Leading rural insurer issues flood advice as Met Office declares amber rain warning in Scotland

06/10/2023

NFU Mutual is issuing flood advice as the Met Office issues an amber warning for heavy rain across many Scottish communities.

Up to 180mm of rain could fall throughout Saturday and into Sunday, with Grampian, Central, Tayside, Fife, Strathclyde and the Highlands all in danger of disruptive and dangerous downpours and flooding.

Heavy rain could lead to flash flooding with fast moving water, cutting off transport routes, and leading rural insurer NFU Mutual is urging home and business owners in Scotland to fortify their properties if possible but make safety their priority.

If they are affected by flooding, people should look at how they can work with their insurer to repair their property to be more resilient to flooding in the future.

Andrew Chalk, home insurance specialist at NFU Mutual, said:

“Time and again we’ve seen how destructive and disruptive flash flooding can be for communities, and NFU Mutual Agents in Scotland stand ready to rapidly assist people impacted by these predicted downpours – including facilitating rapid payments for smaller claims and mobilising our network of loss adjusters and repairers.

“But the best way to avoid disruption, if possible, is to take some sensible steps provided by NFU Mutual to protect your property. If you have flood defences, activate them now, move valuable possessions and electrical items to higher ground and prepare a flood or extreme weather pack.

“Have your insurer’s details to hand and if you are impacted by flooding, be sure to ask your insurer and loss adjuster about flood resilient repairs. Since 2017, NFU Mutual has offered its Flood Resilient Repair scheme to all home insurance customers. As part of the scheme, customers who suffer flood damage above £10,000 receive a contribution from NFU Mutual to implement repairs which will protect the property from future flooding.

“According to NFU Mutual claims data, the average damage to a home caused by floods in 2022 was £20,706. A flood resilient home, using things like non-return valves, tiling, and resilient materials on lower floors can massively reduce this bill, and many resilient repairs will cost no more than like-for-like repairs.

“With more insurers also now offering flood resilient repairs under the Government-backed Build Back Better scheme, it is worth checking if you can access extra help if you suffer a flood.”

NFU Mutual flood advice

NFU Mutual’s flood preparedness checklist:

  • Check if your property is at risk of flooding on the Government website.
  • Sign up for flood alerts on the Government website – these can be sent by text, email or delivered by phone call.
  • Put a flood plan in place, including:
    • Moving valuables – including electric items – to a safe space
    • Thinking about vulnerable members of your household and neighbours
    • Noting down useful numbers like gas and electricity suppliers, the National Grid, local council and insurer
    • Ensuring you know how to switch off your mains electricity and gas supply
  • Consider procuring sandbags or other flood defence systems
  • Prepare a flood or storm back, including:
    • Bottled water and snacks
    • Food for vulnerable household members like babies, children, and elderly relatives
    • Pet food
    • Torches with charged batteries
    • Mobile phone power banks and chargers

What to do if your home is flooded:

  • Make safety your priority. Keep your family and pets away from the flood water and move to another part of the property.
  • Call your insurer immediately, asking about alternative accommodation if your property is unsafe.
  • Contact family and friends.
  • If you can, switch off mains gas and electricity supplies in the affected area.
  • Have a pack with essential items like prescriptions, other medicines and food, paying particular attention to items like baby food.
  • Have a torch and charged mobile phone on hand in case of power cuts.
  • When it’s safe to enter the flooded area again, catalogue all damaged items for insurance claims and begin clearing and drying out the area, seeking advice from your insurance company.
  • Business owners should remain in contact with employees and customers.

NFU Mutual’s flood resilient repairs checklist

Flood resilient repairs are repairs carried out following flood damage which help prevent extensive damage in any subsequent flood. Some may come with additional cost, but many will cost no more than restoration. Resilient repairs to ask your loss adjuster or insurer about include:

  • Raising electrical sockets and white goods away from floor level.
  • Replacing flooring with waterproof tiling and grout.
  • Waterproof paint.
  • Installing flood-resistant, self-sealing air bricks.
  • Fitting non-return valves to drains to prevent backflow flooding.
  • Replacing doors with waterproof doors to prevent floodwater spreading.
  • Fitting flood barriers to doors or air brick covers.
  • Permeable paving or driveways.
  • Inflatable toilet pan seals or bungs to prevent backflow.
  • uPVC skirting boards and kitchen units.
  • Removable doors.
  • Basement tanking or pump systems (integrated or portable).

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