to carry out the repairs or rebuild
  • Decorators to add the final touches.

Your flood insurance

  • Notify your insurance company as soon as possible, the sooner you report the matter the sooner the clean-up process can get underway
  • Remember to take photos of all items you are disposing of – your insurer may request photographic evidence to assist with the claims process
  • Check the alternative accommodation provision in your insurance policy.

Using a broker for your flood insurance

A specialist broker like Howden will look at your property and tailor a flood insurance policy accordingly. We’ll talk to you about your home, what preventative measures you have taken and what you may have done to make your home more resilient should it flood again. 

If your property is flooded, then we’ll fight your corner and negotiate with insurers. It’s just one of the many benefits of using a broker.