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Flaming June? It's a wash out!

We seem to be on a weather roller-coaster, one day bright sunshine and the next , we have dire warnings of floods, high winds and general weather mayhem. Of course, being British we love nothing more than to discuss the weather, but even the die-hards amongst us seem to be flagging now!

Flood warnings are again being issued for a vast amount of the country. Here we offer some simple but effective tips for preparing for the worst, and dealing with the effects should the worst happen.

What to do if a flood alert is issued near you:

Most people think in terms of protecting their sentimental items – photographs etc. Whilst this is commendable, very necessary to your peace of mind and also a huge comfort, try and take a pragmatic view too. Remember that you need your computer – it's not a luxury – it contains everything from family photographs to your address book, diary and often vital documents. Make sure it is properly backed-up and that the backup is kept in a safe (dry) place. Pay special attention to your mobile phone – you will need it to call family and friends in case of problems – and your insurers too. Make sure all your important numbers are stored on your phone. Take care with your charger, make sure you always know where it is and that this too is kept dry and safe. If mainland phones and electricity is lost, you will need your phone – so make sure you keep it fully charged, just in case.

In order to protect your home, Government advisors suggest that you:

> Check your home and buildings insurance and make sure you are covered for flooding
> Check your total sum insured realistically represents your asset's value
> Make sure you know how to turn off your gas and electricity
> Keep a kit of essential items such as insurance documents, a battery powered torch, radio and first aid kit, place them in a waterproof bag
> Buy specialist flood protection products which have the BSI Kitemark

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 he 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. Should the tide turn against you, make sure you have a professional team on your side – once call to Westhill Insurance Services could solve your immediate worries.

If you'd like to read our product information regarding Flood Risk Insurance please click here.

Here are a couple of useful links for advice and updates:

Environmental Agency Twitter Feed

Environmental Agency Flood Warnings

Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.

Posted on 14th June, 2012