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What to do if the flood comes to your house

July 3, 2010

insurance

As parts of the UK languish underwater, devastated by the recent floods, many homes and businesses are finding themselves in the difficult position of not knowing whether they will be covered by their insurance policies.

According to recent advice from the insurance industry, those who have been affected by the floods should contact their contents and building insurer as soon as possible.

Jane Milne, the ABI’s Head of Property, said:

These events highlight just how important insurance protection is. If you have been affected by flooding, contact your insurance company. Their priority is to deal with all claims as quickly as possible.”

Following a deal between the government and the insurance industry back in 2008, the insurers agreed to continue to insure homes at risk of flood, as long as the government would increase its spending on flood defences. While last year there was an apparent £15m shortfall in spending, the government has claimed that this was simply a one-off. Despite the Governments assurances this shortfall has made some insurers a bit wary, and may potentially lead to future increases in premiums, difficulties changing providers, and problems for those wanting to take out new flood insurance policies where flooding has occurred in the past.

The news for current victims of the floods is however looking fairly positive, with the current official advice from the Association of British Insurers indicating that:

• Household and business insurance policies will cover flood damage. People affected should contact their insurer as soon as possible. Most offer 24-hour emergency helpline services to arrange for repairs to be carried out.

• Most policies will cover the cost of alternative accommodation (up to a specified limit) if you need to move out of your home while it is being repaired.

• Comprehensive motor insurance will cover damage caused to vehicles

They also state as part of the advice on their site that:

• If necessary arrange for temporary repairs to be carried out to stop any damage getting worse. Keep receipts, as these will be needed for your insurance claim.

• Do not use electricity or water supplies until the all clear is given.

• Where there has been flooding, disinfect floors and furnishings. Where practical, leave doors, windows and cupboards open. If possible, keep rooms heated.

• Do not rush to redecorate, as it may take some weeks for the property to fully dry out.

The BBC also advises that:

As insurers will expect you to take reasonable steps to protect your property, homeowners should, wherever possible, take easily moveable objects upstairs and use sandbags to hold back the water.

For the sake of safety, make sure the electrical supply is switched off at the mains and equipment unplugged.

Once the waters have receded, homeowners can take up carpets, but these, like all other damaged items, must be retained so that the insurance company loss adjuster can see them and verify the claim.

Many businesses have business interruption cover, which will help to pay the cost of alternative accommodation should it be required.

It should be noted that when a major flood event such as this takes place it can take months for insurers to pay out, so claimants may need to be patient.

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  • Sam

    Yo the Money Lion!As a financial guru I was wondering whether you could answer a query about bling bling.What’s the difference between “stocks” and “shares”?cheers the Money Lion, you are my favourite dinosaur.

  • the Money Lion

    Hi SamThanks for the query. RoarIn todays world, there is effectively very little difference between the two terms, and they have become interchangeable to refer to the certificates that denote part ownership of a particular company.RoarStock is a generic term for a portion of the ownership of a company.Shares indicate the number of portions of ownership of a particular company.e.g. a shareowner can have 50 shares of Dino Sauce PLC stock. In this example you can see that the shares refer to the amount of ownership of a particular company’s stock. If an investor owns stocks however, this technically means they have shares in multiple companies.At the end of the day in financial terms there is little difference, and the distinction is usually ignored.If you are talking culinary terms however a stock makes a nice soup, and I would like a a huge share of cherry pie, if you’ve got some, as I think those roars earlier were actually my stomach.

  • Bunc

    Thats a really useful post on the flooding issue