My client has made a home insurance claim following the recent storms and has been in touch to ask what they should do and what they can expect to happen next. What advice can I offer to help reduce the worries and uncertainty they are experiencing?
Recent storms have left devastation in their wakes and many homeowners’ futures are now in the hands of their insurers. Those clients covered by a major home insurer will fare best as they have the scale to respond most effectively – it’s at this point that the benefits of a thorough policy will help clients most.
Until an insurer is able to arrange alternative accommodation or carry out a home visit, those affected should follow any instructions given by local councils or The Environment Agency. The most important advice to give is to avoid tampering with electrics or any other utilities as this becomes extremely dangerous and could invalidate a claim.
Further advice you can offer clients is to take the following precautions when they receive a flood warning:
- Move valuables or irreplaceable items upstairs
- Ensure you have access to food, drinking water and a fully-charged mobile phone
- Switch off utilities at their source
- Invest in sandbags – these can really make all the difference.
Unfortunately, the drying out process and repairs can take a very long time. Moreover, badly flooded homes usually require specialist treatment and a lot of ground floor re-plastering.
Where clients have experienced multiple flood events, it’s worth advising them to ask their insurer about the possibility of doing what’s called a ‘resilient repair’. This means that the ground floor utilities are water proofed and the plastering repairs are resilient to water damage, so there is much less disruption following any future flood and clients can return to normal much more quickly.
By being armed with the best possible advice, advisers can go some way to help their clients feel like Christmas isn’t cancelled entirely.