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Flood advice for motorists

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Written by:
10/09/2008

Motorists in flood hit areas could see their premiums rise by as much as 26% if they make a claim for flood damage, according to uSwitch.  

Research from the comparison site has revealed one if four motorists in flood risk areas may not be able to claim for damage as they have non-comprehensive insurance policies. It said many of those affected are young drivers priced out of the comprehensive insurance market.

However, uSwitch also claimed that even motorists with comprehensive policies could be at risk. Many policies have ambiguous clauses or exclusions, according to uSwitch. For example, if an attempt to restart a vehicle after flood damage has occurred causes an electrical or mechanical fault, the driver could unknowingly invalidate their claim.

In addition, as with any claim, affected drivers could lose their no claims discount unless an extra premium is paid to protect it. The comparison site has also predicted a hike in future premiums as insurance companies attempt to recover tens of millions of predicted claims.

Ashton Berkhauer, insurance expert at uSwitch.com, said: “Last summer we saw widespread flooding across the country with the insurance industry forking out over £2bn in claims. Flooding is an issue for many motorists, yet too many people are failing to learn lessons from 2007 and secure adequate cover should the worst happen. If drivers do not insure their cars properly, they could suffer the financial consequences long after the flood waters recede.”

However, Berkhauer also called on insurers to provide customers with clear information relating to flood claims at the time a policy is taken out. “Motorists who live in a designated flood area really should check that their current level of cover is adequate and if they feel that their policy isn’t clear, they need to call their insurer immediately to find out what level of cover they have,” he advised.

Berkhauer issued a list of tips for vehicle-owners affected by flooding:

• Get your vehicle checked by a professional mechanic as soon as possible

• Do not attempt to drive your car before being told it is safe to do so. You could cause further damage and potentially invalidate a claim

• Contact your insurer immediately and seek their advice on the next steps to take

• Collate photographic evidence as it may be of benefit when making a claim

• If you become involved in a dispute with your insurer regarding a claim, firstly ensure that you have written to their complaints department and received a written confirmation of their intention not to pay for your claim. Once you have the reply and if you are still unsatisfied, contact the Financial Ombudsman Service in writing, by telephone, or via their website.

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