Flooding & escape of water - making a claim
If your home is affected by flooding, there are things you can do to help deal with it as quickly and painlessly as possible. Here are the most important things to do, after making sure everyone is safe:
- Contact your insurer, and have your policy documents to hand if possible.
- Make an accurate record of all the damage (if you can, take photos of every room).
- If possible, use a permanent pen to mark the level the flood water reached on the walls - keep one handy in case you need it.
- Make a list of all your damaged possessions and take photos before you throw anything away.
- Don’t forget about the food in your cupboards and freezer. If you need to throw out defrosted food, for example, your insurance policy might also cover you for this.
Did You Know...? Your insurer will recommend a company to carry out the repair work to your home. While you're free to choose alternative suppliers, if they charge more than the insurer’s budget for any reason, you may not be covered for the full cost of the work, so always check.
How to make a claim
Six things you need to know:
1. If you own the home you live in, call up your insurer and tell them you are making a claim because of a flood. If you have different insurers for your home and its contents then you will need to contact them both, if your home contents are damaged.
2. If you live in rented accommodation, you will need to contact your landlord to deal with the building insurance. You will be responsible for the contents insurance so you will need to contact your contents insurer. Also, check with your landlord whether they will provide alternative accommodation.
3. The insurer might send a loss adjuster round to assess the cost of the damage, and if your policy includes alternative accommodation while flood damage repairs are made to your home, they can make these arrangements too. Make sure your insurer gives you as clear an idea as possible about the process and what you can expect. For example, how long it will take to process your claim.
“A loss adjuster may need to visit your home to assess the damage and specialist cleaning and drying companies may need to be employed. Severe flood damage can take a long time to repair, but as long as you have taken out the right level of cover, your insurer should support you right through the flood restoration process, however many days, weeks or months it takes.”
4. Be aware that the assessor may not be able to come out immediately, but in the meantime, try to leave any damaged items where they are until the loss adjuster sees them. Ensure they have the right contact details for you and can gain access to your home.
5. When making a claim, keep a record of all contact with your insurer, including who you spoke to, when and what was agreed, and keep hold of any letters, emails and receipts for repair work.
6. With most insurance policies, the insurer will deduct a pre-agreed amount from the pay-out for any claim you make - this is known as the policy ‘excess’. Be aware of this, and check what level of excess has been agreed before you call, so it doesn’t come as a surprise.
Remember, your insurer is there to help.