Act now to protect yourselves and your property before Cyclone Gabrielle is expected to bring extreme winds and rain, and likely more slips and flooding, to Te Ika-a-Māui The North Island.
Authorities and the media are doing a great job of warning people and giving much excellent general advice ahead of what is expected to be another major climate event,” said Insurance Council of New Zealand Te Kāhui Inihua o Aotearoa (ICNZ) Chief Executive, Tim Grafton. “Insurers can add to this with more specific advice to minimise loss and damage and speed recovery.”
Between now and Sunday
- Have a household plan – Get a grab bag ready in case you have to evacuate. Get valuable items and documents together, including your insurance details, and keep those safe.
- Get your property ready – Blocked gutters and drains can make flooding worse. Clean them out and remove anything that might block them.
- Minimise wind damage – Bring inside or secure anything that the wind could damage or pick up and then damage other property, including your home. Turn over trampolines and secure these to the ground, remove netting if necessary.
- If you are at risk of flooding – If you can, move furniture and other items above flood level. Move your vehicle to higher ground.
After the event
- Put safety first. Stay out of badly damaged buildings and, if possible, flood water. Do not drive flooded vehicles. If your property has been flooded, turn off the power. Don’t turn it back on until it has been checked by an electrician.
- Phone lines will be busy so it is best to make claims online. If you can’t stay in your home, or are otherwise experiencing vulnerability, do not hesitate to call your insurer. For those with home or contents insurance, including renters, temporary accommodation benefits are typically available.
- If your property was damaged in the last fortnight’s climate event but now has additional damage, be sure to record the new damage and report that to your insurer.
What you can do to start cleaning up
- Mark and photography the highest point of any flooding.
- 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. List everything that you remove, take photographs and get together 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 have already responded to the events of the last two weeks by bringing in as many staff as possible. Demand for assessors, tradies and related materials and other goods is already high. It is in the best interests of customers and insurers alike that claims are settled quickly. Insurers will continue to work hard to settle claims and will prioritise those most in need when doing so,” added Tim.
ENDS – KA MUTU
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