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How to claim insurance if you’ve been flooded

Published 15 December 2015 by

Storm Desmond has left thousands of properties in northern England, Wales and Scotland affected by the severe storms. Many are without power, unable to return to their homes and left without their possessions when they do. With such devastation in the aftermath of the floods, we’re going to take you through how to make a claim on your insurance.

Dealing with the damage

First things first – deal with any emergency damage. If you think you’ve got a possible gas leak, get in touch with the National Grid on 0800 111 999. For electrical problems, contact your local electricity distributor and you should report any sewage hazards to your local council.

Once that’s out of the way, you can start to access the damage to your property. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) advises that you contact your insurer before you do anything. There should be a 24-hour claims line that you can use, and they should be able to arrange for someone to do the work that you’re covered for.

If you have no success with this, arrange to have the damage fixed yourself and keep the receipts to claim back the expense of this later on. The ABI also advises that you shouldn’t rush to throw away any damaged items that you have in your home, unless they’re a health hazard of course. Certain items may be able to be repaired and your insurer will be able to tell you more about this.

Make a claim

The ABI recommends that you contact your insurer as soon as you can, to enable claims handlers to visit your property and access the damage. Depending on your insurance policy, you may have to pay towards repairs as part of your ‘excess’ but the full details of this will be in your policy document. If you have adequate home insurance, you should be covered for the damage.

You’ll need to provide your insurer with evidence of anything that’s been lost or damaged, so take photographs of the full damage to your home. Receipts, bank statements or credit card bills can be used as evidence of a purchase and even pictures of you with the undamaged item will prove that it was in your possession.

Power cuts

If the severe weather has meant that you’ve been without electricity for a continuous 24 hour period (48 hours in some cases), you should be entitled to £70 compensation if you live in England, Scotland or Wales. For every additional 12-hour outage you face, you’re entitled to a further £70. The cap on the total amount paid out is £700.

Ofgem have said that vulnerable customers will be paid this money automatically but everyone else will need to claim from their electricity distributor. You need to do this within three months, and provide your distributor with the reason for the outage and the dates of the problem.

Train cancellations

With no rail services running between Carlisle and Scotland, you’ll be able to claim a full refund if you decide not to travel. If your train is delayed or cancelled and you don’t travel, you can claim a full refund by returning the unused tickets to the ticket office or by posting them to the train company. If you booked your tickets through a third party website, send your tickets back to them.

If you decide to use your ticket on a later train, you can usually still claim for a delay if you arrive at your destination more than 30 minutes late. You only have 28 days to send your claim in, and it will usually take 28 days to get processed.

Purchased your ticket with Virgin Trains? You might be eligible for automatic compensation.