Flood insurance

Protecting your home against the risk of flooding

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Millions of homes are at risk of flooding – here’s how flood insurance can help

House with sandbags to protect from flooding

What is flood insurance?

Flood insurance is normally included as standard within 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?

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

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 - although there may be a ‘single item value limit’ which would exclude possessions worth over a certain amount. This would probably mean certain jewellery gadgets, instruments, or sports equipment might not be covered unless you told the insurer about them when you applied for contents insurance

New for old

Your contents policy is likely to provide new-for-old coverage, which 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.

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, 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 average cost of annual home insurance is £49 more expensive if your home has been flooded before, and the average cost of annual home insurance is £32 more expensive 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.

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 1000 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 immediately.
  • 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 often appoint a loss adjustor to investigate a claim on their behalf. If you feel you need expert back-up, you should contact a loss assessor - although you’re likely to 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

Remember that you’ll have to pay an excess when making a claim - which could be £100 or £200 - so you might want to consider whether any damage is worth claiming on your buildings insurance if it isn’t extensive. If you’re able to cover the repair costs yourself, you can avoid paying excess and keep your no claims bonus – which could help lower your premium costs in the future.

If you’re with an insurer who offers flood insurance as part of the Floodre scheme, you’ll have to pay £250 Floodre excess 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. All you need to do is answer a few questions about yourself, your home, and your area – including questions about possible flood risks – and you’ll be able to browse through a list of policies.

You’ll be able to compare different policies by factors like 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. This way you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about the policy you want, based on the cover you need and the amount you want to pay.

It’s important to remember that going for the cheapest available policy isn’t always the best, because you might then find yourself lacking certain levels of coverage – this can be particularly bad for flooding due to the high costs involved in repairing and restoring your home and belongings.

So you should always keep the level of risk in mind when comparing home insurance policies to find one that provides an adequate level of cover for the most affordable price.

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