Mark and photograph the highest point of any flooding.
You can dispose of fully flooded property, especially carpets, soft furniture, such as sofas and beds, plus other ruined or contaminated items that can’t otherwise be properly cleaned. Wear appropriate protective equipment if you’re doing this yourself. Keep a sample to make it easier for replacement later. List everything that you remove, take photographs and keep any proof of purchase, such as receipts that you have. You will need such records to support your claim.
Set aside items that can be cleaned. Do not keep unsanitary items in your home.
You can start with emergency repairs to make your home safe and sanitary. Keep receipts and record of work done.
When the weather allows, start the drying out process. Remove all the water you can, open windows and doors to get as much air in as possible. If you can get fans and dehumidifiers, use these safely.
Do not remove hard floor coverings, wall linings or structural elements of a property or disturb any materials which might contain hazardous substances. You must talk to your insurer if this is required, and only suitably qualified professionals should undertake this work.
Insurers are expecting thousands and thousands of flood and Cyclone claims, likely to be the most claims in a natural disaster event since the Canterbury earthquakes in 2010/2011.
What you can do to help
Avoid very busy phone lines. It is in the best interests of customers and insurers alike that claims are settled quickly so it is best to make claims to your insurer online.
You can help by not ringing your insurer if it is not urgent – contact them online.
Make the claim process as easy as possible by having a good photographic record of any lost or damaged contents and vehicles (see above), and any damage to your house. Any other documents showing purchase and/or ownership should also be provided if you have them.
Customers need to be patient, particularly where they may have claims unrelated to the flooding and cyclone; the most urgent cases will be dealt with as a priority. If you do not have an urgent claim, expect it to be processed after urgent claims – realistically, this may take many weeks or even months.
What the Insurers are doing
Insurers will continue to work hard to settle claims and will prioritise those most in need when doing so.
We understand from ICNZ that insurers have already brought in as many staff as possible to continue to be able to service their customers.
Demand for assessors, tradies and related materials and other goods is already incredibly high. The recent severe weather events have put enormous pressure on supply chains and transport routes and Insurers are making best efforts to process claims.
The Government has today announced Sunday 19 February 2023, the establishment of a new service called the New Zealand Claims Resolution Service (NZCRS).
This service is available from Monday 20 February. The New Zealand Claims Resolution Service (NZCRS) will provide expert support to homeowners with insurance claims after natural disasters to avoid disputes, resolve issues and ensure claims are settled in a timely manner.
Homeowners who are impacted by any natural disasters should talk to their insurer in the first instance. If they have concerns about their claim or are unsure about the process, they can contact NZCRS.