Flooding can strike anywhere and at any time. In Malaysia, it is probably the most common and expensive natural disaster. If you’ve been following the news closely, you definitely would have heard of the latest flash floods in Penang and Kedah early this month. At least seven people were killed and more than 3,500 people were evacuated in Penang following severe flash floods caused by an 18-hour storm. In fact, the flooding in Penang is reportedly one of the worst since prolonged storms hit Malaysia from December 2014 to January 2015, which caused 21 deaths and displaced 200,000 people.
However, floods in Malaysia are almost inevitable, especially during the monsoon season. Despite multiple efforts by the government to help curb this situation, floods, particularly flash floods, are increasing day by day. Therefore, it is important for Malaysians to know what they should do and where to seek help in case such disaster repeats.
What should you do?
So, you woke up in the morning and realised your house is flooded. I know it’s common for most people to panic and immediately reach out to all the valuable items in the house, in the attempt to save them. But it’s extremely important to be cautious as most people underestimate the power of water. Don’t try to move your big furniture around because even relatively shallow water is powerful in mass quantity and might have a strong water current.
First thing you should do is to turn off all the main switches and valves. It’s no rocket science to know that electricity and water are not match made in heaven.
The next thing you should be doing is to inform your relatives or friends about your current situation. It’s always smart to let others know about your situation so they can seek help from the right authorities if you’re unable to do so.
Who do I call?
Most people take this for granted but it’s extremely crucial to keep the contact number of the police station, fire brigade and hospital near your area. Malaysians tend to take this matter lightly but it’s important to save these numbers in your phone as you will never know when it will come in handy.
However, if you don’t know these numbers when your area is flooded, you can still dial 999 (police and ambulance), 994 (fire brigade) and 112 (emergency number from handphone) and help will still come your way.
Alternatively, you can visit The Official Web of Public Infobanjir publicinfobanjir.water.gov.my and find out what’s the status of the water level in your area. This can help you gauge your situation better and assist you in deciding if you should seek help immediately or if you can still buy time and save your valuable items in the house.
What do I do once the flood recedes?
Once the water level withdraws and your house is dry again, the monumental task of cleaning up and rebuilding falls on the victim’s shoulder. Although the government usually releases some cash handouts, the amount is unfortunately a pittance when held up against the cost of starting over. Therefore, most people who’ve taken insurance policies on their homes will turn to their insurers to help with this burden, but do their policies cover it?
Most house owner’s insurance (Home Loan Frequently Asked Questions) in Malaysia covers your home and/or its contents against loss caused by flood.
However, there’s a difference between a homeowner and householder policy which will then decide what you will be able to claim in the event of a flood.
Homeowner’s policy: Covers only the damage to the structure of the building and not the contents of your home.
Householder’s policy: Covers the contents of your home instead of its structure from many causes of damage, including floods. This policy is designed for tenants and renters who prefer to look after the contents of their home rather than the house itself.
But if you own the house that you’re living in, it’s wise to buy both a homeowner and a householder policy, in case you haven’t. But, if you don’t own any of these policies, it’s crucial that you get one immediately because you will never know when you might need one, given that Mother Nature is unpredictable.
To learn more about protecting your home with insurance, please visit: Protecting Your Home With Insurance