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Recovering from a flood

If your property is flooded consider your personal safety first and contact your insurer immediately.

Insurers will do everything they can to help customers as quickly as is practically possible in the days, weeks and months after a major flood.

Putting your home back together can take time. The important steps to understand after a flood are:

  1. The immediate aftermath
  2. Assessing the damage and finding temporary accommodation
  3. Cleaning and stripping out
  4. Disinfecting and drying your home
  5. Repair and reconstruction work
  6. Moving back into your home

Who is involved?

If your home is badly flooded, your insurer is likely to use a variety of specialists to ensure it is repaired as quickly as possible and to a high standard.

This may include a loss adjuster to assess the damage and oversee the repair process, a surveyor to oversee major building works, specialist cleaning and drying companies, and professional builders and decorators.

Your insurer or loss adjuster will explain to you the timetable for restoring your home, which specialists will be involved at each stage and how long each stage will take.

How long will it take?

Your insurer or their appointed loss adjuster will do everything possible to restore your home as quickly as possible and will discuss progress with you throughout.

If your home is badly damaged by flooding, it may take up to one year or longer for your home to be restored and become habitable again. This is mainly due to the time it takes to safely decontaminate and dry out a property after it has been flooded and to undertake any repair or restoration works.

As a guide, during incidents of major flooding the majority of people that have to leave their homes return to them within six to nine months.

Flood damaged items

Talk to your insurer about what to do with any flood damaged items, like furniture and carpets. While insurers may want to inspect some damaged items, they will take a practical approach, and will not expect you to keep anything that is a health hazard for inspection. For example, for damaged carpets, keeping a small portion may be sufficient for your insurer or it may be possible to keep a record by taking pictures of damaged items on your smartphone.

Find out more information on flood recovery in the following guides:

Best Practice: Offering cash settlements to customers after a flood

As an industry, insurers are committed to supporting customers who have been flooded, particularly those who are vulnerable. It is an insurer’s first priority when a customer is flooded to help them get their lives back on track as quickly and safely as possible by providing emergency payments, alternative accommodation and carrying out appropriate repair work. In some instances, rather than using their insurer to repair the property, a customer may prefer to accept a cash settlement and manage the repair process themselves. 

We have developed best practise guidance for insurers that applies to building damage claims caused by floods.

Read the best practice guide here