Unless you’ve been living on the moon, you’ll know all about the storms that have been battering Britain for the past few weeks.
People living in the North of England and North Wales woke one morning this month to uprooted trees and damaged buildings, while large parts of Southern England are underwater. The situation is so bad that 2,000 servicemen and women have been deployed to help homeowners, farmers and businesses struggling to cope with the elements.
The cost of putting things right
The price of clearing up this winter’s floods and storms is going to be enormous. One insurance expert has warned that it could hit £1 billion if rain continues to fall on water-logged ground. It’s less than the £3 billion bill that the insurance industry is thought to have paid out following the floods that devastated huge sections of the country in 2007, but it’s still a massive amount of money.
It’s also thought that household insurance claims for flood damage will average between £30,000 and £40,000 pounds each.
What’s being done?
Apart from the stress of having their house or business flooded or damaged by storms, there’s also the worry that people in flood-hit areas may find it difficult to buy insurance cover in the future.
Thankfully, the government took steps to try and help people out before the recent spell of horrible weather. Under an agreement called Flood Re, a fund has been set up to provide payouts for high-risk properties. This initiative should be launched next year, but it’s worth remembering that this scheme will not include leasehold and privately rented properties.
Another bit of good news amongst all the doom and gloom is that some lenders are setting aside grants for flooded communities to help people get back on their feet. And a number of lenders are also offering mortgage payment holidays. Be a bit careful here though – taking a break from your mortgage payments, even if it has been offered to you by your lender, may affect your credit rating.
I have an insurance policy - what does it cover?
Different plans vary so it’s important that you check the small print. Some policies do not cover the full repair or rebuild costs of any flood damage so, if you need to claim, you may get a smaller payout than you expected. And, if you’re unlucky enough to need somewhere else to live while repairs and drying out take place, most insurers will cover this cost. But you really need to read the fine print to make sure you are not left homeless.