AA Insurance is advising home owners to keep a close watch on the Environment Agency’s website which provides detailed information about flood alerts. The broker has also emailed customers most likely to be affected with flood and storm advice.
Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, says: “If there is a real prospect of your home beingflooded, move valuable items and small items of furniture upstairs or place them on tables or worktops.
“Be especially careful to protect family heirlooms, pictures or documents that just can’t be replaced. Such things may have little monetary worth but considerable emotional value.
“It would also be good advice to move your car to higher ground if you can, away from potential flood water.
“Keep your phones fully charged, your important documents handy and keep warm, waterproof clothing ready in case the emergency services advise that you should evacuate your home. As you leave, make sure your doors and windows are locked, too.”
Meanwhile, the AA – which runs the benchmark British Insurance Premium Index– says that if the total value of home insurance claims resulting from extreme weather exceeds £1bn, it could lead to an increase in premiums.
Douglas added: “Since 2007, tens of millions of pounds have been spend on flood defences and flood alleviation schemes and this has paid off. New defences as well as improvement to existing ones, has protected 1.2 million homes.
“There’s no doubt that home insurance premiums have fallen over recent months, in part thanks to fewer flood claims. Over 2013, the average Shoparound quote for a home combined buildings and contents policy has dropped by 8.5% to £165.34.
“But that fall could be wiped out as the claims come in for flood-damaged homes, including many with no history of flooding.”
Homes that have sadly been affected by the present flood emergency are likely to find that their premiums and excess for future flood claims will go up.”
Douglas is also concerned that many homes will fall outside the proposed Flood Re flood insurance proposal which is expected to become part of the Water Bill in 2015.
He added: “While I welcome the Flood Re initiative, it’s clear that the kind of extreme weather we are now suffering could to becoming more frequent in future.
“Flood Re will protect the most vulnerable homes and help to ensure that they can obtain affordable home insurance and choose where to go. But thousands of homes at lower flood risk, falling outside Flood Re provisions, could still find affordable insurance difficult to find and more costly than those at much greater risk.”
AA Insurance is also advising home owners that in the event of storm damage such as dislodged gutters and tiles or broken glass to get emergency repairs completed as soon as possible, to prevent further damage.
Similarly heavy snow, which is forecast for some parts of Britain, can cause damage such as dislodged gutters.
He said: “Most insurers will allow home owners to carry out emergency repairs to their home. If you do need to get a local repairer out make sure you keep a receipt and details of the work so a claim can be made later.”
Householders are also advised to secure items such as trampolines, garden furniture or other items left outside that could be lifted by a high wind. Douglas points out that earlier this year, a child’s trampoline was blown out of a garden and into the road causing damage to several cars.
AA Insurance has been contacting its customers that might potentially be affected by storms or floods, offeringadvice on protecting their homes and personal possessions.
Extra staff have been drafted in by both the AA and the insurance companies on its panel, to offer advice for customers who need to make a claim for flood or storm damage.