Home insurer Zurich has set up a website designed to help flood victims. And that’s good news for the two-thirds of Britons who admit they’re woefully under prepared for future floods. The micro-site – zurich.co.uk/severeweather – offers visitors essential information, as well as practical help and advice about flooding and storms, the UK’s most common types of severe weather.
According to new research by the insurer, almost 65% of British homeowners say they are unprepared for floods in the area they live in. Even more worryingly, 94% admit they have done nothing to safeguard their property against flooding in the past 12 months. The feeling appears to be one of ‘it won’t happen to me’.
The exception to the rule – not surprisingly – is people who have already been directly affected by flooding, with 10% saying they are considering moving to avoid the possibility of a repeat performance.
Overall however general concern about flooding has increased, partly due to the severe floods of 2007 that left large swathes of southwest England under water and damaged tens of thousands of homes. A quarter of those polled said they were more concerned about flooding following last year’s floods. Over half of those polled (62%) also said they felt there is a greater risk of flooding in the UK due to our old blame-magnet: climate change.
Although Zurich’s site offers little new essential information (the main points are all pretty much covered on existing government websites) it does go into more detail in some areas, particularly in regard to contacting your insurer and making a claim. It also explains what to expect while your claim is being processed.
In contrast to the government website which seems useful but dull, Zurich’s site appears not only helpful but genuinely interesting as well. It also cleverly highlights the personal cost of flooding, featuring video footage of one family’s fight to cope with having their home flooded. If anything stirs people to take action to safeguard their homes it is more likely to be this than some lower-rank MP spouting clich?s at a conference in Hull.
The site is also easy to navigate, divided into three main sections dealing with what to do before, during and after a flood. It features a flood guide that includes a 6-page ‘emergency’ section that can be downloaded and printed out separately. This includes an emergency kit checklist. As well as the obvious things that come to mind, like bottled water, it also mentions the less obvious – but equally important, such as insurance documents and a camera to record the damage for your insurer.
As Anna Fleming, Zurich’s Property Claims Director, points out, floods put landlines and computers out of action almost immediately. Contacting your insurer is actually one of the first things you need to do if your home is flooded but trying to find their contact numbers and documents while you’re knee deep in water is nigh on impossible.
Thinking ahead really is key and with that in mind, Zurich’s website could prove to be just the extra helping hand their customers need to stay afloat.