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Hints and tips to help you deal with the risk of flooding

Persistent heavy rainfall is a feature of the current UKclimate and often leads to flooding which can be devastating for homeowners.

In June/July 2012 many parts of the UK were brought to analmost complete standstill from violent downpours which left thousands of homesseverely damaged and their residents homeless.

According to the environmental agency over 5.5 millionproperties in England and Wales are at risk of flooding from rivers, the sea orsurface water caused by severe weather.

We cannot stop the rain or flooding but we can help youminimise the risk of damage to your property. We have therefore outlined thefollowing hints and tips, which could help save you thousands of pounds, reducethe pain and misery which flooding brings and may keep your insurance premiumsdown.

Keeping the water out

•At the first sign of danger disconnect the gas, electricityand water at the mains supply.

•Disconnect all cooking appliances, washing machines,dishwashers and other items connected by rigid pipes to gas and water supplies.This will help to prevent damage to pipes if appliances float or move duringflooding. If possible raise the electrical goods most vulnerable above floorlevel. Unplug electrical items and store them at the highest points in yourhome either in upstairs bedrooms or if possible in a loft area.

•Washing machines and dishwasher outflows should be disconnectedand blocked with a cloth/plug to prevent back flow. Placing a sandbag in thetoilet bowl will also help to prevent backflow.

•Seal windows and doors with silicone sealant to help makedoors and windows more resistant to water damage. Put sealant around doors andwindows then close and lock them until the flooding has passed.

•You can reduce the amount of water entering your propertyby stocking up on sandbags as well as using plywood, metal or plastic sheetingplaced on the outside of doors, windows and airbricks.

•Floodwater is usually contaminated with drain and sewagewater and chemicals such as paint, garden pesticides, household cleaningproducts and garage oils. Keep these materials upstairs or high up in yourgarage or shed.

•If you have time, move furniture and electrical itemsupstairs, roll up carpets, rugs and curtains for suitable storage. Shouldfurniture be too heavy to move, empty it and move its contents upstairs. Raiseit on bricks to minimise damage and move it away from walls as this can assistin drying the property later.

•Items of sentimental and high value such as familyheirlooms art, fine wines, jewellery and antiques should be placed upstairs orsomewhere high up on a permanent basis to avoid damage.

After a flood

•Call your insurance company emergency helpline as soon aspossible. They will be able to provide information on dealing with your claim,and assistance in helping you get back to normal as quickly as possible.

•Ensure you keep a record of any flood damage if possible.Take photographs or video footage and retain correspondence with your insurancebrokers after the flood.

•Never turn on gas, electricity or water supplies until youhave contacted your gas, electricity and water companies and they have advisedyou that it is safe to do so. Have your power supplies checked before you turnthem back on to make sure they have dried out. Wash taps and run them for a fewminutes before use.

Buying flood protection products

A comprehensive list of items which can be purchased to helpreduce the damage caused by flooding is available from the National FloodForum.

If you are worried about the potential risk of flooding inyour area sign up for warning alerts online here http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/or call Flood line on 0845 988 1188.

Finally

If you are making any changes to your property, make sureyou inform your insurers or your insurance broker as any changes to couldaffect your cover and may alter your premiums.

If you are not currently insured through Bluefin and wouldlike us to carry out a full and personal review on your behalf, please callDave Perrett on 0117 929 5291 or email us. PrivateClientsBristol@bluefingroup.co.uk

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