With thousands of homes flooded or destroyed by the winter storms and further treacherous conditions forecast, we have produced an easy five step guide on how to make a flood claim to your home insurer.
1. Check your home insurance policy covers for flooding
Before even getting a quote for a home insurance policy, you should check it covers you in the event of a flood. Use our Which? Recommended Providers for home insurance as a starting point.
Standard buildings insurance will often cover the costs of drying out and restoring your home and its fixtures and fittings. It also covers the cost of removing debris, professional fees (legal fees, architects and surveyors) and other charges incurred from flood damage.
Contents insurance covers the repair or replacement of damaged furniture and other belongings. Most policies also cover the cost of alternative accommodation.
However, it’s worth checking what coverage your policy extends to with your insurer or broker and to make sure any necessary additional clauses are added before signing up.
2. Flooded? Tell your insurer
If the worst should happen and your property is flooded, the first thing you should do is tell your insurance provider. Make sure you have all your details to hand, including your policy number, so the claim can be processed quicker.
Most insurers provide a 24-hour emergency helpline to call if your home is hit by flooding. The Association of British Insurers’ (ABI) website also lists the contact details of most insurers.
3. Ask your insurer what you’re entitled to
Ask your insurer when a loss adjuster will visit your property to identify what repairs and replacements are needed and are covered by your policy, and if necessary book an appointment.
Also find out whether they will help pay for any repairs to better prepare your property in the event of future flooding.
If your policy does cover the cost of alternative accommodation if you’re unable to stay in your home, ask what arrangements need to be made.
Also ask if you should clean your property and confirm that the insurer will pay for any service or equipment needed.
Finally, make sure the insurer has your contact details in case they need to get hold of you at any stage.
4. Keep records of the flood damage caused
Make a list of the damage to your property and belongings and their value. Mark the height of the flood water on your walls with a permanent marker in all the flooded rooms. Take photographs and videos of all damaged property.
If you are covered for lost perishable goods, list any food touched by floodwater and anything in your fridge or freezer ruined by a loss of power and throw them away. Don’t throw anything else away unless you are told.
Make a note of all the telephone calls you make to your insurer, including the name of the person you spoke to, the date and time of the call and anything that was agreed.
Keep copies of all the correspondence you send or receive from your insurer or any third parties, as well as any receipts you have or receive in order to make an accurate claim or receive compensation for emergency repairs or work that needs to be carried out. Visit Which? Local to find reputable tradesmen in your area or ask your insurer.
5. Making a complaint about your insurance provider
If you are unhappy about the way your claim is handled by an insurer and/or loss adjuster, you should complain to them in the first instance.
If your insurer hasn’t resolved your complaint within eight weeks, or has rejected it, you can take it to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).
Read our guide for more information and advice on how to complain about your insurer.