Flood Insurance

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Last updated: 17 December 2020

Why do I need flood insurance? 

Most home insurance policies cover some level of flood damage as standard.

For most people, buildings insurance would cover your home, and contents insurance would cover what’s inside it.

But, if your home is in a flood risk area or has been flooded before, it can be more difficult to find a policy to cover you. You might need specialist flood risk insurance. 

Flood insurance can cover you for repairs, replacements or even a rebuild, depending on the extent of the damage. It usually covers flooding that’s caused by nature, such as rain or overflowing rivers or canals. It doesn’t tend to cover ‘escape of water’ flooding caused by burst pipes or a problem with the water main. This is usually covered in a different section of your policy.

Damage caused to your buildings and contents by flooding can not only be heart-breaking, but it can also be very expensive to put right. That’s why some standard insurance policies won’t cover homes at risk from flood damage. It’s also why you are advised to have flood insurance, to help you if the worst happened.

Home insurance for flood risk areas, or for homes that have flooded before, is usually more expensive than your average home insurance.  But – while some insurers won’t cover you at all if your home’s in a flood risk area – you should still be able to find an affordable policy that does cover you.

Remember that if you’re renting, it’s your landlord’s responsibility to insure the building, not yours.

Here’s more about what flood insurance covers.

How to get a quote for home insurance for flood risk areas

Look for a specialist insurer that can protect your property. Get a quote for specialist flood insurance by visiting their website. You could also give them a call or use a comparison service.

Some online specialist flood insurance providers will ask you to complete a contact form so they can get back to you to discuss your cover. Others let you get a quote online, but you’ll need to answer questions about your property. For example:

Updated 17 December 2020
Is your home within 200 metres of any rivers, streams, canals or other bodies of water?
If it is, how far from the water is your home (in meters or feet)?
How high above the water line is your property?

If your home has flooded in the past, you may be asked to confirm a few other details so the flood insurance provider can quote you for flood risk insurance. These might include:

Updated 17 December 2020
The date your home flooded
If your buildings were affected
The cause of the flood
The depth of the flood water
What precautions have been taken since (for example, have anti-flood barriers or sandbags been installed)

The answers you give to these questions may be the decider for whether or not the insurer can cover you. It will also influence what premium they charge you for your flood insurance.

You should compare as many quotes as possible to find the best specialist flood insurance cover for your needs at the cheapest price.

What does specialist flood insurance cover?

Flood risk insurance can cover you for most eventualities that come from flooding.

For example, flood insurance can cover:

  • Repairs to your property

  • Drying out your home

  • Removing debris that comes in with flood water

  • Repairing or replacing your furniture and other belongings

  • Repairing or replacing fixtures and fittings (such as lights or your kitchen)

  • Accommodation if you can’t stay in your home

  • Professional fees caused by the flooding (such as legal fees or surveyor fees).

Not every policy covers all of this, so read the details carefully.

Flood RE could help

Flood RE is a scheme designed to help people find affordable home insurance for flood risk areas.

The UK government created the scheme in collaboration with the insurance industry. The idea is that people living in flood risk areas don’t have to pay extortionate premiums.

Every UK insurer pays into a collective fund that can help keep policies cheaper. Not every insurer has to offer home insurance for flood risk areas but – thanks to the fund – those who do offer can do so at a more affordable price.

You can find insurers that are part of the Flood RE scheme here.

Here’s more information on how Flood RE works, including which homes are eligible.

How much will I pay for flood risk insurance?

As with any type of insurance, the price of flood insurance varies greatly.

The most important factor in your quote is how likely it is that your home will be flooded. Home insurance for flood risk areas costs more. 

Other factors that will affect the cost of your flood insurance are the rebuild cost and whether your home’s flooded recently.

How do I know if I’m in a flood risk area?

It’s helpful to you to know how at-risk your home is of flooding. This will help you to put the right flood insurance in place.

To work this out, you can:

  • Check the relevant flood maps for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

  • Get a flood risk assessment, which you can then share with insurers

  • If you’re in England, ask the Environment Agency for a free insurance-related request letter. This details planned improvements and previous floods and assessments, and you can show it to your insurer

  • Install products that help keep flood water out of your home, like air-brick covers and flood boards

  • Sign up for flood warnings and join flood action groups

  • Help lobby for flood defence improvements in your area with your local council and through public consultations

If your home’s at high risk of flooding, it might be handy to create an emergency kit that you could grab if you needed to, containing important items. For example, you could have your insurance documents in it, a first aid kit, a phone charger, torch, water and so on.

You could also make sure your most treasured possessions are kept upstairs.

Another thing that might be handy is to take photos of what your home looks like, so you could show your insurer ‘before’ photos.

How do I make a claim on my specialist flood insurance?

If you need to claim on your flood risk insurance, the first thing to do is contact them and tell them what’s happened.

Then you need to star gathering your evidence – photos, videos and notes will help. Don’t forget to check how deep the water is.

Contact your insurer before you start cleaning up, but once you’ve let them know it should be ok to start clearing the mess. You could check with them to be sure. Just make sure you’ve got photos of the flooding and damaged items. You can even keep samples of damaged items to show your flood risk insurance provider, such as a section of carpet.

A loss assessor may be appointed to help the insurance company decide how much to pay out. You can also choose to pay for your own loss assessor to get involved.

Flood insurance FAQs

How can I find out if my home is at risk from flooding?

Look at a flood map to see if your home is in a flood risk area, or visit the GOV.UK website to find out if you are at risk from flooding.

Why do some insurers not cover flood risk properties?

If your home is damaged by flooding the repair bills for your buildings and contents can be huge, so some insurers are not willing to cover the risk.

Can I get cover if my home has flooded before?

Yes, but it may be more expensive if you have made a claim for damage previously.

What can flood insurance cover?

It can cover your buildings and contents. Always check what cover each insurer offers, and what properties they can protect.

How do I work out the rebuild value of my home?

You can pay a chartered surveyor for an accurate value, or use the free Association of British Insurers (ABI) rebuild calculator for an estimate.

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