St Asaph 2012
The Aftermath of Being Flooded - A Flood Victim’s View
This is the detailed account of a resident from St Asaph affected by flooding, which highlights her experiences once the floodwater had gone. Her views are very compelling, and this is why we felt we would share what she experienced as a flood survivor.
1. Things will get worse before they get better; it is horrible to say but it is true.
2. Expect to be out of your house longer than six months; if not, then it is a bonus.
3. Take photos of north, south, east, west, floors and ceilings of every room (this should include other rooms such as porches and conservatories). You should do the same for outside and inside sheds and garages, as well as your garden.
4. Write serial numbers of all electrical goods or take photos of the numbers.
5. Cut a half metre square piece of all carpets in your house and store them away from the house. This will help with future claims.
6. Check the loft is not damp; damp will rise.
7. When the plaster is being knocked off the wall, CLOSE the loft hatch as dust will get up there and create havoc with the loft insulation.
8. Stop all utility bills and write down the last meter reading, or take a photo of it.
9. List all the contents in every room, and then get somebody to check the list to make sure you have not left anything off it.
10. Stop the standing charge for the gas and electricity as you will not use it until you get back in,
11. Stop your Council Tax.
12. Create another bank account so the money from the insurance company can go into it; this keeps your money separate from other accounts you may have.
13. Get a new credit card so all things you purchase can go on to it. You will no doubt have to put deposits down on items as your insurance money will not have come through. This will keep you aware of your current balance.
14. Drying will take an average of 50 days. Builders will not start until they have received a ‘dry’ certificate. The electricity bill for the ‘drying’ process will cost anything between £700 and £900, and is charged to the insurance company. If you are in rented accommodation, you may need another policy to keep things separate.
15. You are not ready to start planning bathrooms or a kitchen yet.
16. If you have timber floors, make sure the floorboards are replaced; don’t listen to anyone that says a good underlay will work.
17. You will also want to remove the silt from the house foundations, otherwise fungus will appear and will need to be sprayed.
18. If you had floorboards before in your house, you have every right to have floor boards put back. You don’t have to agree with your insurance company, who may offer chip board instead.
19. You have every right to have things replaced that got damaged ‘like for like’.
20. Ceramic tiles will need to come off the floor and walls in bathrooms etc. as water will have got behind the tiles. These walls and floors will not dry without being exposed to the air.
21. The plaster will need to come off as well as skirting boards, architraves and doors. These will be destroyed if they are made of wood. Radiators may not be used again as rust will start to form on them.
22. In a few months start looking for furniture as there is usually a 12-16 week wait for it to be delivered.
23. Three months after the event, you will be able to start planning on putting your house back together, and be able to think of colours, carpets, beds and furniture. Start saving the websites that you have viewed for your replacement furniture and their prices. This is useful for the insurance companies.
24. You don’t have to accept shop vouchers if they are offered to you.
25. Don’t let the insurance company win. You will have to fight for what you want; it needs a strong but polite person to get what you want.
26. If your insurance has gone badly wrong, think about an independent loss adjuster. They are working for you and not the insurance company.
27. Don’t watch your furniture being thrown into the skip, as in some ways this is worse than the flooding. Keep your children away as this will be upsetting as well.
28. Take a note of all the names and telephone numbers of all the tradesmen that you are using.
29. Remember you are grieving for a house and all your belongings, so let it happen. I have not met anyone yet who has not cried a bucket full when their house has been flooded.
30. Insurance companies will argue about paying only for base kitchen units and not the wall units; fight them on this as you cannot have unmatched units.
31. It will get easier, but you are on a very hard road.
32. Take photos of the driveway surface etc. before the skips arrive. You will have many skips that are heavy and may cause damage to your driveway.
33. You will be able to claim for the clothing you wore on the day of the flood, so keep any receipts of clothing purchases that you had to make.
34. Start a spreadsheet on your computer of all the things you have spent in the first month; you will be surprised as to how much it comes to.
NB: It is only when you move back in to your house that you will start to think as to how you can protect your property.
Air bricks are very good. There are also PVC doors that look like any other doors, but they are expensive.
There are flat sandbag alternatives that can be purchased that absorb and store water. Sandbags can’t stop water entering your property, but they can divert or hold it back whilst you get out of the property.
There are also items available to block your toilet and waste unit but can be expensive; a good football or tennis ball will work just as well.