We’ve seen a great deal of change in our weather over the past few years and are told there is more to come. In the past twelve months we’ve had drought, flood, grey clouds, sunshine, snow and freezing temperatures. Whilst, on paper, that sounds like a normal year much of it has been extreme, veering from temperatures in minus double figures to the highest ever recorded in the UK.
Whether you believe in climate change or not, you can’t deny that our weather is certainly ringing the changes. The old saying of ‘plan for the worst, hope for the best’ sounds like a good idea.
For instance, if your home is at danger of flooding it might be worth taking a look at the ABI (Association of British Insurers) flood guide, recently re-issued. ‘Responding to Floods: What you need to know’ is designed to help those impacted by flooding and offers reassurance on the role that insurers can play to support the recovery process.
The guide gives advice on how to minimise the impact of flooding, what to do if you have been flooded and what to expect during the claims process. For those who have experienced flooding or who are living in an at-risk area, it sets out everything you need to know.
Four key steps to minimise the potential impact of flooding:
Step 1 – Assemble a flood kit containing your mobile phone and chargers, contact telephone numbers, any current medication, torch, battery, radio, insurance policy details, rubber gloves, wet wipes, hand cleaning gel, first aid kit and bottled water.
Step 2 – Ensure your pets are cared for and are safe from flooding.
Step 3 – Move valuable, sentimental or essential items upstairs or to a high place and, if it is safe to do so, consider moving your car to an area less likely to flood.
Step 4 – Fit any property level resilience measures where possible such as flood gates or air brick covers.
In the event that your home is flooded, here’s the ABI’s six flood recovery steps:
Step 1 – Contact your insurer as soon as possible. They will advise you on arranging emergency accommodation if necessary (or any temporary alternative trading premises if you are a business with business interruption cover), the information they will need from you to support your claim, and how to go ahead with the immediate clean-up and repair process.
Step 2 – Assessing the damage and finding temporary accommodation. A loss adjuster will be appointed to assess the claim. An initial assessment of the damage will be done, the repair process explained and the options for alternative accommodation outlined. You should expect to hear from your loss adjuster after contacting your insurer and they will get in touch if they need to arrange a visit to your home.
Step 3 – Cleaning and stripping out. Your loss adjuster will organise the cleaning and stripping out of your home. This work should start within 4 weeks of discussing it with your loss adjuster.
Step 4 – Disinfecting and drying your home. Your insurer or loss adjuster will appoint a drying company to disinfect and dry out your home. This can take from a few weeks to several months. Your loss adjuster will give you a timetable and keep you informed.
Step 5 – Repair and reconstruction. Repair work should begin shortly after you get your drying certificate from the drying company. Your loss adjuster will appoint a builder to do the repair and reconstruction work and will keep you updated on expected timeframes.
Step 6 – Moving back into your home. Your insurer or loss adjuster will discuss with you when you can return home. Depending on how badly damaged your home is, this can be between a few weeks and a year or more after the flood.
Callum Tanner, Manager, General Insurance at the ABI says: “When flooding strikes it can be incredibly stressful and upsetting, and we hope that our guide offers reassurance to those affected. Insurers expect flooding at any time, and helping people recover as quickly as possible is their top priority. The golden rule is: if you have been affected by flooding, contact your insurer as soon as possible so that they can get you on the road to recovery.”
The ABI’s guide to recovering from a flood and what to expect from your insurer can be found here.