Insurance flood advisory for Otago and Canterbury residents

With heavy rainfall expected in Dunedin and parts of Canterbury receiving up to 180mm before noon Saturday, the Insurance Council of NZ is urging people in the region to be prepared for flooding.

“We want to help communities to reduce the risks they face.  If you can get as much of your home contents out of harm’s way, secure heavy outdoor objects and park vehicles in garages if possible” said Tim Grafton Insurance Council Chief Executive.

“With the rest of the country experiencing power outages and disruptions over the last few days we recommend turning off at the wall as many electrical appliances as possible to avoid damage in the event there is a power surge” he said.

Pre-flood tips:

  • Move valuables from lower ground including electrical equipment if possible
  • Secure outdoor possessions including outdoor furniture and trampolines
  • Have emergency equipment like portable radio, torch, mobile on hand
  • Keep your insurer’s contact numbers on hand

“Taking photographic evidence of the flooding and damage to your property will help with your claims assessment and if you need to move damaged or contaminated goods from your house for health and safety reasons” he said.

Tips for recovery:

  • Do not do anything that puts your safety at risk or causes more damage to your property
  • Contact your insurer, or insurance adviser. Do not be concerned if you can’t find your insurance papers. Insurers have electronic records and need only your name and address.
  • Avoid entering flood water, on foot or in a vehicle. Flood water can contain raw sewage and contaminants, can conduct electricity, mask hidden hazards, and pose a serious hazard to health. It may be deeper, or moving faster, than you expect.
  • Try to make the buildings safe and weatherproof but don’t make any emergency repairs unless it is safe to do so.
  • Don’t start non-essential repairs without your insurance company’s approval.
  • If water has entered the property, don't turn on your electricity until it has been inspected by an electrician.
  • Do what you have to make your home safe and sanitary.  When cleaning, wear a mask, gloves and overalls to minimize exposure to possible hazardous materials.
  • Remove and discard any water or mud-damaged goods that pose a health risk, such as saturated carpets and soft furnishings.
  • Take photos of damaged property to help speed up the assessments and claims process.
  • Do not drive your vehicle if it has suffered water damage.

The extent of the insured damage for this weather event will not be known for some weeks.