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Severe flooding hits the UK once more

Cornwall is braced for another day of heavy rains after heavy downpours left a number of places under water and forced over 100 people from their homes. St Austell and Liskeard appear the worse affected places, with Lostwithiel and Mevagissey having endured the worst floods in living memory – and it is estimated that the claims bill could exceed £2 million.

If you have been affected by flooding, here are some things you need to do:

> Call your insurer as soon as possible to begin the claims process.

> Personal safety for yourself, your family and neighbours is the most important thing, so don't take unnecessary risks to protect your possessions. Remember to ensure vulnerable people such as the elderly and young children are kept close at all times.

> Keep pets under control and make sure they can't stray into dangerous flood waters.

> It if is safe to do so, and you feel your home may be at risk of flooding, prioritise sentimental items such as photographs, family heirlooms and antiques and move these upstairs.

> Put together a flood kit for the family including identification, an extra layer of clothing, mobile phone, keys, wallet, medication and details of those you need to contact - and keep these at hand at all times. Packing a small rucksack means you can carry these items and still keep your arms free.

> Keep a close eye on the weather forecast and listen out for news on the risks of further flooding.

> However difficult it may be to leave your home in these circumstances, follow the advice of the emergency services at all times.

> When flood water disappears ensure that the damaged areas are disinfected and deep cleaned.

If you are braving the elements in your car, here are a few tips:

> If the flood water is above the bottom seal on the car door, do NOT open the doors as the water may well have not seeped fully into the car and the damage may be limited. Wait until the water has subsided before you attempt to open any of the car doors.

> If the flood water has got into the car, or even reached the underside of the car, do NOT start the vehicle as water in the engine would cause further serious damage.

> If the car wheels have been in water, but the water level did not reach the underside of the car, it should be safe to drive once the worst of the water has abated.

> If water has seeped into your car, call your insurer. They will inspect the vehicle as soon as they can and decide on the most appropriate course of action.

> Drivers in the area whose cars have not been affected by floods must still take care when driving in flooded areas. Debris and deep flood water can seriously damage vehicles.

Seek out the advice of your insurers before you take any action regarding your possessions or property if they are damaged by the flooding. Westhill Insurance Services can offer pragmatic and sensible advice as to how to protect yourself against future flood claims, as well as any difficulties you are currently experiencing. With a dedicated and sympathetic team of real people (not computers!) waiting to help, you can get professional advice straight away.

Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.

Posted on 26th November, 2010