Can home insurance cover flooding?

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If your home floods, the costs of repairing the damage can be huge, so it pays to have a home insurance policy that can cover the cost. Here is how to find a policy that can cover flooding.
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Can home insurance cover flooding?

According to the Environment Agency as many as 5.2 million UK properties - that’s one in six - is at risk of flooding. Find out if you can get insurance if your home is at risk.

What is flood insurance?

Even if you live in a high-risk area, you don’t need to buy a specific flood insurance policy.

Most buildings insurance policies cover flood damage up to the rebuild value of your home. Your belongings meanwhile can be protected from flood damage with contents insurance. That means if your home is destroyed by a flood you can claim on your home insurance policy to pay for the necessary repairs and replace your personal possessions.

What does it cover?

Your home insurance can cover the costs of:

  • Repairing your property

  • Drying out your home

  • Removing any debris brought into your home by floodwater

  • Alternative accommodation if your home is uninhabitable

  • Replacing or fixing your belongings, including furniture

Is your home at risk from flooding?

If you are unsure whether your home is at risk from flooding, you can check by using a flood risk map.

Different government agencies are responsible for issuing flood maps depending on where you live:

  • England and Wales: The Environment Agency maintains a detailed flood risk map.

  • Scotland: The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) publishes a selection of flood maps.

  • Northern Ireland: The Department for Infrastructure maintains a strategic flood map.

The GOV.UK website can also help you find out if you are at risk from flooding.

Check before you buy a new home

If you are buying a new home it is worth checking to see if the property is in a flood area and how likely you are to suffer flood damage.

You should check the flood maps, and you can also:

  • Speak to locals: Speak with the owners of neighbouring properties to find out if there has been any flooding in the past and contact the local authority to check if they hold council records relating to flooding in the area.

  • Ask a flood risk consultant: It might cost you a few hundred pounds but an expert can give you more details on the level of risk you will face, where water will come from, and how long flooding could last. 

Can you get insurance in a flood risk area?

Yes you should be able to find an affordable policy even if your home is susceptible to flooding, although some insurers may be unwilling to cover you.

This is down to an agreement between the UK government and the insurance industry called Flood Re.

What is Flood Re?

It is an insurance scheme launched in April 2016 that aims to ensure homeowners and residents living in high flood risk areas can find affordable flood insurance.

UK home insurance companies pay into a collective fund that is used to offset the costs of flood damage. To be eligible your home must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a Council Tax band A to H

  • Be used for residential purposes, 

  • Is lived in by the policyholder, their immediate family or be unoccupied

  • Have been built before 1st January 2009

  • Be in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland

You don’t need to do anything to benefit from Flood Re, you just need to use an insurance company that participates in the scheme. You can find a list here.

How does Flood Re work?

Flood Re is funded by a £180m levy each year paid by all UK home insurance companies.

The premiums charged to home insurers will be capped based on the council tax band of the property being insured, starting at £169 per year for homes in Bands A and B rising to £1,218 for homes in Band H.

It is up to each insurer whether this cost is passed onto policyholders in the form of increased premiums.

These extra funds are put to one side to offset the cost of repairing flood damage when it occurs and ensure that the flood insurance cap is affordable for the insurance industry.

Find Flood Re insurers here

How to claim for flood damage

As soon as your property is flooded you should contact your insurer immediately. It can advise how you should proceed, and some will have a dedicated flood helpline you can call for advice.

Your insurer may arrange for a loss adjuster to visit your property to assess the damage and work out what repairs or replacements are needed.

Let your insurer know if there are emergency issues that need to be sorted immediately. It may:

  • Let you arrange the repairs yourself and reimburse the cost

  • Arrange the repairs for you before the loss adjuster's visit

Questions to ask your insurer

  • When the loss adjuster will come to survey your property?

  • Will the insurance company organise and pay for cleaning and redecorating?

  • Who will be your point of contact at the insurance company for your claim?

  • Where can you find alternative accommodation, and how much will the insurance company pay towards costs if you need to temporarily move out?

  • What should you do and not do when attempting to clean up your property?

If you rent your home, make sure your landlord contacts its buildings insurance provider to make the claim for you.

If your personal belongings have been damaged, do not remove or replace any items until you have spoken to your insurer.

List all the flood damage caused, and take photos and video showing the highest watermark to back up your claim.

Protect your home and belongings for less by comparing home insurance policies to cover a range of property types and individual circumstances.

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