Floods: How to handle home insurance claimsThousands of properties damaged by flooding
04 January 2016
Which? experts share advice on how to deal with your home insurance company if your home is affected by flooding.
More flood warnings have been issued across the UK today, with storms and heavy rainfall expected to damage thousands of properties.
Follow our step-by-step guide to making a flood damage claim to your home insurance company.
Find out what your home insurance covers
Most standard buildings insurance policies will cover the costs of restoring your home and its fixtures and fittings. The cost of removing debris, professional fees (legal fees, surveyors, architects etc.) are also likely to be covered. The cost of the repair or replacement of damaged furniture and other belongings should be covered by your contents insurance.
It's worth checking whether your insurer will cover the cost of spoiled perishable goods and any short-term cleaning or repairs you make to your property yourself. If you're unable to stay in your home, find out whether you're covered for the cost of alternative accommodation.
Also, check whether your home insurance provider will cover the cost of improving your home's flood defences to prevent further damage in the future.
- Which? has rated 39 of the biggest home insurance companies based on customer satisfaction and policy score. Find out which are rated best and worst in our home insurance reviews
Speak to your home insurance company
Insurers like to handle large claims as soon as possible, especially in the case of a flood or a fire. Most provide a 24-hour emergency helpline to call if your home is hit by flooding.
You'll need to make an appointment for a loss adjuster to visit your property and identify what repairs and replacements are needed.
Make sure the insurer has your contact details in case they need to get hold of you at any stage.
Find out more: claiming on your home insurance – more tips for a hassle-free claim
Keep records of everything
Make a list of the damage to your property and belongings and their value. Take photographs of all damaged property too. Don’t throw anything away unless you are told to.
Make a note of all the telephone calls you make to your insurance company. Include the date and time of your call, who you spoke to and anything that was agreed.
Keep copies of all documents sent to or received from your insurer as well as third parties. Also, gather together any receipts you have for damaged property or services bought as a result of flooding. This will help you make an accurate claim and receive compensation for emergency work that needs to be carried out.
Find out more: home insurance claims satisfaction survey – dozens of insurers rated
How to complain about your home insurance company
If you are unhappy about the way your claim is handled, you should complain directly to your home insurance provider.
If the claim is rejected or hasn’t been resolved within eight weeks, you can take it to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).
Know your rights: complaining about your home insurance provider – our consumer rights guide