Home insurance - Avoid a washout

With increasing numbers of incidents of flooding every year, choosing the right insurance policy can be vital to protecting your valuables from flood damage.

After the waters have receded, your first step should be to contact your insurance company - most of which have 24 hour help lines - and don't worry if you can't find your policy documents as your insurer will have you on the database.

If your building and contents cover are with separate companies you may need to put in two calls, and if your vehicle has suffered damage as a result you'll need to contact your motor insurer - bearing in mind that you'll only be able to make a claim if you have fully comprehensive cover.

It is advisable to contact your home insurance company before arranging emergency repairs, keeping any receipts for work undertaken in order to claim.

Take photographs if you are able to as this could help your claim, and don't just throw equipment away as it could affect a loss adjusters' assessment.

In the event of severe flood damage, you may have to be moved to an emergency shelter whilst restorative work is being carried out on your house.

Your house insurance provider will usually ask you to approve any temporary accommodation before your stay begins and will most likely have a limit on how much will be paid towards your stay. This will typically be around the 20% of the sum insured; if you spend more than this you are likely to be liable for the cost.

It could take months for insurers to process your claim and arrange payouts, however you may be offered interim payments in order to help you buy essentials and to help with short-term expenses.

If you are unable to return to your home for a long time after flooding, the 20% limit should stand. Insurers have said they will continue to offer flood cover to as many homeowners as possible and many have said they would allow customers to renew their existing cover.

However if you're looking to take precautions and take out home insurance to protect your possessions against flooding it's best to shop around but also to be cautious - as you may be offered a policy that would pay out in other circumstances but not if you end up if you suffer flood damage.

by David Collins


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