A guide to floods and storms

Get in the know about how to prepare for a flood or storm

If you’re worried about your property being at risk of floods in winter, our guide has plenty of ideas to help you reduce any damage.

Is your property at risk of flooding?

Contact your local authority or Floodline for information about the type of flooding, if any, your property’s experienced before. You’ll want to know the water height, the cause and frequency of flooding, and if it’s likely to happen again.

If your neighbours are also at risk, consider forming a local flood association so you can help each other. The National Flood Forum can advise you about doing this, and they can update you on any plans to reduce the risk in your area as well as which authorities you can press for action to be taken.

How to prepare your property for a flood

If you find your property is at risk, there are plenty of things you can do beforehand to help minimise potential flood damage. For example:

  • Install a pump and sump system, which sits below the ground floor, to pump out water that could enter through the ground
  • Put flood skirts or barriers around any potential inlet for water, such as windows, doors and air bricks. They’re permanently fixed to the building so you only need to move them into position when there’s a real threat of flooding
  • Fit no-return valves to water outlet pipes to stop water backing up into the property in the event of a flood
  • Use water resistant sealants around doors and window frames, or anywhere there are small gaps that could let water in. You can also paint sealants onto porous materials like bricks and mortar to stop water damage
  • Replace timber floors with tiled ones, and rugs that you can move – they’ll suffer less flood damage than carpet
  • Ask a professional electrician to raise your electrical points above likely flood water levels

Before you start making any of these changes, it’s a good idea to get advice from a specialist flood surveyor or civil engineer. They can carry out a comprehensive flood assessment and recommend the most appropriate flood defences for your property.

Check the National Flood Forum's Blue Pages for companies that specialise in flood defence work.

What to do if your property is flooded

If the worst happens and flood water does get into your property, there are still things you can do to help reduce the damage:

  • If you have airbricks with removable covers, put them on during the flood, but remove them afterwards to help the drying out process
  • Move expensive electrical items upstairs, if you can
  • Check any ready-made flood defences you buy for a kitemark supported by the Environment Agency – you’ll know they’ve been tested and proven to work
  • If your electricity supply isn’t already switched off at the mains, ask a professional electrician to do this. Above all, don’t touch sources of electricity when you’re standing in flood water
  • Keep doors and windows open as often as possible if you’re drying your property out naturally. If you’re using dehumidifiers, close external doors and windows

Making an insurance claim

If you have a Barclays home insurance policy, call us on 0800 027 9844 1. We’ll usually send an insurance assessor as quickly as we can to your home to see what repairs and replacements are needed and are covered by your policy.

We’ll arrange for approved tradesmen to carry out repairs, with a minimum 12-month guarantee on all repairs and replacements arranged by us. Please also keep receipts for any temporary repairs you organise yourself.

And if you can’t stay in your property while it’s being repaired, we can cover the cost of alternative accommodation (up to a specified limit), if your policy allows for it.

It’s also a good idea to:

  • Mark the maximum height of the flood water in each room and take photographs or video footage of the damage
  • Make a list of items that have been damaged and don’t throw things away until your claim has been assessed

What to watch out for in a storm

If a storm’s on the way, there are certain parts of your property that could be more prone to damage. Some of the most common damage claims involve:

  • Roof tiles being blown off, perhaps also damaging guttering
  • Damage to TV/radio aerials
  • Glass breakage – most often greenhouse glass, as well as windows
  • Lifting of roofing felt, particularly on sheds
  • Damage to chimneys

Remember that you need to keep the structure of your home well maintained as damage resulting from wear and tear isn’t covered. In addition fences, gates and hedges that have blown down in high winds are often not covered by your home insurance policy either.

Whatever happens, if you have a Barclays home insurance policy you can make a claim online or call us on 0800 027 9844 1 and we’ll let you know how we can help to put things right.