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Advice on Flood Damage for Homeowners

High levels of rainfall in the past few weeks have left many Midlands residents with flood damage to their homes. Ruined or damage carpets, furniture, electrical items and other personal affects are some of the things homeowners will now want to try and claim for on their insurance policies.

Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Service is issuing guidance on what homeowners should do now, if they have suffered flood damage.

Call your insurance company’s emergency help line as soon as possible. They will provide assistance on making a claim and, if necessary, they should also help with alternative emergency accommodation (this is normally covered under a household policy).

Keep a record of the damage. Ideally take photos or video of the flood damage. If you don’t have a camera to hand, take notes of what happened and the damage caused. Don’t throw away furniture and fittings, your insurance company may want to inspect them.

If emergency pumping or repair work is necessary you should have this done. You don’t need to go through your insurance company for this, but you should be able to claim the cost back from your policy. Keep all your receipts and paperwork.

If you have to leave your house, make sure your insurance company knows where to contact you. If you have a mobile phone, make sure they have the number. Leave your house secure.

Flooding can cause structural damage. The roof line is often a good indicator, check for any changes. If you suspect there is a problem, inform your insurer and get the property checked out as soon as possible.

Trading Standards Officers are also warning consumers to beware of rogue traders and cowboy builders who often look to take advantage of people who have experienced damage to their homes as a result of floods or storms.
Residents should not agree to offers of work from the first trader who comes to their door. Rather they should seek quotes from local traders with verifiable names and address, and if possible go on recommendation.

Other important flood advice

Switch off the gas and don’t touch the electrics. Don’t try to switch it back on.
Remember that floodwater can be contaminated; take sensible precautions (e.g. using rubber gloves) during the clean up.
Check with your local authority or health authority to find out where you can get help with the clean up.
Throw away any food which could have been in contact with floodwater.

Useful contacts:

For advice on your consumer rights telephone Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06 or visit http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/tradingstandards

For advice on what to do if you have experienced flooding and for information on help available, visit Warwickshire County Council’s Emergency Planning Unit website: http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/epu

For advice on repairing and restoring flood damaged property contact the Environment Agency’s Floodline on 0845 988 1188 or visit their website: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk

If you are in dispute with your insurance company, for example in relation to a claim, your can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service for advice and to make a complaint. Telephone: 0845 080 1800 or visit http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk