A flooded basement can be devastating for homeowners. Storm Bella  brought heavy downfalls and winds of up to 106MPH in the week of Christmas, and Met Office issued over 100 flood warnings across the UK. Your home and belongings is likely to be damaged in the case of a basement flooding. Luckily there are ways to minimise their impact.

What steps should I take if my basement floods?

The immediate step homeowners should take is to turn off all electricity in the house. Do not approach the flooded basement before doing so. This could pose a high risk to you and your family. If you know your circuit breaker is located in the basement, call an electrician right away, but if not immediately turn all power mains off in your home.

The next step will be to start drying out your basement. The longer your basement is left flooded the higher the fixing cost will be. Depending on the severity of the flood you may need to use an engine powered water pump. This won’t remove all the water in your basement, so make sure you mop your basement floor and use towels to finish drying the surface area.

How can I avoid mould?

It is extremely important to check for mould, as it can have a wide variety of negative impacts to your health. Mould can colonise in a matter of days from the flooding so it’s of high importance to deal with this issue as soon as you come across it.

The presence of mould will reduce the air quality of your home by releasing mould spores.

For those who are vulnerable to it, mould can cause a variety of health issues. Nasal congestion, skin irritations, eye inflammations and shortness of breath are common issues but it can be worst. Mould can be an even bigger issue for people who have had or are suffering from Covid-19, as they may be more at risk of lung infections caused by breathing in mould.

In order to check for mould, homeowners should visually inspect the areas where the flooding is likely to have occurred, as well as any other areas that could produce moisture. Homeowners can also purchase mould testing kits which can be completed at home for relatively low price. These will be useful both just after the flooding, as well as later down the line to track any development of the mould.

Who should you call if your basement floods?

There are three people you should contact right away. First you should contact your electrician to both make sure the basement of your home is safe to enter before you can do anything else. An electrician will also be able to inform you if there are any other electrical issues connected to the flooding.

Secondly you should contact your plumber. Plumbers will be able to give you information on the source of the flooding, and potentially begin to fix the issue(if it’s not caused by the heavy rain). A plumber will also be able to investigate any other issues related to the flood such as drain clogs, broken pipes or foundation issues.

Thirdly you should contact your insurer. The earlier you do so the better, as you will want to begin the claim process as fast as possible. Bellow is some advice on what to do when reporting flooding to your insurer.

What to do when reporting a basement flooding?

  • The important thing to do here is to be honest with your insurer. You must give true, accurate and complete information on the cause and severity of the flooding. Checks will be made to inspect the source of the flooding before any insurance pay-out is made. It’s extremely important to be truthful with your insurance to avoid further issues.

  • You must take reasonable steps to prevent any loss or damage that would be covered and maintain items in a good and safe condition. Remove all items from your basement as soon as it is safe to do so. Only then can you safely assess what’s lost in the flooding.

  • You must notify the insurer as soon as possible about any claim or loss. Cooperate fully with your insurer, including providing as much information and evidence as you can on request.

  • Homeowners must make emergency repairs to prevent a claim or loss from becoming any worse than it already is. If the fixes are covered by your insurer these will be reimbursed.

What are the best ways for homeowners to prevent future floods?

  • Ensure the waterproofing of your basement done by a specialist

  • Make sure to clean and maintain all your gutters and downspouts so that water can properly flow

  • Install and properly maintain a sump pump if you live in an area where flooding is regular

  • Get an insurance policy that truly protects your assets.

Three Castles offers a variety of home insurance policies that can protect both your building and your possessions. Visit our Home Insurance page for comprehensive home cover, our Contents Insurance cover to protect your possessions and our Buildings Insurance cover page to protect your building. Get a home insurance quote today or call our experienced underwriters on 03300948781 if you have any questions about our policies.