Polygon - Essential Guide To Flood Planning & Preparation - Chapter 4

As we have mentioned throughout this flooding resource, a disaster of this nature can be devastating to all involved. It can take a lengthy time to be back up and running as normal and you’ll probably need some help and assistance on this side of things.

After flooding, you should get the OK from a professional before moving back in, especially when it comes to switching on the electrics and gas. You can also remove any flood protection you’ve put in place and contact the insurers, taking photos of damage incurred.

It’s best to get in contact with the home insurers as quickly as possible, so the drying and decontamination process to your property isn’t delayed. If for any reason you need to evacuate the property in the event of a flood, your insurers should also cover alternative accommodation – But check with your insurers when signing up.

The Clean-Up Process

The clean-up process to your home is going to be the most time consuming. To begin the process of having your property professionally restored you’ll need to get in contact with your insurers and make them aware of the full scale of damage. Start taking photos or videos of the damage, which can be used as evidence to support your claims.

It’s important not to undertake any repair work yourself, unless the home insurer has given you specific approval to do this. You should also not dispose of any possessions until a loss adjuster, who will calculate the full costs of damage, has visited your property. You can throw away food that has come into contact with contaminated floodwater though. Also avoid using gas and electricity until a professional plumber or electrician has assessed the situation.

The clean-up process of your house will then take three usual steps and it’s advised to avoid moving back in fully, until these have been taken care of.

Step 1: Floodwater is pumped out of your home

This is often undertaken by the Fire & Rescue Service (they’ll charge in a non-emergency), but can also be undertaken by a specialised contractor. You could also use buckets to remove floodwater yourself if possible.

Step 2: Disinfect your home from contamination

Floodwater is contaminated and dangerous, so care must always be taken to fully disinfect all areas that have come into contact. Disinfecting the property will help to reduce mildew and mould build-up in the property. Take soft furnishings outside to speed up their drying process.

Step 3: Dry out the property

Industrial heaters and dehumidifiers will be used in the property to help with the drying process. Even with these in place though, it can still take weeks and even months to return the property to its pre-incident condition, dependent on the level of flooding. By rushing this process and drying too quickly, there’s the possibility of causing structural damage.

Why Does It Take So Long To Reinstate A Property?

Reinstating a building so it’s back to its former self can take weeks and even months to complete. There are a number of reasons for this and plenty of factors that’ll contribute to the total time taken. Of course, what’ll impact this the most is the extent of damage from flooding your property experience.

• Processing the insurance claim

One hold-up in the recovery of your property restoration is the time it takes to process your claim with the insurance provider. You’ll possibly have a loss adjuster visit your home, who will review the extent of the damage caused and report back to the insurers. A schedule will then be drawn up for your property’s recovery period, liaising with contractors to arrange repairs and renovations.

Insurers will often have a range of specialist companies dealing with various aspects of the claim and it can sometimes be confusing to know who is doing what. Keep a written note of what you’re told and ask questions. If more than one person is named on your policy, make sure you regularly catch up with each other to share any information you’ve been given. Ask companies to call you back with an update from time to time. If you’re comfortable with using one, ask companies if they have a website or portal – where you can see what they’re doing on your claim 24/7, without having to hang on the phone. While the insurer will be doing their best to guide you through the process, it can be confusing at times.

• Cleaning and drying the property

This stage of the cleanup, as mentioned above, can take weeks and even months to fully complete. The scale of flooding will need to be taken into account and adequate drying measures imposed. There are so many areas water can access, that these will need to be exposed and dried accordingly. A specialist contractor such as Polygon, will ensure the property is dried to a satisfactory standard – the aim is to get it back to its pre-incident condition.. If you have a timber-framed property, the drying process can take even longer as further treatment procedures could be required.

• Refurbishing the property

You’ll also need to refurbish the property, replacing or repairing furniture that has been damaged by the floodwater. Of course, you’ll need to go out and find appropriate furnishings to suit your home and have the property decorated too. This can take time in itself, as you’ll need to complete something you’ve taken years over, all at once. Remember, you’ll need approval from the insurer before commencing with this.

• Reinsuring the property after flood damage

After flood damage to your home it can be difficult to reinsure. It’s often hard enough for those who live in high-risk areas to receive flood insurance, let alone those who have been affected. Insurance should be a priority though. Once you have experienced a flood you’ll know just how tough it is. Without insurance, the costs are going to stack up.

Personal & Financial Help

When going through the torment of a flood in your property, it can be all too easy to think you’re alone in this situation. This is not the case though and there are in fact a number of personal and financial schemes available.

For starters, if you’re unable to live or work in premises as a result of flood damage, there’s the opportunity to receive a discount on council or business tax. You should contact your local council to find out if you’re eligible.

There’s also the Citizens Advice Bureau on hand, who can provide free and confidential assistance on your situation. The bureau will help answer any pressing questions you have and can be contacted by telephone. You could also arrange a face-to-face meeting if you’d prefer.

You could also be eligible to receive a grant or funding to help with your costs. This could be emergency funding from the council or government, charities or even local businesses. If your property is affected by flooding, you should certainly enquire as to what is available for support.