It is a very distressing time, and you often may react differently than the way you may normally do.
It is at times like these when you will really realize the benefits of insurance.And also the time when you find out whether your insurer is any good or not.
Even though i specialize in car insurance claims, i am going to right a guide to assist in how to claim for both.
The first thing to do in an event like this, is make sure your safe. I Cannot stress the importance of knowing where the electrical isolation switch is for your house.If you are aware in advance, i would suggest unplugging everything and taking to higher ground.And then turn your electric off if the water is flooding your house.
If the water HAS flooded your house, make sure your wearing wellingtons,and preferably rubber gloves, and turn your electric of at the mains switch.
My parents woke up to being flooded, and were very shocked by it,my father was only wearing shorts at the time, and on his bare skin touching the water succeeded in giving himself a few electric shocks on trying to turn the plug socket off near him whilst he was stood in the water.
So be careful, my father would not normally have done something as daft as that,and was clearly in shock and not thinking the way he normally would.
If you have been made aware through flood warnings, kit yourself up, torches a necessity,but also get your suitcases out and pack some clothes just in case.
Contact your insurer.
Before it floods, if you are aware, make sure your documents are accessible.
Make a note of the “emergency numbers” and save them on your phone, along with the claims number.
It may be worth while contacting your insurer BEFORE it floods to see if they can help provide flood defense’s , sandbags ect.
It surprises me that insurer’s are not pro-active in doing this, as it would save them a fortune.
Read your policy thoroughly, and check to see what you are covered for, and more importantly what your not.
Check to see what your excess amount is..(this is the first amount of any claim you must pay).
Making a claim
Contact your insurer, and they should make arrangements to get someone to assist you, to clear up and dry the property out.
Before you do anything in the house, i would suggest you do this to assist in your claim with the insurer.
1 Take lots of photos , start of from outside from whilst it is flooded to show the extent of flooding. Up and down your street and road.
The image from the front of your house,and walking into it, to show the extent and depth of floodwater, and also the colour.
2 Go room by room, photograph all round the room before you have moved anything , or cleaned everything.
Most people, if not everyone wants to just get stuck in and start clearing…it is much better to document everything first before you do this.
3 When the water has subsided, take the same photo’s as above to show the difference, photograph any tidemarks.
4 Make a list, start in one room, have someone photograph every item, have some right a list as the photograph is taken so they match up.
5 Make a note of the make model, serial number of everything!!!!.
6 Do not miss the obvious, carpets, sofa’s ,wall paper, walls, underlay, skirtings, tables, chairs…dead easy to forget them, as they are big , and you may not think about them.
Hallway, threshold,inner doors and frames, mantle pieces,ect..
7 Go through all your electrical items, and bag them up room by room, whilst you list them.
8 Doing this will really really help the loss adjuster’s , and makes their lives much easier.They will have loads of house’s to do, so the easier you make their lives, the faster your claim will be processed.
9 Make sure the claim is registered, take the names of everyone you speak too, whom they are, what they do, and the contact numbers you spoke to them on.
10 Keep a diary of all the above.
11 Type your list up, and save as a separate document.
12 Do A covering letter, or include it having the list below, and give a synopsis of the house and the local area and flood history.
13 Save all the information on a memory stick or cloud based system,keep copies, but also send to your insurer through your loss adjuster.
14 Your insurer should be making moves in drying your house out, determining a plan of work, so give them a few days from sending the information, and chase up.
15 At this stage the insurer may advise the claim is on without prejudice basis, this means they will act, but may not accept the claim. They want to make sure you have been truthful i the information provided at the inception of the policy. Once they are happy that everything is as it should be , they will accept the claim and authorise works.
16 Make the insurer aware of your financial status, and whether or not you can afford to rent an alternative place your self in the interim.If you have the appropriate cover in place, they should do everything for you in sourcing and paying for alternative accommodation.
If you do all the above,things should move smoothly, and it will then up to you to pay your excess, this may be too a trader person or the insurer.Keep a note of all trades people who work on your property , and ask for copies of they work they have been instructed to do.
Hopefully , things should now be moving in the right direction,, if you get stuck and need assistance , i will give free advice to anyone.