It seems that weather conditions are becoming increasingly unpredictable in recent years, with many homeowners dealing with severe flooding for the first time. It’s the worst time to find out that your home insurance won’t adequately protect and compensate you.
This article can help increase your chances of making a successful insurance claim in the event of a flood.
Are you at risk?
It’s easy to ignore potential problems such as flooding, especially if there are no obvious signs of previous flooding at the property and it isn’t a common problem area. Remember it’s not just homes located next to rivers and seas which are at risk, rising ground water, burst water mains, sewer overflows and rainfall can all cause unexpected and severe flood damage.
You won’t know your home’s vulnerability to flooding until it is too late, so if you’re concerned you can carry out a flood risk assessment on the property. Environmental agencies may also be able provide useful information about the flood risk in your area.
Take all reasonable steps to protect your property from flood damage. This could include sealing up a roof to ensure that there are no leaks, and by having proper drainage in the basement (handy guide here). This may reduce your flood risk and in turn could reduce the cost of your insurance premiums.
Research insurance policies
Insurance providers will offer different levels of flood cover in their policies. Basic policies will usually cover the architecture of the property, i.e. its exterior/interior walls, floors, ceilings etc. Any adjoining buildings such as garages or sheds will also need to be insured separately.
Often you’ll need to upgrade the policy in order to obtain protection for your possessions within the property, including furniture, furnishings and electrical devices. Insurers will conduct their own flood risk assessment of the property, and obviously the cost will depend on the flood risk, so having the results of your own independent assessment can be highly empowering when negotiating.
Making a Claim
If you are hit with flood damage then ensure that you record all damage with photographic or video evidence, marking water lines on the wall if they begin to recede. If damage needs urgent professional repair then seek advice from your insurance company immediately. The insurer may be able to provide reputable and reliable tradespeople if you are unable to find the right person for a particular repair. Keep the receipts of this work so you can present it to your insurer, and they may be able to reimburse you. The insurer may be able to provide reputable and reliable tradespeople if you are unable to find the right person for a particular repair.
When communicating with the insurer keep records of all correspondence, including making notes regarding any telephone communications. When you make a claim inevitably an insurer will appoint a loss adjuster to reduce the insurer’s financial liability. An insurance loss assessor helps individuals to make insurance claims. A loss assessor works on behalf of the claimant to maximise their payout.
Flooding can cause significant damage to a home and everything contained within it, so take steps to secure your home and consider appointing an insurance loss assessor when making flood claims to maximise your pay-out.
Alan Cairns writes on a number of subjects including home insurance policies and independent loss adjusters in the UK.