"If clients have been affected by the storms or floods, they will need to know exactly what their insurance covers and how to make an insurance claim."
In recent weeks, the UK has been battered by extreme weather with Storms Ciara and Dennis causing some of the most extreme winter floods in recent years.
Thousands of homes have been affected and with flood warnings still place this week, this is set to cause more damage to towns and cities across the country.
Floods can cause extensive and irreversible damage to peoples’ homes and belongings. So, it’s vital for advisers to be talking to their clients about how they can protect their homes and ensure they have adequate cover if worst does happen.
Prevention is better than cure
Advisers should make sure their clients take pre-emptive measures to avoid any potential damage, particularly if they live in flood prone areas. A property-level flood risk survey and a formal assessment by a chartered surveyor of a property’s flooding risk, can help to highlight key areas where a property may be vulnerable and therefore help homeowners prepare for this ahead of time. For example, keeping a stock of filled sandbags to seal doors or installing flood defence measures such as door barriers, airbrick covers and raised electrical sockets can help prevent or at least reduce the damage caused by water entering the home. Moving ground floor contents to upper floors, before flood waters penetrate a property, is highly recommended.
Checking any trees near clients’ properties are stable and making sure any loose branches are felled will help to limit any damage from falling debris. It’s also important to make sure any loose roof tiles or guttering around the house are fixed ahead of incoming storms.
It is also a good idea to advise clients on making sure they keep all valuables and copies of important documents, such as their insurance policy and bank details, locked away in a waterproof container and kept on an upper floor.
However, no matter how much planning or preventative measures are put in place, in extreme weather conditions these precautions may still not be enough to keep the flooding at bay.
Having the right cover
If clients have been affected by the storms or floods, they will need to know exactly what their insurance covers and how to make an insurance claim. Firstly, clients should make sure their policy includes an adequate sum to cover the value of their belongings and that it includes cover for alternative accommodation in case they need to move out of their home due to flooding. This can be a disruptive time and can have a massive impact on the homeowner’s family, especially as it can take a long time to make a home habitable after flooding, so having insurance is vital.
As well as making sure clients refer to their policy booklets to find out the extent of their insurance policy, advisers should also make clear the relevant information that clients will need to provide in order to make a claim. For example, if clients come prepared with purchase details, receipts and photographs of damaged items, it will help to make the claims process much more efficient.
With the UK’s winter weather being sometimes extreme, advisers are in a unique position to help clients ensure they are properly informed of the risks of flooding and the measures they can take to limit any damage which may occur.