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Help with claiming for flood damage

Help with claiming for flood damage

Category: Insurance

Updated: 27/07/2017
First Published: 12/02/2014

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

With thousands of homes being affected by the ongoing flooding in Britain, many households are going to be making claims on their insurance.

After the trauma of losing precious possessions, it may feel like nothing will sort the mess out, but recouping some money to help you get back on track is the best way to start returning to normality.

But where do you begin?

Here's a quick overview of the steps you can take, helping you navigate through the process of making a claim for flood damage:

  • Firstly, you will want to check your policy and the level of cover that it offers to ensure you're clear in your own head on what you can claim for.
  • The next step is to call your insurance company to log your claim and get as much advice as you can – many have a 24 hour helpline. Make sure you do this as quickly as possible to get ahead of any backlog and get the ball moving.
  • Ensure you keep records of everything to do with the claim, including the name of the person you are dealing with, the time and date of the call and anything that is agreed during the conversation. This includes keeping a copy of any electronic correspondence that may take place.
  • If you've had to move out of your home due to severe flood damage rendering it uninhabitable, ensure you give your insurer the address of where you are staying. Keep a record of the hotel bills and all extra spending as this may be covered by your policy too.
  • You may need to have some emergency repair work carried out on your property immediately to ensure things don't get any worse. If so, keep all the receipts as you should be able to claim this back. However, don't carry out any non-emergency work or get tradesmen in until you have been given the go-ahead from the insurer, and don't throw anything away as it may be needed to assess the claim.
  • To help the claim go through smoothly, and to ensure you receive all the help that is owed to you, it's advisable to analyse the situation yourself. Take photos and video of the damage that has been done, mark on the wall the highest level the water has risen to, list all the damage to your house and belongings and even keep samples of things such as carpets to prove the quality of furnishings etc.
  • If you need to make a large claim for severe damage, the insurance company will probably want to send a loss adjuster to assess the damage. Ask when this will be as they should contact you within 24 hours and visit within three days, although this can be delayed if there are a lot of cases. You can appoint your own loss adjuster, but bear in mind you will have to pick up the fees for this yourself.
  • When you have been given the green light to go ahead with the repair work make sure you are savvy about who you use. Many insurers will let you use your tradesman of choice but check this first and beware of cowboys cashing in on disasters; you may find these knocking door-to-door, and they may offer a less than adequate service for the money. Ensure you get receipts for all the work carried out.
  • At times of trouble, a few unscrupulous people take advantage of the situation and things like looting can take place. If you find any criminal damage to your property report this to the police straight away and get a reference number.
  • Your household contents may be covered by a different policy than your property. Make a list and photograph anything in your home which has been subject to flood damage, and remember that some insurers even offer cover for perishable goods – list these too, every bit counts. You can throw foods away but make a list and possibly picture the contents of the fridge/freezer before discarding it.
  • Once you've considered your property and its contents, you can then turn your mind to other insurances such as your vehicles. Most comprehensive motor policies cover flood damage too, so make sure to check what you could be owed.
  • Finally, if you are unhappy with the way any claims are being dealt with by your insurer, you are entitled to contact the Financial Ombudsman Service.

What Next?

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Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.