Is Your Home Properly Protected Against Water Damage?
Serious flooding is on the rise in Britain. What was once a freak wet event is now a frequent event, which means more homeowners have to step up to the responsibility of ensuring they are properly covered. As with most insurance policies, there is some fogginess surrounding most flood damage cover. Allianz Your Cover offers some advice on how to find out if your property is protected against water damage.
The most common fudge from flood insurers is what exactly constitutes ‘water damage’. Thanks to that conveniently open-ended phrase, many homeowners are left angered after their claims for mould cover were denied following a flood. Despite being accepted as a major health risk, mould is repeatedly overlooked by insurers in a bid to minimise payouts.
The UK is, let’s face it, a soggy place, and mould will affect every home of a certain age if left unchecked. Mould is a creeping danger, which will slowly take over entire areas of the house, and it can cause some alarming health problems, from coughs, colds and nosebleeds to congestion and sinusitis. It can be seriously detrimental to the health of asthma and bronchitis sufferers. When it comes to water damage, the notion of ‘protecting’ oneself is not merely a euphemism for financial security, but a literal imperative.
Remember, even if you’re in a flood-risk area, standard home insurance does not generally cover flood damage. But while flood-specific policies are almost always separate, homeowner policies will cover other types of water damage, such as post-storm rain coming inside a property and destroying wood etc. But if there was a pre-existing leaky pipe and water damage has occurred over a long period of time, you won’t be covered. This is the perilous line policyholders must walk between spurious ‘acts of God’ and what an insurance agent might call foolish neglect.
Dancing this dance with your insurers includes keeping a clear head in the aftermath of a disaster. Irrespective of the seriousness of the damage caused, you should take immediate steps to clean up water damage (unless remaining in the property is dangerous). Fix any leaks the moment you discover them and, after a storm, go round the house drying all the wet areas as quickly as possible. Open doors and windows (once the bad weather has halted, obviously) to allow proper circulation of air. Once you’ve covered, dried, and dehumidified wet areas, contact your insurer to begin the claims process.
In the event that you find mould that appears to have been developing in an isolated nook of the house, get an expert to analyse it. For flood insurance, try Allianz and, if you’re looking for a new place to live, factor in the geology and flood risk of an area before falling in love with that charming old cottage in the Gloucestershire Valley.