Today we are presenting the first part of an article on what to do if you are affected by flooding or floods.
What do you do immediately after flooding, if you have home insurance?
The obligations of the policy holder and the insured are regulated by Article 826 of the Civil Code. In practice, you should:
- turn off the electrical and gas installations and secure, for example, the sewage network;
- move things to a higher part of the house or other building;
- document with receipts the costs incurred to save the property;
- notify the insurer and allow the insurer’s representative to carry out an examination: regardless of the rescue operations, this should be done as soon as possible as contracts often include an assistance service that organises and covers the costs of activities related to rescuing the property from an increase in the damage or removing it, e.g. drying out water damage in flooded rooms.
Do I have to wait until the insurance company’s assessor arrives to deal with the consequences of the flooding?
No, delaying these measures is often pointless as it can lead to an increase in the extent of the damage. However, it is worth securing:
- photo or video documentation, even using a phone: the greater number and accuracy of photos the more limited the insurer’s ability to question the extent of the damage is;
- a protocol of the damaged property: it will be the basis for claims against the insurer;
- destroyed dismantled parts: it is best to keep them for examination by the insurer’s representative;
- a certificate of the rescue operations carried out to secure the property or information on the losses found from the local government services organising assistance before and during the arrival of the flood wave and the removal of its consequences.
Streamlined telephone claim settlement. What should you look out for?
The „streamlined” path doesn’t require the examination of the flooded house by experts. The acceptance of responsibility and the estimate of renovation costs are based on the photographs sent, the description of the incident or information from the administrator. Sometimes real-time visual examination apps are used. Before accepting the settlement proposed by the insurer, the contractor of renovation works should be consulted to agree on a detailed, preferably written, estimate of the work. The aim here is to avoid the cost of the renovation exceeding the amount of compensation received. This is because withdrawing from a settlement can be complicated or even impossible. In the case of a remote settlement (by telephone), it’s possible to withdraw from the settlement within 14 days of its conclusion. It is worth remembering that settlements are negotiations and mutual concessions. Therefore, if the offer made does not comply with us, we can make our own proposal, which may be met with a counter-offer from the insurer. The parties do not settle on the amount of damage, but on the amount of compensation: indicative and not always reflecting the value of the damage. If the terms of the settlement are unsatisfactory, the consumer has the right to a standard claim settlement process (with an assessor and a detailed cost estimate), to a complaint and, as a last resort, to enter into a legal dispute, e.g. with the support of the Financial Ombudsman.
The second part of this article will appear in two weeks.