Make sure you can get flood insurance

If you’re moving to a low-lying area, flood insurance is something you must consider when purchasing your next home. Water can cause substantial damage to homes and property so make sure you’re adequately covered should the worst happen.

UK Government cuts to funding for flood defence schemes across England and Wales could lead to increased destruction of homes and businesses, the country’s economy, and to coastal erosion.

flood sign

The environment secretary, Caroline Spelman, has acknowledged that the flood risks are rising because of climate change but imposed an annual cut of over 20 per cent on flood defence spending. One in six properties in the UK are at risk of flooding, according to the Environment Agency.

The changes could leave more than 50,000 households unprotected by flood defences. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) issued a press release in November 2010 showing that the cost of flood damage since 2000 has leapt by 200 per cent. Insurers who were heavily hit by claims from recent devastating floods will “inevitably” seek to increase premiums or refuse cover altogether, industry experts have said.

Owners of properties next to the Thames will be most at risk, but premiums across London could rise by as much as 10 per cent. The insurance industry has pledged to guarantee cover even to those living in flood-prone areas, under the Statement of Principles on Flood Insurance, but this runs out in 2013. Malcolm Tarling, of the Association of British Insurers has been quoted as saying “The environment Agency has said flood spend needs to double each year just to keep pace with current flooding.”

Read the rest of this post on the Pickfords Moving Advice Centre.

How to choose a removals company

Moving house is a massive event and it’s crucial to get the right removals company to help you. As the old saying goes, not all removal companies are the same and there’s plenty of choice out there in the market, so here are a couple of pointers to help you decide.

Moving DayTake a recommendation
Word of mouth recommendations are a great way to find a reliable removals company. You can also look at social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to see how frequently each company engages with its customers and how they handle queries or issues raised via these sites.

Getting in touch
A reputable removals firm will give you as many options as possible to get in touch, hinting at a business that has the resources to handle you professionally. If the only contact information you can find on their website is a mobile number, think twice about making the call.

What insurance do they offer?
Any handling of goods is a risky business so household effects are at risk during a home move. Different removals companies offer different cover, so it is worth taking some time to understand the difference, as not all removals insurance is the same.

Do you have valuable or, fragile items?
We all have something that is particularly special to us, so check to see how your moving company handles fragile and valuable items. Most professional companies will use different packing materials to protect unusual items and may use export packing or crating to protect the goods.

Do their customers back up their claims?
Positive endorsements of a product or service are one of the strongest factors in making a decision to buy, so when doing your research pay attention to what people say about them.

How do they approach security?
There aren’t many occasions when you freely welcome complete strangers into your home so you should feel comfortable that they are well-trained, professional and above all, trustworthy. Check to see whether their staff are CRB-checked – this is a process administered by the Criminal Records Bureau, a government agency, and ensures that businesses are aware of any convictions held by prospective new recruits.

Do they have quality standards?
Many removal companies use quality management systems as a management tool to ensure they deliver consistent service. Check to see if the company has a formal approach to managing quality, or carries a quality accreditation to help them maintain their quality standards

What is their approach to the environment?
Dealing with a company that is sympathetic to the environment should not cost you any more. Check to see that the company recycles packing materials and timber and has a system in place to ensure its business does not impact its local community.

This post was taken from the Moving Advice Centre on www.pickfords.com. To read more useful hints and tips around the moving process, just click here.