Between earthquakes and floods, South Islanders are a resilient bunch. This past May saw floodwaters forcing their way into many Canterbury households, properties and businesses from the extensive amount of rain in the region causing serious flood damage. This July has seen flood devastation across the Buller and Marlborough districts in the South Island.
When facing the task of cleaning up the flood’s path of destruction, you may be wondering what to do after flood damage. Our legal experts have put together some key points to keep in mind so that your flood damage insurance claim will go smoothly.
Dealing with the aftermath of earthquake or flood damage? Here are five tips:
- Record the damage.
Take the time to make a list of items or property that were affected and take plenty of photos of the flood or earthquake damage. Don’t throw anything away before capturing the evidence as it may be difficult down the track to prove ownership or that damage or loss occurred. As a policyholder, it is your responsibility to prove you owned the items and property you are making the claim for.
- Contact your insurer.
Find out what you are covered for and what you need to do to make a claim. Following the steps they lay out will ensure your flood or earthquake insurance claim isn’t held up for administrative reasons.
- Check your policy wording to see how your loss will be assessed.
Are you entitled to the full replacement value of your property and contents, or just the depreciated value? People often expect that everything will be replaced, however many policies do not cover this.
- Talk to your insurer BEFORE doing any repairs, to ensure that the cost of repairs is covered.
Your policy may differentiate between essential and “non-essential” repairs. You may want to start throwing things away, ripping up carpet and replacing damaged sections of walls – but some of these things may be classified as “non-essential” repair. It may make it difficult to prove your loss and will not be covered.
- When in doubt, contact the experts.
All going well, your claim will be accepted and you can start working on repairs and replacements included under your policy but it isn’t always plain sailing when making a claim so it’s important to seek advice from professionals.