Table of contents
Don't let it leave you without cover
You might not be covered by your home insurance if your home hasn't been kept in a good state of repair.
This is because home insurance doesn't cover wear and tear - that is, the effects of gradual deterioration on the building or the contents of your home. For example, this would include the damaging effects of sunlight on a piece of furniture like a sofa.
7 tips for keeping your home in good repair
- Get domestic equipment, such as your boiler, serviced regularly
- Put in gutter guards to keep out leaves. Gutters can easily overflow when blocked, causing water damage to walls.
- Check that pipes in colder parts of the house, such as the loft or cellar, are insulated
- Check for and replace missing or loose roof tiles
- If you have a flat roof, renew the asphalt lining before its life span runs out (the average life span is approximately 10 years)
- Inspect the windows for peeling paint and crumbling putty. These problems can cause the timber to swell and let in water.
- Remove any broken tree branches surrounding your home, greenhouses or outbuildings before they fall off and cause damage
What to do in a flood
Flooding is one of the most traumatic events that a homeowner can suffer. We know how stressful it can be if your home floods, so flooding is covered as standard in your HSBC Home Insurance policy. This means that damaged caused to your property and belongings, as a result of heavy rainfall, or rivers bursting their banks will be covered, and if your home becomes inhabitable that you have to move out of your home we will help with the cost of alternative accommodation.
Most belongings can be replaced or restored. Although it may take a while before life gets back to normal, the important thing is that it will eventually become less traumatic.
What you can do before a flood
- Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies at the mains
- Unplug all electrical items and if possible store them up hight or upstairs. With heavy electrical items such as fridges raise them up on bricks.
- Put the lid down on your toilets and place something heavy, like bricks on top to stop the water coming through the waste pipes
- Put plugs in baths and sinks, weigh them down with a sandbag, pillowcase or plastic bag filled with soil
- Move all your personal and valuable items upstairs or out of the house
- Keep all important documents in a watertight plastic bag in a high, safe place
- Move as much furniture as possible upstairs. If items can't be carried, move them away from the wall as this will speed up drying times later.
- Make a flood kit that includes key personal documents, torch, battery, mobile phone, rubber gloves, wellies, waterproof clothing, a first aid kit and blankets
- Make sure neighbours, especially elderly or infirm ones, know there is a flood on the way
What to do following a flood
The Environment Agency has some advice for cleaning up your home following flooding.
- Contact your insurer
As soon as possible and let them know what has happened. If you need temporary accommodation, be clear about where you are and what you require. Call us on 0345 300 5899.
- Make a list and take pictures
Of anything that's damaged - it will help your insurer to process any claim you make. They will handle any cleaning, drying and repairs to your property as soon as practically possible.
- Open windows
To let moisture and water out, but only when someone's at home.
Getting back to normal
- Stay Safe
If your electricity isn't already switched off at the mains, get a qualified person to do that. Never touch sources of electricity whilst standing in flood water.
- Keep it hygienic
Flood water can contain sewage and chemicals. Always wear waterproof outerwear including wellington boots, rubber gloves and a face mask
- Get pumping
You can drain water using a pump and generator. Position the generator outside as generators produce carbon monoxide fumes which can kill.
- Check water levels
Only pump water out once the flood levels outside fall lower than levels inside your property. This reduces the risk of structural damage.
- Choose your equipment wisely
A garden hose is useful for washing down but avoid high-pressure hoses as they can blast contaminated matter into air.
- Ask your council for help
Local councils can usually provide skips and extra rubbish collections for items that your insurance company has agreed you can throw away.
- Choose contractors carefully
If hiring people to help, check they are professional technicians experienced in water damage recovery and restoration.
- Get a specialist opinion and cost estimate
from contractors. It may be cheaper for you to get some items restored rather than replaced.
- Ensure flood resilient measures are considered
in any repairs, such as moving electrical sockets up or fitting water preventative air brick covers.
Where to go for further help
The following professional bodies specialise in flood advice and guidance and can put you in touch with experts you may need such as property surveyors.
The Environment Agency
British Damage Management Association (BDMA)
The National Flood Forum
The Flood Protection Association
Looking for home insurance?
Please ensure you read the key information about HSBC Home Insurance and check the full eligibility requirements before you apply.