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Flood victims urged to claim quickly

home insurance

Homeowners affected by this week’s heavy rainfall are being urged to contact their insurers as quickly as possible to sort out repairs and compensation.

The most severe September storms in decades have caused widespread damage, largely through flooding, across the north of England in particular.

Mass evacuations

Areas such as Northumberland saw hundreds of families evacuated as rivers burst their banks.

The Met Office reported that some parts of the UK had received the equivalent of two months’ rain in just 48 hours.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said that those whose properties had been affected by the storms should get in touch with their insurers as soon as they could.

Round-the-clock assistance

A spokesman said: "Contact your insurer as soon as possible. Most will have 24-hour emergency helplines, which can give information on next steps and arrange repairs."

The spokesman added that policyholders should arrange temporary emergency repairs if they were necessary to prevent further damage from high water.

"But tell your insurer and keep any receipts, as this will form part of your claim.

"Some insurers will ask for details such as the approximate depth of the flood water and the items damaged; others will simply arrange for a loss adjustor to visit the property.

Further repair work

"In any case, claims staff will be able to give advice on the actions you need to take.

In certain circumstances, helpline staff may be able to give you the go-ahead for further repair work to be commenced."

The ABI said that any property owners concerned about imminent flooding should ensure they had emergency contact numbers for insurers, local authorities and utilities providers in a safe, waterproof place.

Valuables should be moved to upstairs rooms if possible, and loose items such as ladders kept outside should be secured.

More bad weather to come

The Met Office has a severe weather warning in place for the south and east of England on Wednesday, but no further warnings for the coming few days.

Some forecasters believe however that this week’s deluges herald a spell of unsettled weather for the whole of the country over the next two months.

Jonathan Powell of Vantage Weather Services said: "It’s time to put on the tin hats again. Even if the rain stops there is the possibility of structural damage.

"Britain is going to have to batten down the hatches. I haven’t seen a system this vicious for some time – it’s the weather from hell.

"We can all rightly feel short changed given the appalling summer we have had."

The future of flood insurance

With floods appearing increasingly common in Britain, growing numbers of us are concerned about getting insurance against flood damage.

The government is currently holding discussions with the insurance industry to ensure that at-risk homes will still be able to buy affordable cover.

The current arrangement between the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the ABI says that insurers should continue to offer cover to existing customers, provided the government maintains existing flood defences.

This is due to end at the end of June 2013. A replacement agreement has not yet been hammered out, however, raising fears that thousands of homes could be left without vital cover from next year.


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Chris Torney

Chris Torney

Chris is the former personal finance editor at the Daily Express. He's been a journalist for more than 10 years and contributes to a wide range of finance and business titles.Read more from Chris

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