In the past few years, serious flooding problems have become more and more common.
Now, after the impact of several storms, it's clear that for many, many people around the UK, the impact of it has become a huge concern.
When serious flooding occurs, the Government enacts an emergency scheme to help communities get back on their feet.
Your local authority can apply to have 100% of the eligible costs they incur, above a threshold, reimbursed by the Government.
This covers many costs, but ones largely related to the initial emergency, like temporary accommodation and staff overtime.
The government has also announced that people affected by 'serious' flooding will be able to receive up to £5,000 to help protect them from future.
This scheme is operated through your local authority and has been in place since last November.
The most recent announcements state:
Flood-hit homes and businesses can apply for up to £5,000 to help make them more resilient to future flooding
Flood-hit households can apply for up to £500 and 100% council tax relief
Flooded businesses can apply for up to £2,500 and 100% business rates relief
What about my insurer?
Now for many people, the key word here is 'future'. Obviously, those who are already affected by the floods need help right now. And that will usually involve their insurance company.
Insurance companies are generally pretty good at swinging in to action when there's a flood. They'll have their people on the ground – the loss adjusters – out in areas affected by flooding quickly.
Loss adjusters are there to help assess what needs to be done as a priority, along with the subsequent repairs and claim issues that arise as a result.
But increasingly, people are telling me that they can't get hold of a loss adjuster or there are simply too many people affected for them to respond quickly to all the claims.
This is going to be a challenge for the industry over the next few years. All I can say is keep trying – your insurer has an obligation to get someone out to you as soon as possible.
When you make a home claim, make sure you explain the impact on you personally.
Particularly if you're ill or have a young family and you can't stay in your property. They'll tell you what will happen next. They can even help you find (and fund) temporary accommodation if your home needs serious work.
The biggest problem with flood complaints is the time it can take to sort things out. If your property has been structurally damaged, it can take a long time – sometimes years – before the property is habitable. During that time, you may find yourself in alternative accommodation for a prolonged period.
Resolver also sees complaints about the contractors the insurer uses to sort out flood damage, from loss adjusters to builders and specialist tradespeople.
Don’t forget, your contract is with the insurance company, so if you’re unhappy with a contractor, speak to the insurer.
How to get started on your claim
Call your insurance company to log your claim and get as much advice from them as you can. Remember to make a note of when you called and who you spoke to.
Keep a record of any extra spending, including hotel bills and emergency repair works as this may be covered by your policy too. Make sure to keep them in a safe place with your insurance documents.
Don't authorise people to carry out repairs without speaking to the insurer first. You might not be covered if your chosen contractor is more expensive than the insurer’s choice.
Take photos and video of the damage that has been done, list all the damage to your house and belongings and even keep samples of things such as carpets to prove the quality of furnishings.
The most important thing to remember is to keep informed. Flooding claims can be complex and may take a while to resolve fully. So speak to the insurer, get them to explain to you what they're doing, timescales and if your property needs to be 'future proofed' to prevent problems happing again.
If you’re unhappy with the way your complaint has been handled, then Resolver can help you make a complaint for free.
If the insurance company doesn't sort things out, we’ll pass your complaint to the free Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) who have the power to tell the insurer to make things right if they agree with your complaint.
Resolver can help you get your complaint about pretty much anything sorted out for free. Find out more at www.resolver.co.uk.
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