Tips on Dealing With Flooding – What Do You Expect From Your Home Insurer?

Hi there. Long time, no blog… we’ve been busy drying buildings!

A recent Association of British Insurers guidance note detailed how to respond to major floods, in particular what to expect from your home insurer in the days, weeks and months afterwards. An extracted summary of its main points is as follows:

If your home has been flooded:

If you have to move out of home due to flood damage and have building or contents insurance, your insurer will offer to provide or pay for the cost of appropriate alternative accommodation and other related additional expenses, such as removal and storage of undamaged property. If you have buildings cover, your insurer will dry, clean, repair and restore your home.

Contents cover usually allows for the repair or replacement of contents.

Step 1: Immediate aftermath

Contact your insurer as soon as possible.

Your insurer will assess the extent of damage to your home and possessions and will advise whether you need alternative accommodation.

A Loss Adjustor may be appointed to assess the damage in more detail and oversee the claim and restoration, depending on the scale of the damage.

Step 2: Assessing damage and finding temporary accommodation

Depending on the extent of the damage, your Loss Adjustor will either visit you or liaise over the telephone. If the home is severely damaged, the Loss Adjustor may appoint a surveyor to provide additional expertise.

If you need to move out of home, your insurance will usually cover the whole of your stay in alternative accommodation.

Most building and contents policies include up to 20% of the total insured value to cover alternative accommodation needs and associated costs. If you rent your home, your Landlord or Building Manager will know about the relevant insurance.

Step 3: Cleaning and stripping out

The Loss Adjustor will typically appoint a disaster restoration company to undertake this work.

Firstly the silt and debis left by flood is removed, together with checking gas and electricity supplies and appliances.

Stripping out will occur where necessary – likely to include removing damaged and wet furnishings and fittings and hacking off damaged plaster and woodwork, in order to facilitate proper drying out.

Separately, cleaning any valuable or personal items affected will need to be discussed with the Loss Adjustor.

Step 4: Disinfecting and drying your home

Your insurer/Loss Adjustor will most likely appoint a specialist drying company to disinfect and dry your home until it is certified dry enough for repair work to start.

Drying homes can take some time as floodwater can penetrate deep into the fabric of properties even if the flooding seems minimal and shallow. This deep-seated moisture can take a long time to move back through walls and floors, even if the surface appears dry. Full dryness is required so that repair work will be sustainable and damage doesn’t reappear in future.

Drying machines need to be left on for the duration of the period, as any downtime will extend the drying out period. Additional electricity costs incurred should be covered by your insurance.

Time required for drying your property can range from weeks to many months.

Step 5: Repair and reconstruction work

A building contractor is likely to be appointed to undertake the repair and reconstruction work. Your insurer is responsible for the work of builders they appoint. If you prefer, you may be able to use your own builder.

Your insurer can also discuss with you whether you want the repair works to include those which improve resistance and resilience to future flooding. If this doesn’t cost more than the cost of repairing your home to its pre-flood condition then your insurer will not charge for these changes.

Most contents policies will pay for the full cost of replacing damaged items with the equivalent new ones. If the value of your contents is more than the sum insured the settlement of your claim may be reduced to reflect this.

Step 6: Moving back into your home

You can discuss with your insurer the possibility of moving back into your home before work is completed. Your claim is settled once all the work has been completed and the outstanding payments have been made.

What if things go wrong?

If you feel unhappy about any aspect then contact your insurer. Beyond this, a formal complaint to your insurer and then to the Financial Ombudsnam Service are the remedies.

The above is extracted from an ABI document. If you require any further information on dealing with water damage issues or require dehumidifier hire then please contact us on 0800 078 6999.