The long awaited arrival of spring time sunshine can only mean one thing – summer is around the corner. However, far from the wall-to-wall, May to August sunshine summer used to mean, British summer has become highly unpredictable, and floods have become commonplace in large parts of the country.
Perhaps we’ll get lucky this year. But in case we don’t, here’s a quick guide to dealing with flood damage claims.
Making Sure You’re Covered
As it became clear that floods were to become more common in the UK, the government made an agreement with insurers which commits them to renew insurance for existing policyholders, even in areas at relatively high risk of flooding. However, this deal runs out in July 2013, so if your home insurance is up for renewal and your home is at risk of flooding – now is the time to talk to your insurer about your options. Flood damage may continue to be covered by your home insurance, but once the agreement expires it may come at an expensive premium.
Making Your Claim
If you are unfortunate enough to experience flood damage, you should call your insurer or independent loss assessor immediately. They can arrange for repairs and alternative accommodation.
In the meantime, it’s always worth making your own record of damage:
- Use a permanent marker to mark the high point of flood water in each room affected
- Take photographs of damage
- Make a list of all your possessions that have been damaged (including fridge and other appliances)
- If your policy covers perishable goods, make a list of any food you have to throw away as a result of flood damage
Your insurer should arrange repairs for you. Understandably, most insurance companies will be keen to get you back into your home as soon as possible – as will you – just watch out that this doesn’t come at the expense of the appropriate repairs.
Flood damage requires specialist cleaning and stripping out. Ideally repairs will also be carried out with a view to reducing damage and cost next time (should there be one). It’s important to stay informed about what repairs are being done to ensure no corners are cut. An independent loss assessor can help with this.
As important as it is to call your insurers immediately, your first priority should always be to remain safe. If you have received warning that a flood is coming:
- Switch off all your electricity
- Disconnect pipes from any plumbed in appliances
- Move important documents (e.g. birth certificates) to higher ground
- Move electrical items to higher ground
After the flood:
- Never touch sources of electricity whilst standing in flood water. Do not switch your electricity supply back on. If you weren’t able to switch it off beforehand, call a professional .
- Wear protective gloves and wellies when doing anything in floodwater – it may be polluted.
Image courtesy of waterarchives on Flickr.