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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.
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:
|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:
|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.
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.
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.
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.
To work this out, you can:
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.
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.
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.
Yes, but it may be more expensive if you have made a claim for damage previously.
Last updated: 13 October, 2021
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