What follows is a general guide and will not apply to everyone. Houses differ, insurers differ, floods differ. You should investigate your own situation and take expert advice.
Flood resistance means keeping floodwater out; for example by door barriers and air-brick covers. However, where water comes up through the floor, as is quite common, this is not enough. Flood resilience means having your house arranged so that, if water does get in, damage is kept to a minimum. For example – stone or tile floors; electrical sockets and wiring well above the floor; appropriate plaster on the bottom part of the walls; washing machine on a raised platform. Much the easiest time to do such work is when repairing after a flood.
Insurers often undertake to replace ‘like with like’. This does not mean you have to put things back as they were before. What it does mean is that if, say, the damage is assessed at £20,000 the insurers will give you that much to do repairs. You can then spend that as you decide. Insurers don’t always make this clear, so ask. If resilient repairs cost more you have to find the extra yourself.
The more resilient a property is the less the cost of repairs after flooding. Equally importantly, the clearing up is reduced and you are much more quickly back to normal – compare mopping a stone floor to throwing out ruined carpets and drying out or replacing wooden floors.
To find out more, try the Homeowners’ Guide to Flood Resilience.
Two of us have written for the National Flood Forum Newsletter on making our homes flood resilient:
Peter Rawcliffe’s article, April 2008 – page 14
Nick Hills’s article, May 2009 – page 16.
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