It never rains but it pours: Advice from an insurance specialist

I’m a Lancashire lad. I was born and brought up in Burnley and I’ve never left it. My business is here, my friends and family are here and yes, my Christmas was spent here. We were lucky. The flood waters did not reach our doorstep.

Stephen Ackers MendITBy Stephen Ackers, managing director, MendIT.

But around us there were homes and high streets devastated by the bursting riverbanks and it wasn’t just on the news, it was in our neighbouring towns and villages. So it’s fair to say we felt the pain very acutely.

The most recent figures are putting the economic impact of the flooding somewhere between £2bn and £2.8bn now and I don’t think we’re going to be ‘home and dry’ at that, for want of a better phrase. Put simply, the cost to home and business owners is going to be crushing and in some tragic cases they are simply not going to recover.

Once the flood waters do recede and the damage can be assessed then a whole new battle starts with the insurance companies. Making a claim can be a gnarly business not to mention long winded and that small print will out in the end. I know this because I made it my business to know, literally. My company MendIT is a repair and insurance specialist for computers, laptops, tablets and smart phones.

The bitter truth is that even if a business has flood insurance, the policies often cover the damage to premises and loss of stock only. Loss of trade owing to the disruption is only covered if firms have paid an extra premium for it as an add-on to their policy. Keeping your business going, even when the flood waters are rising, is crucial so we’re making sure that downtime for damaged laptops and mobile devices is kept as short as humanly possible. In some cases returning a device within an 8 hour period.

Having a positive experience with your insurer is a four letter acronym (rather than a four letter word!): T&C’s. Have you actually read yours? I strongly advise that you take 20 minutes to check your policy because the fine detail is where most claims can fall apart (or you discover your excess and then you fall apart!)

Simple steps can save you so much stress such as photographing/ scanning in copies of your receipts or warranty cards, putting a strip of tape over your serial number so that it remains visible and most importantly running some kind of back up as a matter of course because third party software and files are not part of the hardware and are not covered. T&C’s are pedantic and boring and absolutely crucial. At MendIT we try to be as transparent as possible – to the point of being repetitive. You don’t want to read them, and maybe your insurer doesn’t want you to either. In most cases people hope they’ll never need to make a claim and skip the bedtime reading. Hundreds of business owners across Lancashire, Cumbria and Yorkshire today will be studying their T&C’s and finding that a horrendous situation is so much worse than they thought.