What should I do if my home has flooded?
Flood water is often dangerous, due to its speed, depth, hidden obstacles or contamination in the water.
The most important thing to do is to make sure that you and your family remain safe!
Either move to upper parts of your home and call for assistance, or leave the property by a safe, dry route. If anyone remains in the flooded property and the mains electricity supply was not turned off before the flood, do not touch any electrical appliances until you are told it is safe to do so and stay out of floodwater.
Call 999 if there is any threat to life.
When everyone is safe follow these principles below to recover from this flood damage:
- Notify your insurance company that the property has been flooded.
Although you cannot yet identify the damage caused, you can establish whether they will provide alternative accommodation and emergency funds and the next steps in your claim. If your insurance company will not cover alternative accommodation, you could consider:
- staying with family, friends or neighbours (cheaper but not a long term solution)
- renting another property in the area
- staying in a hotel or guesthouse
- applying for housing to your local authority, if you fall into a priority housing need. For more advice see Shelter UK’s website.
- Notify family, close friends and your employer.
This will ensure that your family or close friends know where you are and that you are safe so they don’t worry.
- Do not return to your home until you are told it is safe to do so.
What should I do when I return home?
- Follow these principles.
- Make your own record of the flood damage.
More details are available here.
- Contact your insurance company.
You may have done this already (to advise them that the property has been affected by flooding and to arrange temporary accommodation) but, once you regain access to the property, you will need to contact them again to arrange for a loss adjuster to visit and to establish how the claims process works. More information on the role of loss adjusters and loss assessors is available here.
- Clear away the damaged items.
It is essential that your maintain possession of any flood damaged items that you intend to claim against your insurance, as they may be required as evidence. It is possible that your local authority may offer a collective refuse collection scheme. Contact your local council to enquire about this.
- Start to organise the process of drying out and eventual repair/replacement.
Where your insurer is covering part or all of the cost, the loss adjuster will be the main point of contact between you and the insurance company. Although decisions on the claim are the sole responsibility of the insurance company, who will usually still remain in contact with you, it is the loss adjuster who you will deal with on a regular basis. So do not commission works until the insurer has agreed. If you are not insured, you can start work immediately.
You may need your lender’s consent, or consent from a superior landlord, for any repairs or replacement of parts of the property, so check your mortgage deed, lease or call the lender. It is prudent to wait until you have that consent before starting work. For more information on things to consider about the clean up, see here.
How do I repair my home?
- Clean up your property correctly.
Follow our guidance for advice on how to do this.
- If you own the property, start to organise the process of drying out and eventual repair/replacement.
If you are a tenant of the property, or only lease part of the building, it is likely to be your landlord who organises this process. Where an insurer is covering part or all of the cost, their loss adjuster will be the main point of contact between you and the insurance company. Although decisions on the claim are the sole responsibility of the insurance company, who will usually still remain in contact with you or the landlord, it is the loss adjuster who you will deal with on a regular basis. So do not commission works until the insurer has agreed. If you are not insured (and own the property), you may start work immediately. More information on loss adjusters and loss assessors is available here.
- Consider whether you can build in better flood protection as part of your home repairs.
If your property is likely to flood again, you may want to do the repair work in a way that helps to reduce the damage that the next flood causes. This can be done by installing property flood resilience measures. Sometimes your insurer will be willing to fund all or part of the cost of that work. For more information on the types of property flood resilience protection available, see here. There are also recognised quality standards for property flood resilience measures, click here to find out more.
- See if grant funding is available.
Grant funding may be available to help meet the cost of these measures. These will be different depending on where in the UK your house is located. Further information is available here for flood grant information for all areas of the UK.
- See if you can claim compensation for loss of utilities.
During flooding there may be gas, electrical and water cuts. If these are prolonged (2 hours or longer) and occur without prior notice, you may be entitled to compensation. Guidance on how much you may be entitled to and how to apply is available from the Citizens Advice Bureau on getting compensation if you have a power cut is available here. The Citizens Advice guidance page on getting compensation guidance document for an interruption to your water supply can be accessed here.
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