Average flood claim rises to almost £14,000

Sand bags

Flood damage caused an average of £13,855 worth of damage in 2012, according to latest figures from Halifax Home Insurance.

And the figures are set to rise in the last year with Halifax seeing an increase of more than 300% in flood-related calls during December 2013.

Martyn Foulds, senior claims manager for Halifax Home Insurance, said: "Strong winds, heavy rain and high tides are all currently combining and, with the ground already saturated, more flooding is highly likely in many areas of the UK. We are advising homeowners who are at risk to take steps now to reduce the risk of damage to their homes and to monitor local news and weather updates."

Price comparison site Moneysupermarket.com has also warned anyone at risk from the severe weather to act now to minimise damage to property.

Clare Francis, editor-in-chief at Moneysupermarket, added: "If you've been affected by the storm, the most important thing is to keep safe. If your property has been damaged, don't put yourself or others at risk by trying to repair something that needs a professional; don't try to move a fallen tree without expert assistance and equipment for example. That said, do what you can, without risk to yourself, to prevent further damage and to reduce the risk of harm to others."

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Halifax offers the following tips if your home is at risk of flooding:

  • Place sandbags outside doors, airbricks, windows and any other holes to reduce the amount of water entering your property.
  • Turn off the mains supplies of water, gas and electricity.
  • Unplug all electrical items and store them upstairs or as high as possible.
  • Disconnect pipes to washing machine and dishwashers to avoid damage if appliances move during the flood.
  • Move as much furniture as possible upstairs, weigh down large items that can't be lifted with sandbags so they don't move and cause damage.
  • Empty contents of cupboards and drawers, and store upstairs or as high as possible.
  • Move rugs and curtains upstairs or to higher ground.
  • Keep your home insurer's policy details and telephone numbers to hand in case you need to make a claim.
  • Remember to move sentimental items such as photograph albums to a safe place, as they cannot be replaced.
  • Householders who are concerned their homes may be at risk of flooding can register for Environment Agency Floodline Warnings Direct by calling 0845 988 1188 or visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk.

There are long-term home improvements to make to your property more flood-resistant if you live in a flood-risk area. Moneysupermarket suggests the following:

  • Fit water resistant door and window frames.
  • Raise plug sockets so they're above likely flood levels.
  • Replace downstairs carpets with solid wood or tiled flooring.
  • If your home needs re-plastering as a result of recent flood damage, use a water-resistant plaster such as lime plaster.
  • You can protect wall joists by having a chemical damp-proof course installed.
  • Use water-resistant sealant on external walls, doors and window frames.

For more on flood announcements, see our feature on what does a flood warning mean?