Insurance claims are starting to mount as the water recedes after a weekend of wild weather in parts of the South Island.
Heavy rains and rising rivers caused widespread flooding and evacuations on the west coast and in Marlborough last weekend.
By Monday afternoon, IAG had received 573 flood-related claims from its brands, including AMI, State and NZI.
Dean MacGregor, IAG’s general manager of claims, said the majority was in favor of home insurance.
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“We expect the number of claims to increase significantly in the coming days as the floodwater subsides and more people can return to their homes to assess the damage.
“We encourage those affected by the floods to continue to follow safety advice and guidance from civil defense and local authorities.”
A spokeswoman for AA Insurance said the insurer had handled 40 car claims and 216 home and contents claims related to the weekend’s weather so far.
Call volumes rose significantly, 20 percent higher than planned on Saturday and 70 percent higher on Sunday.
“The calls are still being made today and we expect more claims in the next week or so as customers are allowed back in to assess the damage,” she said.
With many people facing significant cleanup and limited or no access to some areas, Insurance Council chief executive Tim Grafton said the recovery process could take time.
“It won’t be until the week before the areas are fully accessible before insurer assessors can reach the affected areas to assess damage and what is needed for recovery,” he said.
“Cleaning up sludge, drying houses, getting resources and traders in the region to make repairs will all take time.”
Those whose homes were uninhabitable due to flood damage may qualify for a temporary housing benefit included in most home and contents policies, Grafton said.
Grafton gave the following advice to those returning to flood-stricken homes:
- In the event of damage to your property, contact your insurer as soon as possible.
- If you rent out your home, please contact your landlord and contents insurer as soon as possible.
- Take photos and videos of any damage and note the details of valuables.
- If it is safe, do not throw anything away until you have spoken to your insurer as this will speed up the assessment of your claim.
- Discard food and drinking water that has come into contact with flood water, including canned goods. Be sure to take pictures of perishable or unsanitary items before throwing them away.
- Always wear protective clothing, including gloves and masks, in case you are exposed to hazardous material. Most flood waters are contaminated with sewage.
- If you can, clean and dry your house and everything in it, this is because if things get wet for more than two days they usually start to get moldy.
- Make your home safe, hygienic and weatherproof if necessary, but avoid non-essential repairs if possible. Get essential services repaired and keep copies of invoices.
- Don’t do anything that jeopardizes your safety or causes more damage to your property.
- Have gas and electricity checked before using appliances.
- Beware of wet machines or electrical appliances. This means that if your car is submerged in water, it will not turn on or attempt to drive. Also, do not use any appliances or machines, such as chainsaws, that could be damaged by water.
- Help others if you can, especially those who need special help.