Winter weather could lead to ‘serious damage’ to cars

Edinburgh: Cars attempt to drive through flood water

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The Government has urged drivers to prepare for floods this winter, following a year of “extreme” weather events. Since 1998, the UK has seen six of the 10 wettest years on record, with drivers being urged to take advice from experts to avoid car insurance problems when claiming.

Where possible, drivers should avoid standing water if they can and drive slowly and steadily in floods so they don’t make a bow wave.

Motorists are also advised to steer clear of flood water that is moving or more than 10cm (four inches) deep, letting approaching cars pass first.

If drivers have no option but to travel through flood water, they should test their breaks as soon as they can afterwards.

According to the AA, if people do get their cars stuck in flood water, it’s usually best to wait in the car and call for help rather than try to get out.

At least one in six people in England are at risk from flooding from rivers and the sea, with many more at risk from surface water flooding.

Julie Daniels, motor insurance expert at Comparethemarket, warned drivers of the massive threats they face in the event of a flood and what they can do to help themselves.

She said: “Heavy rainfall means flooding is a worry for many parts of the UK. Drivers should be aware that flooding can cause serious damage to cars and that not all types of car insurance will cover it.

“You may be able to claim for flood damage if you have fully comprehensive car insurance, but you should check the terms and conditions of your policy. 

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“It’s unlikely that your car will be covered for flood damage on a third-party fire and theft policy. You may only be covered if you’ve done what’s necessary to keep your car safe.” 

There are around 3,500 measuring stations and most are along main rivers and the coast of the United Kingdom.

To the relief of many, the Government flood alert service removed two flood warnings earlier this week at the River Esk and the River Yeo and Parrett.

The forecast flood risk across England for the next five days is judged to be “very low”, based on data from the Met Office and Environment Agency.

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Julie Daniels added: “Typically, insurance providers put flood damage into two categories. Unavoidable flood damage is if your car is flooded where it’s usually parked such as at home. 

“Avoidable flood damage is if you take risks like driving into a flooded area, despite warning alerts.

“If your car is submerged, don’t try to start the engine, even if the water has subsided as it might cause further damage. 

“Your insurer may also have its own ‘preferred repairers’ so avoid drying out or repairing the car yourself. 

“If you’re concerned about the risk of flooding and whether your car is covered, contact your car insurance provider for more information.”

In November, the Environment Agency issued almost 30 flood warnings in England, meaning flooding is expected, and over 100 flood alerts, meaning it is possible.

At the time, the Met Office warned of “atrocious” conditions as a result of heavy rain and snowfall in Scotland. 

Caroline Douglass, Executive Director of Flooding at the Environment Agency, said: “The message is clear – households risk ignoring the danger of flooding at their own peril.”

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