What is flood insurance?

Protecting your home against the risk of flooding

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If your home is in a flood risk area, home insurance can help to protect your property and contents against flood damage. It would contribute towards the cost of replacement, rebuilding or repairs.

House with sandbags to protect from flooding

What is flood insurance?

Flood insurance is normally included as standard under home insurance policies, and it provides you with coverage for costs resulting from flood damage. Buildings insurance will cover the structure of the property, with your belongings and possessions covered under a contents policy.

Flood insurance refers to flooding that happens due to natural occurrences such as high amounts of rain or a river overflowing.

What does flood insurance cover?

Your buildings insurance policy and flood insurance

Flood insurance as part of standard buildings insurance offers coverage for flood-related costs such as:

  • Drying out your home
  • Restoring any fittings and fixtures like lights and kitchens
  • Removing debris
  • Fees for services needed after a flood, which can include legal representation, property surveyor and architect fees

Your contents insurance policy and flood insurance

If flooding causes damage to any of your belongings, you’ll need to claim on your contents insurance for things like:

  • Furniture, including carpet, sofas and tables
  • Electrical goods, including TVs and computers
  • Any other personal belongings you’ve added to your contents insurance. There may be a ‘single item value limit’ which would exclude possessions worth over a certain amount. This means you need to tell your insurer about valuable jewellery, gadgets, instruments, or sports equipment when you apply for contents insurance

New for old

Your contents policy is likely to provide new-for-old coverage. This means your insurer will pay to replace any damaged items with brand new items. Some insurers say that there are exceptions to this policy – for example, if any clothes are damaged in a flood, they might make deductions due to wear and tear.

It’s important to remember that insurance policies vary in terms of the exact level of coverage they provide, so it’s a good idea to read the policy documents before making a decision.

What isn’t covered by flood insurance?

Some flood insurance features might only be covered as additional extras – without them, you might not be covered for:

  • Alternative accommodation costs: in case your home becomes inhabitable while it’s being repaired after a flood. Even if cover is given, you should always make sure you know how much a provider is willing to pay to help you make sure you have enough to cover you for the entire time your home is being repaired.
  • Escape of water: if the water damage comes from a pipe leaking or bursting in your home, this will come under the ‘escape of water’ section of your policy, not the flooding cover.
  • Fences, hedges and gates: flood damage to fences, hedges and gates may not be covered by standard flood insurance.

It’s a good idea to read the policy documents carefully to see what is and isn’t covered as part of an insurer’s standard flood insurance policy – and what could be added on as additional cover.

How much does flood insurance cost?

The premiums you pay for flood insurance depend on a few different factors, but the most significant is the property’s risk of becoming flooded. The higher the risk of flooding, the more expensive the policy will be.

For example, the average price of home insurance for consumers whose home hasn’t been flooded before is £105, compared to £254 if it has been flooded before.

And homes that were further than 400m away from a source of water paid an average of £104 for their home insurance, compared to an average policy price of £136 for homes that are less than 400m from water.

A graphic showing how the cost of home insurance is affected if your home has been flooded before and if it’s less than 400m away from water

The cost of annual home insurance is on average £49 more if your home has been flooded before, and £32 more if your home is less than 400m away from water – according to MoneySuperMarket data January – June 2018.

Home insurance for flood risk areas

A joint scheme by the government and the insurance industry called Flood Re is helping to bring down costs of insurance policies for homes in high risk areas.

If you make a claim on your home insurance for flood damage, your insurer will pay out and Flood Re will then reimburse the insurer for this cost. This helps keep the cost of flood insurance affordable.

You can check whether your home and/or area is in a high risk area using the government’s flood map for planning services. All you need to do is enter your postcode and you’ll be able to see what flood zone your home is in - if any at all.

You might also want to sign up for free flood warnings, and the Environmental Agency can provide you with a property’s flood history.

A map showing where in the UK consumers say they’ve claimed for flood damage

The number of flood claims declared per 1,000 enquires when consumers were looking for a home insurance policy, according to MoneySuperMarket data January – June 2018.

 

Making a claim on flood insurance

If your home becomes flooded, there are things you can do to help make sure your insurance provider will cover the damage:

  • Let your insurer know: if there’s a flood and it causes damage that you’ll need to claim for, you should tell your insurer as soon as possible.
  • Gather evidence: it’s good to take pictures and/or video recordings of the flood and any damage it causes, as well as noting down details like the depth of the water.
  • Leave everything as it is: it’s best to wait until you’ve talked to your insurer before trying to clear or repair anything that’s been damaged by the flooding, in case it affects your claim.
  • Consider consulting a loss assessor: insurance companies can appoint a loss assessor/adjustor to look into a claim for them and decide how much they’ll pay out. You can also contact a loss assessor to represent your claim – but you’ll likely be charged a fee for this service.

A graph showing the most common previous home insurance claims consumers have listed when taking out a quote.

The most common previous home insurance claims consumers have listed when taking out a quote and the percentage they make up of the total claims declared – according to MoneySuperMarket data January – June 2018.

Excess and no claims bonus

You might want to consider whether any flood damage is worth claiming on your buildings insurance if it isn’t extensive. If you’ve added a voluntary excess fee to your insurance policy that you pay if you make a claim, this could be £100 or £200, so a small claim may not be worth it.

If you’re able to cover the repair costs yourself, you can avoid paying excess and keep your no claims bonus. This could help to keep your premium costs down in the future.

If you’re with an insurer that offers flood insurance as part of the Flood Re scheme, you’ll need to pay a £250 Flood Re excess fee for any loss or damage claims that happen as a result of the flood.

Comparing flood insurance quotes

You can compare home insurance policies by the level of cover they provide with MoneySuperMarket’s home insurance comparison tool. Answer a few questions about yourself, your home, and your area – including possible flood risks – and you’ll be able to browse through a list of policies.

If you are in a flood risk area then you’ll need to make sure your home insurance would cover the cost of any repair and restoration work for your home and contents if they’re damaged in a flood. The cheapest policy may not offer the right level of cover for your home, so it’s important to compare.

You can compare different policies by the level and amount of cover they offer, the minimum excess you’ll need to pay, as well as inclusions and extras, customer ratings and reviews, and the actual price of the policy itself.

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