Making Insurance Claims After Flooding

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The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) has issued a statement to Auckland and other areas of the North Island that have been affected by flooding, to ensure communities stay safe and are protected.

Aside from putting personal safety first and heeding the advice of local authorities, the ICNZ urges Kiwis to contact insurers early.

“Contact your insurer early if you suffer flood or storm damage, especially if you need to arrange emergency accommodation or repairs; which should only be done if it is safe to do so. Stay out of flood water and always treat it as contaminated if it is in, or has been through, your home or vehicle,” said Tim Grafton, ICNZ Chief Executive.

This event will result in a high level of claims, and insurance companies will be gearing up call centres and arranging staff to manage the demand. Only when a claim has been lodged can insurers start to deal with it. So lodge claims early. 

During events of this scale, claims are usually prioritised to help those most adversely affected, especially those that require emergency accommodation or are otherwise vulnerable.

“It’s in the best interests of both the customer and the insurer to have claims settled as quickly as possible. Insurers will always try to prioritise those in greatest need when there is a major claims event. Likewise with organising repair work, there will typically be very high demand for assessors, tradies, building materials and other commonly damaged goods. This can mean repairs and replacements may well take longer than if they were required outside of such an event. But right now, staying safe is the priority.”

When dealing with floods and storms the ICNZ also offers the following advice:

  • Continue to follow the instructions of Civil Defence and emergency services providers
  • Do not do anything that puts your safety at risk or causes more damage to your property
  • Contact your insurer as soon as you can
  • Avoid entering flood water, either on foot or in a vehicle. Flood water can contain raw sewage and contaminants, conduct electricity and mask hidden hazards, and poses a serious hazard to health. It may be deeper, or moving faster, than you expect
  • Try to make buildings safe and weatherproof but don’t make any emergency repairs unless it is safe to do so. Don’t start non-essential repairs without your insurance company’s approval
  • If water has entered your property, don’t turn on your electricity until it has been inspected by an electrician
  • Get essential services, such as water, electricity, gas and sewerage, repaired and keep copies of any invoices
  • Do what’s necessary to make your home safe and sanitary. When cleaning, wear a mask, gloves and overalls to minimise exposure to possibly-hazardous materials
  • Take pictures and make a list of any perishables you have to dispose of
  • Photograph, remove and discard any water or mud-damaged goods that pose a health risk, such as saturated carpets and soft furnishings
  • Take photos of any other damaged property to help speed up the assessments and claims process
  • Mark, and take a photo of where flood water reached its highest within your property
  • Keep any damaged items that don’t pose a health and safety risk
  • Do not drive your vehicle if it has suffered water damage