So, you’re unlucky enough to have suffered damage to your property from Storm Ciara. Hopefully, by now you’ve contacted your insurance company to make a claim and started the (long) conversation about what the next steps are and what you need to do to get your property back to normal.
Unfortunately, you’re not alone. The sooner you log your claim, the better, as your insurance company could be dealing with hundreds of recent claims. The upshot is it could be up to a week until you see a Loss Adjuster. In the meantime, you may need to find somewhere to live (if the damage is bad), while maintaining a somewhat “normal” life – you still need to go to work, feed the kids, do your laundry etc…
At Action Insurance Repair, we’ve worked with hundreds of clients who suffered a similar predicament, and we understand how overwhelming dealing with the aftermath feels like. With that in mind, we wanted to put together our top tips and advice to help you navigate the insurance claim process. The first question most clients have is Am I covered by insurance or not?
In most cases, the damage caused by storms and flooding is covered by standard buildings insurance policies. That said, you need to read your policy for any exclusions, endorsements and increased excesses. Start by reading through the policy and make sure you’re happy with all of it. The next step is to make sure you are certain that you have complied with the T & C’s of your policy and gave truthful and accurate information when taking out the policy. If this is the case, then your insurer should accept liability.
If you don’t have insurance then contact the National Flood Forum charity, who will be able to advise you on what to do next.
Once the initial shock of finding your home flooded has passed, you should start working on the following:
If the damage to your property made it impossible for you to continue living there, you will need to find accommodation – and remember, it might take several months before you can go back to the property. If you can afford to stay in a hotel for a few nights until you sort out semi-permanent accommodation then do. A better – and less costly – option might be to stay with friends or family for a bit.
However, until your insurance company has accepted liability for your claim any costs that you incur are done so at your risk so when it comes to spending, it may be best to act as if you have no insurance and make decisions on that basis.
Undertake any emergency work to the property.
After you’ve pumped out the floodwater, consider drying out the property using a dehumidifier and/or other equipment. Remember to keep all the receipts so that you can request to be reimbursed for any costs should insurers accept liability for your claim.
According to the insurance company, you have a responsibility to make sure the damage doesn’t get any worse. If the carpets are sodden then take them up and store them somewhere. Do the same with any rugs. Just make sure you DO NOT throw anything away until someone from the insurance company has been out to see the damage.
Document the damage.
Take photographs of where the water line is, what furniture has been damaged, the inside of rooms that have been ruined etc. If you can, take a video with your phone as well to show water entering the property as this can be very helpful for your claim.
Replace the necessary items.
If you need a washing machine because your current one was damaged in the flood, then buy it. Even if the insurance company reject your claim, a washing machine is a pretty much essential household item these days. Same applies to a cooker, freezer and any appliances you simply cannot live without.
Get a loss assessor
You will need to appoint a loss assessor to deal with your claim on your behalf. Insurance claims are a tricky thing to navigate and storms and flooding can prove extremely stressful, so it’s important to get an assessor you like and feel you can trust.
That said, it can be easy to mix up the terms loss assessor and loss adjuster, so we want to quickly point out the difference between the two.
Briefly, a loss assessor is ‘on your side’ while a loss adjuster works for the insurance company. The first negotiates on your behalf in terms of the \value of goods, cost of damage etc. The second often works to minimise the settlement or refuse your claim altogether.
With years of experience working with similar cases, we’ve seen and heard it all. From loss assessors who simply don’t respond to contractors who don’t seem to understand just how stressful these situations are.
We know of homeowners who have now been flooded for the second time around so they now know the ropes. However, they feel that their personal claims advisor/loss adjuster is either out of depth or not working in their best interests. In fact, only this week we met a couple who had a terrible time with a loss adjuster after being flooded on Boxing Day 2015. Phone calls and emails to their adjuster were ignored. As a result, when the claim was settled they were left with a financial shortfall, just to get their property back to its original pre-storm condition.
We’ve also heard householders complain about the contractors their insurance company has appointed. Some witnessed ‘Laurel and Hardy’ type scenes, where companies turned up to install drying equipment before the property had even been stripped out!
When you choose to work with Action Insurance Repair, you can rest-assured situations like that will never happen. You will always be able to contact us directly on our mobile number and we won’t ask you to pay our invoice until you sign a note saying you’re completely satisfied with the work. Don’t take our word on this, see for yourself by reading our Google reviews.
We work alongside several loss assessors, and can also help you get a good loss assessor and he/she will coordinate your claim from start to finish. From helping with your insurance claim to organising emergency works, handling the clean-up and undertaking the remedial work, our team of insurance specialist is on hand ready to help. Contact us today and find out how we can help you!