The Insurance Council of NZ is advising residents of Roxburgh and Roxburgh Lakes affected by the weekend’s flooding to be safe when recovering belongings damaged in the flooding and to contact their insurer as soon as possible. The Council recommends people to take photos of any damaged possessions or property and contact their insurance company for advice about repairs and clean-up before they do anything non-urgent. “Flooding can create a number of health and safety concerns, especially if drinking water and sewerage systems have been affected. People shouldn’t do anything that puts their personal safety at risk or causes further damage to their property,” said Tim Grafton, Insurance Council Chief Executive. “Taking photographs of the flooding and damage to your property will help with your claims assessment, especially if you need to make emergency repairs or remove damaged or contaminated goods for health and safety reasons,” Grafton said. With more rain forecast for Central Otago over the coming days, people should do what they can to prepare for the possibility of further extreme weather. If residents become displaced, the Council recommends they contact their insurance company as they may be able to access temporary accommodation under their house or contents policy.

Flood preparation tips

  • Move valuables (including electrical equipment) off the ground or low shelves, if possible.
  • Secure outdoor possessions, including outdoor furniture and trampolines.
  • Have emergency equipment like a portable radio, torch, mobile on hand.
  • Keep your insurer’s contact numbers on hand.

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, as soon as possible. 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’s necessary to make your home safe and sanitary. When cleaning, wear a mask, gloves and overalls to minimise exposure to possibly-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.

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