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It’s important to know what your policy covers, so check the details carefully. Some insurance policies have exclusions which may mean you are unable to claim. Common exclusions include:

  • Accidental damage on your building’s insurance
  • Trace and access also known as leak detection
  • Unoccupancy clause – stipulating how long a property can be left unoccupied per year
  • Leaseholder improvements – get a copy from your property management company to see if you’re covered under the building’s insurance
  • Single article limit
  • Pet damage clause

Once you have established that you are insured, the next step is to check the financial details of your buildings and contents insurance policy. Depending on the damage caused, it is essential to ensure the sum insured is sufficient to cover the costs to completely rebuild your home, replacing all your contents as well as other associated costs such as any alternative accommodation, should you need to move out for any period of time.

Calculating the amount to insure your building and contents for can be difficult to gauge. Some insurers base their calculations on the square footage of your building, but not always, so make sure to check. When it comes to insuring your contents, a good indicator of total value can be to assume every item in your property is worth £1, even small items such as individual knives and forks. This way, the more expensive items are offset against cheaper items and you’ll get a rough idea of the total value.

Check your individual articles. Insurance companies often allow you to insure high-value items separately. Keep your receipts and take photos of single articles that are listed on your insurance to help with any claims.

If you are a landlord, the building insurance policy may already have content cover for the carpets included, so worth double checking the policy wording.

f you have buildings and contents insurance with different suppliers, you will have to deal with Loss Adjusters provided by each insurance company if there is an incident. This can make it more complicated to resolve a claim. However, if you appoint CPL t/a Rainbow Restoration, we can help you by acting as an intermediary, which will help to minimise the hassle for you.

We highly recommend you give us a call before you contact your insurance company as we can give you advice which may save you time and money in the long-run.

Once you have reported the incident, for larger claims, the Loss Adjuster will visit your property to make their own assessment or they may assign a desk-based claims handler.  Unless the claim is below a certain amount, your insurance company may offer to cash settle but be careful of this, even though it may at first seem an attractive proposition.

Once you accept a cash payment there will be no recourse in the event of costs you did not initially anticipate e.g. lasting smoke odour or if the damage is worse than first thought. You may not be able to go back to the insurer and will end up out of pocket yourself.

Some insurers may ask you to obtain your own quotes, usually from three different companies. The companies you choose may not be experts in fire or flood restoration, so as a result, may under spec the job. If you instruct us, we can provide you with the complete end-to-end service - we can spec the whole job from start to finish with one price to help reduce any hassle for yourselves.

Once the Loss Adjuster has inspected the damage, they will compile a report.  They will also go through a questionnaire to ensure you are adequately insured and ask you a series of questions surrounding your personal circumstances, including whether the policyholder has ever been bankrupt or has a criminal record.

It will then need to be determined whether the property is still habitable. Usually, the minimum requirement for staying in a property is if there is a working toilet, washing facilities, electricity and heating. If not, alternative accommodation will need to be sought. Vulnerable persons may still need alternative accommodation even with these minimum requirements, so it really depends on the circumstances.

If it has been a biohazard incident, the environment is likely to be deemed inhabitable therefore the Loss Adjuster will need to determine whether it is healthy for anyone to live in such conditions.

If the minimum requirements are not met, then alternative accommodation will need to be sought.  Rehoming should be like-for-like – but sadly, alternative arrangements may need to be made for pets should the alternative accommodation not permit pets. It is definitely worth having a conversation with local estate agents early on, to consider if there are available properties near local schools, your workplace or if you will need a property adapted for those with disabilities.

You may be offered furnished or unfurnished accommodation, depending on how many of your belongings were damaged in the incident.

When the time comes to move out of your property, you’ll need to think about what you need to keep with you – credit cards, cash, valuables, clothing, and important documents such as wills, passports, birth certificates or even critical information stored on a computer, for example – before the remaining salvageable contents are sent to storage.   You should anticipate that you will be vacating your property for at least 6 months so you will need to consider all the items you may need during this time or possibly longer.

Make a list of the contents you need so the Loss Adjuster can give authorisation quickly to retrieve them from the property before work commences. This can include food from the fridge or freezer that will otherwise go to waste.

Clothing affected by biohazards or smoke damage may need to be cleaned by specialists. Consider this when talking to your insurance company.

It is also essential to inform the restoration company or removal company of any high value or sentimental items so they can be put aside, to be removed to the storage facility for safe keeping.

When the insurance works start, you will either need to meet the Loss Adjuster and your chosen restoration company on site, provide access, or install a key safe to allow entry without you there. If you choose to work with CPL t/a Rainbow Restoration, we can meet the Loss Adjusters on your behalf and take control of the situation, so you can get on with your commitments.

At CPL t/a Rainbow Restoration, we pride ourselves on working for our clients, not the insurance company. We have your best interests at heart, doing everything in our power to ensure you get your full entitlement fromunder the claim, so that you can get back home or to work as quickly as possible.

Often, the unpacking of your contents and any restored items will be included in the restoration process, but it’s always worth checking with your insurance company. If you have chosen to use the insurance company’s builders, there will be less flexibility and you may not get a smooth service.

If you use your own restoration company, such as CPL t/a Rainbow Restoration, we will give you advice and work around your busy schedule. We will be much more accommodating, helping you to get back into your property, whether that’s your home or workplace, as quickly as possible.

If the works can be completed while you are living or working in the property, we can work around customers and move contents around as necessary to get work done.

If you have experienced a fire, flood or biohazards disaster, we recommend getting in touch with us for advice before contacting your insurance company 0800 030 4360. We may be able to save you time and money. The sooner we can clean-up following the incident, the greater the chances of reducing any long-lasting damage.

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