With a flood imminent in Wanaka, the Insurance Council of NZ (ICNZ) is advising residents to take pre-emptive steps to protect their belongings with its release of flood preparation and recovery tips.

Tim Grafton, ICNZ Chief Executive says, “Local council is saying it is now a matter of when, not if Lake Wanaka will flood. For those in the flood zone now is the time to take action – move your car out of flood danger and start to put valuable goods higher up in the house – especially those important Christmas gifts!

“If you suffer flood damage contact your insurers as soon as possible to start the claims process. Be sure to take photos and note details of any valuable items purchased for Christmas that might not be noted on insurance policies yet.”

ICNZ says these simple steps can help reduce the impact of flood damage and help insurers support customers promptly should their property be flooded.

Local businesses should also ensure they have taken action. “Lake side café’s and restaurants should not only be moving items out of potential flood levels, but also ensure that grease traps are sealed off to prevent contamination damage in the event of flooding,” says Mr Grafton.

Mr Grafton says most importantly communities need to look out for each other.

“Check on your neighbours and friends and make your properties as storm-safe as possible without putting anyone’s personal safety at risk.”

Here are some of ICNZ’s tips to prepare and help you recover from a flood.

Tips for preparing for a flood:

  • Make sure your emergency kit is well-stocked. If you’re not sure what to include, check out getthru.govt.nz.
  • If there’s a chance your house will flood, move valuable items higher up and get electrical items off the ground and unplug them.
  • If you’re near a potential flood area, park your car in the garage or move it to higher ground.
  • Clean out blocked gutters and drains before any rain begins. If your roadside drains are blocked, call the local council.
  • Take down outdoor umbrellas and bring in or tie down outdoor furniture where possible. If you have a trampoline, turn it upside down to minimise the surface area exposed to wind.

Tips for recovering from flooding:

  • Do not do anything that puts your safety at risk or causes more damage to your property.
  • Contact your insurer or broker as soon as possible.
  • Take photos of any damage. It will help speed up assessments of your claims.
  • Don’t enter flood water, and don’t operate cars or electrical appliances that may have been flooded.
  • Get essential services repaired and keep copies of invoices.
  • Make your home safe and sanitary but don’t do non-essential repairs.
  • Always wear protective gear, including gloves and masks, in case you’re exposed to hazardous material.
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