Ed Miliband has urged the Government to put pressure on insurance companies so that victims of the floods do not have to wait for payouts.
The Labour leader said ministers had to act to ensure there was no repeat of the "foot-dragging" that firms engaged in after the riots in 2011.
He also insisted the Flood Reinsurance scheme should be beefed up and pushed on to the statute book more quickly.
The comments came after Mr Miliband visited some of the worst affected areas in the Thames Valley, including Purley-on-Thames and Wraysbury.
"I have seen today communities pulling together to deal with the huge challenges posed by the ongoing floods. Our job is to give them all the support they need," he said.
"Today the immediate priority is to do everything we can to help those affected, and to protect lives and property. I'm glad to see the army now playing a fuller role.
"But thousands of families have already been forced to abandon their homes and are now living with friends or family. They rightly want to know that this difficult experience isn't going to be compounded by months or years of delay in receiving the insurance pay-outs that will enable a home to be made habitable as soon as possible.
"The Government should be getting round the table with the insurance industry immediately to ensure every firm is signed up to clear principles of prompt assessment and payment. Now is not the time for foot-dragging of the kind we saw after the riots."