IFSO warns flood victims to document their damage

Cantabrians are being warned to record evidence of any damage caused by the heavy rain and flooding before cleaning it up.

As surface flooding continues to wreak havoc across the region on Monday, Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman Karen Stevens is urging people to photograph and video the damage to their house, property and belongings for their insurers.

Stevens also warned people to make a list of all their damaged items before disposing of anything.

"This is an extremely difficult time for those who are dealing with flooded homes or properties," said Stevens.

"It’s only natural to want to start the clean-up process immediately. However, we urge people to take a moment and contact their insurers and to record the damage first.

"We’ve dealt with a number of insurance-related complaints over the years where people have rolled up their sleeves and got in straight away - cleaning up and throwing away items. Later in the insurance claims process, this can lead to problems when proving damage.

"Being clear about things from the start can prevent angst later down the track."

If you are unable to get back into your home, Stevens recommends calling your insurer to ask about temporary accommodation cover.

Before you clean up any damage, Stevens recommends:

  • Getting in touch with your insurer to ask what you need for your claim and get your insurer to confirm this in writing.
  • Recording the damage by taking photos or videos of your house and any damaged belongings and making lists of all the damaged items before you dispose of anything.
  • Ensuring you understand your policy, know what you are and are not covered for and, if you don't understand, ask questions.
  • Contacting your insurer to ask about temporary accommodation cover under either your house or contents policies if you are unable to get back into your home.