Flood advice: stay safe and contact your insurer early

The Insurance Council of New Zealand Te Kāhui Inihua o Aotearoa (ICNZ) urges those affected by floods and storms across Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay to put their safety first, heed the advice of local authorities, including to self evacuate as per the State of Emergency declaration in Tairawhiti, and contact their insurer early if their property is hit by floods or slips.  

While, as of Thursday evening, we have not yet had reports of widespread property damage, insurers will do their best to deal with any new claims. These will come on top of the 19,786 combined claims for Tairāwhiti and Hakes bay as a result of Cyclone Gabrielle that are worth just over $1 bn.

“Contact your insurer early if you suffer flood or storm damage, especially if you need to arrange temporary accommodation or emergency repairs; which should only be done if it is safe to do so,” said ICNZ Chief Executive Tim Grafton. “Even if you already have a claim in from events earlier in the year, or have done repair work since then, it’s essential any new damage is properly recorded and reported to your insurer.”

As always when such events occur, insurers will be gearing up their call centres and arranging for staff to help customers. For many, the quickest way to lodge a claim will be through their insurer’s website.

“After all that people have been through in recent times, its heartbreaking to hear of yet another Red Heavy rain Warning, State of Emergency in Tairāwhiti and evacuations. Insurers will continue to do their best to stand by the people of Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay through this and the ongoing recovery from repeated climate events,” added Tim.  

When it comes to dealing with floods and storms, ICNZ offers the following advice:

  • Follow the instructions of Civil Defence and emergency services
  • Do not do anything that puts your safety at risk or causes more damage to your property
  • Contact your insurer as soon as you can
  • Avoid entering flood water, either on foot or in a vehicle. Flood water can contain raw sewage and contaminants, conduct electricity and mask hidden hazards, and poses a serious hazard to health. It may be deeper, or moving faster, than you expect
  • Try to make 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 your property, don’t turn on your electricity until it has been inspected by an electrician
  • Get essential services, such as water, electricity, gas and sewerage, repaired and keep copies of any invoices
  • Do what’s necessary to make your home safe and sanitary. When cleaning, wear a mask, gloves and overalls to minimise exposure to possibly-hazardous materials
  • Take pictures and make a list of any perishables you have to dispose of
  • Photograph, remove and discard any water or mud-damaged goods that pose a health risk, such as saturated carpets and soft furnishings
  • Take photos of any other damaged property to help speed up your claims
  • Mark, and take a photo of where flood water reached its highest within your property
  • Keep any damaged items that don’t pose a health and safety risk
  • Do not drive your vehicle if it has suffered water damage

Contact/Tukua ki:  [email protected]

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