Home insurance advice for flood-hit property owners

Torrential rains in Yorkshire and the north-eastern parts of the UK have left much destruction in their wake. Particularly hard-hit have been home-owners who must now face the prospect of reconstruction and filing insurance claims. Whilst many insurance companies have set up special help lines for flood-hit property owners, making an insurance claim can still be a rather complicated process. There are also a number of key issues that you should bear in mind if you have been a victim of the recent flooding and have suffered damage to your property.

  • First, it is vital to inform your insurance provider as soon as possible. This will allow them to deal with your situation quickly and thus provide you with the relevant advice. It is likely that your provider will have set up a 24 hour helpline to deal with the large number of worried home owners seeking assistance.
  • Whilst it makes sense to carry out essential repairs, ensure that you only engage in the more complex repairs after receiving the go-ahead from your insurance provider. Otherwise, you might find yourself in the undesirable position of having to foot the bill for these repairs yourself. Also ensure that you keep all the receipts for the repairs you undertake.
  • Move your valuables to a safe location in your house (for example, the upper floors).
  • Do not dispose of any furniture unless your insurance provider has acknowledged the damage and agreed to compensate you for your loss. It might be wise to check with your insurance provider as to whether it is possible for them to move you to an alternate location. In certain cases this might be part of your home insurance policy.
  • Finally, remember � safety first! Do not consume tap water unless you have been told that it is safe to do so by your local authority. Do not turn on the electricity or gas � be cautious about potential gas leaks.

Once the flood waters have subsided, there are a number of tasks you need to undertake to make your home more habitable.

  • Heavy rains can cause corrosion. It is therefore advisable to oil locks and hinges.
  • You will also need to dry and air your home to prevent the growth of mould and fungi � these flourish in damp environments. Also leave your windows and doors open to bring some fresh air into your home.
  • Once you have obtained the approval of your insurance company, disinfect your home, washing down affected walls and surfaces.

Finally, even if you have not been hit by flooding, it might be an idea to go through your insurance policy to ensure that you are aware of its terms and conditions. As the experience of flood-hit home owners demonstrates, there is no telling when the worst could happen, it is therefore essential to be prepared.