Storm Ophelia is bringing hurricane force winds to the UK - Northern Ireland is feeling the effects of the storm already.
The storm is expected to move across to Wales, northern England and Scotland with high winds expected. FSB can offer practical help to those who are affected and will be advising and updating small businesses via our website and through Social Media:
1. Advise Insurers as soon as possible. Try and ensure that you have your policy details to hand if possible but don't let that delay things as insurance companies can readily search their database if you are unable to provide your policy number. Many insurers have emergency helplines usually included with your policy documents but if you can't find these immediately try finding the insurer's website as that will often have an emergency number. Failing that you could try the website of the Association of British Insurers as they do list many of these helplines.
2. Try to arrange emergency repairs to prevent any damage from getting worse. Most policies have a condition in them that require the policyholder to minimise the damage. If you have a digital camera or a camcorder, it is a good idea to take some pictures of the damage. Keep receipts.
3. Move vulnerable items out of danger if you can. Do not put yourself in danger but sometimes you can move things out of the danger zone.
4. Try not to dispose of anything. This is particularly important as you must not dispose of the evidence. Only do so after you have had the go-ahead from the insurers and/or loss adjuster. Make a note of who you spoke to and when and if you can record the call then it is helpful in the event of disputes. If damaged items represent a potential health hazard them it might be possible to dispose of the items but try to avoid this if you can.
5. Try to put a monetary value of your claim. Easier said than done in the heat of a disaster but the insurers are trying to ascertain what needs to be done. Try to stay calm. They will possibly be inundated with many claims and they are trying to work out who needs emergency action and who can wait. If you can, give them an approximation.
Your Insurers might want to appoint a Loss Adjuster. Insurance companies usually appoint loss adjusters on claims where they think the claim will be over a certain figure. This can vary from insurer to insurer but £5000.00 is usually the threshold. This is one of the things they will be looking to decide in respect of point 5 above.
The Loss Adjusters may be very busy and probably a little overwhelmed. Try and be patient – it will often work in your favour as the adjuster will be under a lot of pressure to be in many places at once. Be aware that there are Loss Assessors who will act for you for a fee. They are not the same as loss adjusters. Assessors work for the policyholder and they charge fees. Most are reputable and can provide a very helpful service. FSB Insurance Service can assist you in finding reputable companies and can provide you with their contact details if you need them.
Remember FSB offers practical help to members who are affected:
• FSB service provider, Towergate offers a free insurance helpline regardless of whether you are insured with them - Call 0345 762 6158
• FSB Legal helpline offers free 24/7 legal advice Call 03450 727 727