A Guide to Flood Prevention for Non Standard Homes

If your home is situated in a flood risk area it may be considered a non-standard home in insurance terms. Last year, The Association of British Insurers (ABI) reported insurers had paid out a total of £1.3 billion following the storms of 2016, showing the impact and extent of flood damage from a financial perspective.

How can I prevent flood water damage to my home?

You can carry out a flood risk assessment of your own home by identifying the areas where water is most likely to enter. Below are some ways you can protect your home from flood:

  • Self-closing airbricks – Regular air bricks are used to prevent damp in your home and allow air to flow through and circulate. In the event of a flood the holes remain open and allow the flood water into your home. A self-closing airbrick for just £30 does the same job but when flood occurs it has self-activating grates that will close and prevent water from coming in.

A BSI Kitemark is a sign of quality
  • Flood barriers – Flood Ark has designed flood barriers for use in the doorways of your home. They fit a frame either side of the door and in the event of a flood, all you do is slide in boards that click into place. These create a strong and solid barrier across your doorway. They are made to measure and rigorously tested to ensure that flood water cannot flow in freely and cause major damage. Floodark have similar products to protect garages, windows and will cater for flood damage to commercial properties too.

  • Make sure you have flood cover in place - some insurers will exclude this from your policy if you’re home is in a flood risk area. It’s worth checking that you have flood cover included and any excesses that relate to flood claims. Specialist insurance providers like Towergate, may have policies that insure homes in flood risk areas.

Tip: Look out for the Kitemark (shown above) on flood protection products, this is the seal of approval given by the British Standards Institution (BSI). It means the product has been rigorously tested to ensure it meets a proper standard of quality and safety.


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What can I do if a flood is likely to affect my home?

  • Move your possessions upstairs – only do this if you have time, it’s more important you are safe. If flood water does hit your home, you will have saved many of your possessions that could otherwise been damaged.

  • Keep an eye on flood warnings - if a severe flood warning is issued in your area it means it’s no longer safe for you to stay at home. You should listen out for these on the news and ensure your family’s safety by leaving the premises.

  • Get prepared – pack an emergency bag and include medication, your money/cards and a charged mobile phone.


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My home is flooded, what can I do next?

  • Stay safe – Do not walk across flood waters, it can be extremely dangerous and if you fall, you may not be able to get back up due to the current. Also, be particularly wary of power lines and electrical wires to avoid being electrocuted.

  • Don’t drive – Unless the roads are clear of flood water, you should not attempt to drive over them. According to Bucknell University, most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water. 

  • Contact your insurer – It’s best to do this as soon as possible so they are aware of the situation. Your insurer will be able to give helpful flood advice and suggest the next steps you should take. Sometimes they will also make emergency payments straight to your bank account to cover costs of things like alternative accommodation. Once it is safe to do so, they will of course arrange flood damage repairs to your property too but this can take some time.


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Flood risk areas in the UK

Lastly, to check if your home or property is in a flood risk area by typing your postcode into the flood risk map on the Environment Agency website. It shows flood risk zones and categorises each zone by level of risk.

We hope you never experience a flood in your area but being prepared and aware of what can happen may help you if it does.

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About the author

James Cooper is a respected industry leader with over 10 years' experience in the home and property insurance sector. He works across a broad range of insurance product and policy development and delivery, including product development; customer sales and marketing; and P&L accountability.