As the clean-up begins after severe flooding and weather damage, the advice from the Insurance & Savings Ombudsman, Karen Stevens, is to contact your insurance company and take photos of the damage before you start your clean up.
Over the past few days the storms have caused serious damage, particularly in Whanganui, Manawatu, Taranaki, Kapiti, Horowhenua, and the South Island's West Coast.
“We understand it’s a very stressful time for those affected. But by contacting your insurance company as soon as you can, you could avoid problems later on,” says Karen.
The Insurance & Savings Ombudsman Scheme has dealt with a number of flood related insurance complaints over the past 20 years. “We’ve seen many cases where people have cleaned up after a flood, thrown all the damaged items away, then had difficulty proving that the items were damaged.”
Ms Stevens says those who are able to stay in their homes should try to prevent more weather damage if that is possible.
Before cleaning up the damage, steps for people to take include:
1) Call your insurer. Ask them what documentation they will need for your claim before you start and before you throw anything away. Ask your insurer to confirm this information in an email, if possible.
2) Make lists of all the damaged items and take photos before you dispose of them.
3) Document the damage. Take photos or videos of your house and any damaged belongings.
4) Read your policy to ensure you know what you are and are not covered for.
Those who have been evacuated from their homes should also contact your insurance company, and ask about temporary accommodation entitlements under your contents policy.