Flood advice from the Association of British Insurers

With many parts of the country experiencing flood warnings, the Association of British Insurers is reminding policyholders not to get bogged down.

The ABI advises homeowners to keep up-to-date with the flood situation, through local radio and the Environment Agency&#39s Floodline (0845 988 1188 ).

And it says those worried about flood risks should keep personal documents, including insurance and bank details, and essential telephone numbers together in a waterproof bag.

A spokesman says: “If safe to do so, move property on lower floors to higher levels. Be prepared to turn off essential supplies- gas, electricity and water- at the mains.”

If flooding causes property damage, policyholders should contact their insurer as soon as they can. Many insurers offer a 24-hour emergency helpline service, which can arrange for repairs to be carried out as quickly as possible.

With some two million properties currently vulnerable to flooding, a new Statement of Principles, which came into effect on 1 January 2003, reaffirms the commitment of insurers to continue to provide flood insurance to as many flood —vulnerable properties as possible.

Under the Statement, which will be followed by ABI members, flood insurance will continue to be offered to flood-risk properties currently protected to the Government&#39s minimum defence standards, and to those properties where improvements to existing defences to bring them up to the minimum standard, are planned to be completed by 2007. And where someone moves home, the existing insurer will continue to offer flood cover to the new purchaser.