How to make an insurance claim after flooding

If you’ve been unfortunate enough to be affected by the recent flooding and your home has been damaged, then we understand that you'll be feeling upset and shocked by the experience. There are things that you can do now to speed up your home insurance claim and get back into your home as soon as possible. By following the advice given here you should be able to ensure that your insurance claim progresses smoothly and quickly.

Check your home insurance policy

If you have separate contents and buildings insurance, then you will need to claim under both policies, or if your home and contents are covered under the same policy then you will need to make only one claim.

Check your policy documents and find out exactly what you are covered for.

Inform your insurers

If you own your home than you should contact your insurers as quickly as possible to inform that your home has been flooded and that you intend to make a claim. If you have had to move out of your home then make sure your insurers know how to contact you.  If you have separate insurers for contents and buildings then you will need to inform both of them.

If you rent your home then your landlord should deal with the buildings insurance and the insurance on the landlord’s contents. You should ask them if they have done this. If you have your own contents insurance then you will need to inform your insurer too.

Arrange to meet the loss adjuster

Your insurers will want to send a loss adjuster to inspect the damage and it’s important that you arrange a date to meet with them, or at the very least a date on which they will contact you to arrange a meeting. Many insurance companies contract a separate company to provide these services.

You will be given a claim number, so make sure that you keep a record of it.

Gather flood damage information

You should make a record of the details of the flood and the damage that it caused.

  • If possible photograph all the damaged property. Include any damage to the buildings, walls, floors and fixtures and any items that you have to discard or that you have taken out of your home.
  • Note the maximum height of the flood waters, and mark them on the walls with a marker pen or tape.
  • Make a list all damaged items and any that have been lost.
  • If you have lost food, for instance from your freezer, then make a note of that too.

Keep a diary

With so much going on it is easy to forget details, so it advisable to keep a record of what you have been told by your insurance company and by the loss adjuster.

You should also keep records of all other communications such as letters, emails and text messages. Keep them all together so that you can refer to them easily.

If you need to have any emergency work carried out that you have paid for then make sure you keep your receipts.

Disposing of items

If you need to dispose of damaged items then inform your insurance company that you intend to do so and get their agreement. Also photograph the items before you dispose of them.

Progressing the claim

Your insurers will advise you of the next stages and provide you with a plan for restoring your home, but if your home has been badly flooded it could be six months to a year before you are able to move back in. Most flood claims progress smoothly, but if you have any problems you can make a formal complaint to your insurer. If that fails then your next step is contact the Financial Ombudsman Service.

We advise the businesses follow a similar process, but in the case of a dispute, contact one our specialist insurance claim solicitors.

You should also read our article on what the Government is doing to help flood victims to see if there are any financial benefits you can take advantage of during this uncertain time.

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