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CLIMATE CHANGE - ARE YOU INSURING FOR AN INUNDATION?

Working with a team of 60 top experts, a recent report is predicting that both the number of people in danger from flooding and the costs of damage from floods will significantly rise over the coming years.

Very few people would deny that climate change is a reality – particularly those working in insurance, given that the floods that recently devastated parts of the world were very costly. This is, of course, bad news for those who live in areas that are prone to flooding.

With so many people at risk from flooding, it is becoming more and more important to take steps to avoid the worst effects of flood damage to you, your family and your property. In particularly 'at risk' areas, you should consider installing flood board slots in doorways and keep a stock of sandbags, and also check if there are other places where water could get in, like airbricks. You should also find out from your local authority or what the risks are to your property and what flood prevention schemes are in place locally.

Keep a list of useful numbers by the phone, such as your insurance company and emergency numbers, and know how to turn off water, gas and electricity. One rainy Sunday afternoon, why not assess what possessions may be most at risk on the ground floor, ones which have most value to you (old photographs? passports? family heirlooms?), and think about how you would move them to a safer place in an emergency.

Premiums in flood risk areas are presently many times higher than the average and this, unfortunately, leads some people to under-insure to save on costs. Government Agencies make it clear, however, that this short-term approach to insurance is a false economy as 'one of the greatest causes of stress experienced by people who have flooded is lack of adequate home insurance'. It is important to check if your contents and buildings insurance adequately cover against flooding.

Although premiums are likely to be higher in the High Risk flood areas, you should always shop around as there are some very good value property insurance offers around - many sites can compare dozens of insurers and complex policies for you for nothing and suggest ones that best suit your needs, consequently saving you time and money.

On-line applications can also save you money - the big supermarkets are in fierce competition for you to shop online with them and home insurance is no different.

In summary, the guidance is to remember to tell your insurance company if your property is at a lesser risk because of the flood measures you or an outside agency have undertaken, shop around for the best deal, particularly looking online, and finally to ask your insurer to advise you of measures you could take that could reduce your premium. It's good advice to 'Act now. Be prepared for flooding'.



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