Insurance Cover for Building and Contents
Landlords and Estate Agents renting out property should advise tenants they are responsible for insuring their personal belongings.
Many tenants believe the landlord is responsible for loss or damage to their personal property. And of course they are not…!
Threat of Flooding?
Keep listening to weather forecasts. Check the Environmental Agency website for flood updates.
Be Prepared in Advance
If you are flooded you may not have time to find important items you will need.
Get to know your neighbours, plan and work together, if the inevitable happens you will be able to support each other rather than face it alone. Call family and friends, anyone that may be able to help you. Leave contact telephone numbers with neighbours if you are away from home.
- Keep building, contents, car and pet insurance documents, a large note book and pens in a in a container upstairs. Make sure it is easily seen and easy to get.
- Programme essential telephone numbers into mobile and landline telephones. Insurance companies, medical emergency, vets, Thames water, environmental agency, Council.
- Make sure mobile phones are fully charged.
- Torches, battery lights, spare batteries. Anything that will give you light.
- Put candles in sturdy containers with sand, earth, cat litter so they cannot fall over.
- Stuff plastic bags in air bricks if you don’t have covers.
- Sand bags.
- Waders, wellington boots, thick socks, water proof coats and trousers, gloves.
- Have medication in a safe place.
- Pack warm clothing, wash bag, mobile chargers in a case for the family.
- Changes of warm clothing dry footwear ready to change into.
- Have toys, games, favourite toys, and blankets for children.
- Pets-cat litter, beds, food, toys and travel carrier, leads.
- Know where to turn electricity off.
- Shovels, bin liners to dig gardens up.
- Bottled water, (brandy, and whisky for when you are wet and cold).
- Prepare sandwiches, snacks, hot drinks.
- Check elderly or infirm neighbours.
- Secure loose items in gardens.
- Lift electrical items and plugs off of floors.
- Move vehicles away from flood area to higher ground.
Look and Listen for Warning Signs
- Foul smell coming from sink.
- Water not running down the sink.
- Gurgling noise and water coming up the sink.
- Water not going down the toilet.
- Listen for water rushing down the sewer – water may be flowing down drains, but if pumping station not working. Water will start to build up around drain and will rise quickly.
- Keep checking, first signs of rising water, warn your neighbours.
- Make sure children and pets are upstairs, give the children something to occupy and take their minds off what is happening. Don’t let children outside when area is flooding. They will find it exciting but it is dangerous for them outside with all that will be happening.
- Look for objects that may cause danger if submerged under water, e.g. branches, dustbin lids, anything that could cause injury if trodden on.
- Don’t remove drain covers of any kind this will cause severe injury and even death should someone fall in.
- Start ringing the relevant agency – be prepared for a long wait to get through.
- Note the operators name, the time they answered and the duration of the call. Give as much information as you can, e.g. Number of properties at risk, infirm or ill residents that may need to be evacuated. What level of urgency they give you. Make sure you get the call out time they issue to deal with your incident.
- Start filling bin bags with earth to boost sand bags. If you are not able to help outside, hot drinks, snacks will be very welcome to those outside. Keep monitoring water levels, check to see if water has entered your home, if it is reaching electrical sockets turn off electricity and leave your home.
- Make the decision to move children to friends and relatives, one less thing to worry about.
- If water has entered your home, are you able to stay upstairs. If not leave.
- In our case water reached a certain level and stopped.
- Call your insurance companies and report your claim. Write handlers name, the date and time your call was answered and the claim reference number. Keep your book and pens together and in a safe place.
- Rest, food and drink are very important. You will be emotionally drained and feel under pressure for the next few days. It can be very upsetting and will be very tiring.
You will be given a lot of information by your insurance companies. You will get calls from restoration companies, accommodation agency, loss adjusters, and builders. There may also be visits from agencies concerned with the flooding, e.g. Thames Water.
- Car insurers will appoint a garage to check and make repairs to your car. You have the right to ask for your car to be taken to the garage you use, you know them and they know and will have the history of your car.
- Insurance company will offer alternate accommodation, hotel or rented property.
- A “restoration” company will be appointed to remove ruined items. This entails ripping out carpets, flooring, furniture, white goods. Anything that has been standing in water will go. Watching your home being torn apart and thrown away is upsetting. At the time it’s not much consolation being told it will soon be as good as new and everything will be new. Each item will be listed by Make and model and if some items are undamaged will be photographed and put into storage.
- Dehumidifiers will be put into your home to dry it out. The restoration company will come back over the coming weeks to monitor the drying levels.
- Loss adjusters will come to your home and list the areas that will be repaired and replaced. Contents will be listed and will be replaced by an appointed retailer or a cheque may be sent to cover the cost of replacement items.
- The loss adjuster will appoint a building company to visit, some adjusters will ask if you would like to use builders of your own, they will list and quote for the repairs. This is your home, make sure you are aware what the builders have been asked to do and point out anything that has been missed.
- Remember you were there at the time of flooding and will have noticed where water entered your home, this may not be evident after the event as a lot of things will have changed.
- Once your home is dry, a drying out certificate will be issued and the loss adjuster/builders will let you know the start date work will begin.
- You will be asked to choose paint colours/wallpaper, furniture, white goods. Anything ruined will be replaced on a like to like basis.
- You will have a lot of contact with your loss adjusters. This can be time consuming, frustrating and demoralising. Don’t weaken take a deep breath and remind them you are the client, it is your home and you are the one who has bought and paid for it.
- Finally your house will be ready for you to move back.
Some have found it emotional and unsettling; memories of the past months tend to creep to the surface.
Some people need a settling in period to get used to the peace and quiet of their familiar but new home environment. This is normal after the unpleasant ordeal that has been gone through.
Allow yourself the luxury of closing your front door, sit back, relax, it’s time to come to terms with what has happened and move forward.
This guide was created for you by one of the members of the Ash Vale Flood Action Group when they were flooded between December/January 2013/2014.