Storm Dennis: What to consider when making an insurance claim

PA

Insurers are working around the clock to help home and business owners recover from flood and storm damage.

Call volumes to insurance giant Aviva’s customer contact centre on Sunday were around five times higher than normal.

Aviva said the number of claims it has received so far relating to Storm Dennis is lower than for Storm Ciara.

But customers hit by Storm Dennis are more likely to have been affected by flooding.

Malcolm Tarling, a spokesman for the Association of British Insurers (ABI), said: “It is too early to estimate the costs of storms Dennis and Ciara.

“Insurers expect storms like this, and their only priority at the moment is helping customers recover as quickly as possible.”

Here are some general factors to consider when making a claim:

– The ABI says customers should contact their home or commercial insurer, with most having 24-hour emergency helplines to help get claims moving as quickly as possible. Where needed, they will bring in extra resources to handle claims.

– Commercial polices will cover damage to premises and the stock. Business interruption cover, which may be included in a policy or purchased separately, will cover additional trading costs, such as hiring temporary alternative trading premises if necessary. Insurers may also arrange temporary accommodation for households if needed.

A van sits in floodwater near the village of Hampton Bishop near Hereford, after the River Lugg burst its banks in the aftermath of Storm Dennis
A van sits in floodwater near the village of Hampton Bishop near Hereford, after the River Lugg burst its banks in the aftermath of Storm Dennis

– Comprehensive motor insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing damaged vehicles.

– It will help the insurance claims process to go smoothly if you can give details about items which have been ruined. It could be a good idea to list damaged items and take photos of them wherever possible before they are moved.

– The ABI says insurers do not expect customers to keep piles of damaged belongings, so once you have spoken to your insurer you can dispose of any items which pose a health risk, such as rotting food.

– Rather than hanging on to large damaged items, a cutting may be all you need to support a claim, such as a piece of carpet. Many drying and restoration companies can restore water-damaged items, so if you are able to store them in the garden it may be worth keeping them for inspection and repair if possible.

Flood water surrounds Upton upon Severn in Worcestershire
Flood water surrounds Upton upon Severn in Worcestershire

– Flood-hit home owners who are worried about being able to find affordable insurance in future should be aware of a scheme called Flood Re, which helps with access to affordable cover for people living in flood-risk areas.

It is a not-for-profit fund which enables insurance companies to insure themselves against losses because of flooding.

Customers benefiting from the scheme still buy their cover from insurers or brokers in the usual way, but when a flood claim is made, the insurer will then be able to recover costs from Flood Re.