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FLOOD INSURANCE

COMPARE HOME INSURANCE QUOTES FOR PROPERTIES AT RISK OF FLOODING

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1 Accurate as of October 2023

What is flood insurance?

Flood insurance provides coverage for costs resulting from flood damage – caused by heavy rain or overflowing rivers rather than a burst pipe, for example – and is a standard feature of most home insurance policies. Buildings insurance covers damage to the structure of the property, while a contents policy covers the loss of or damage to your home contents and belongings.

Do I need flood insurance?

Most homeowners benefit from flood insurance, also known as flood risk insurance, with their home insurance. However, those who live in an area at high risk of flooding, or whose property has been flooded in the past, may have to pay higher premiums and will often only be able to get a home flood insurance policy that is partially covered by a government-backed scheme (see below).

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What if I live in a high-risk flood area?

Home insurance is generally still available even if you live in an area with a high risk of flooding, thanks to the government-backed Flood Re reinsurance scheme.

Designed to ensure home insurance remains affordable for even those worst affected by flooding, it is funded by insurers and is used to pay flood claims made by high-risk customers – allowing insurers to offer cover at a lower price than they could otherwise.

You can check the level of flood risk in your area, or at a property you are considering buying, by entering the postcode on the government’s flood map service.

How much does flood insurance cost?

While flood insurance is included in most home insurance policies, it can increase the cost of your policy if your home is judged to be at a high risk of flooding. Generally, the closer you live to water, be that the sea, a river, or a lake, the greater the effect covering you for flood damage will have on your home insurance.

How much extra you have to pay for flood cover will also depend on whether your home has already been flooded in the past. Our data shows that the average cost of a joint buildings and contents home insurance policy for a property within 400m of water is over £17 higher than for a property more than 400m from water. Having a flood, meanwhile, will typically increase your home insurance costs by over £210 per year.1

house illustration

1Based on combined buildings and contents insurance quotes, MoneySuperMarket data collected between January and March 2022, accurate as of May 2022.

What does flood insurance cover?

Flood insurance is designed to protect your home and its contents from water damage related to natural causes.

  • Tick

    Buildings insurance flood cover

    The flood insurance offered with standard buildings cover includes:

    • Drying out your home

    • Restoring fittings and fixtures

    • Removing debris

    • Legal and/or rebuilding costs

  • Tick

    Contents insurance flood cover

    The flood insurance offered with standard home contents cover includes:

    • Furniture, including carpets, sofas, and tables

    • Electrical goods such as TVs and computers

    • Other personal belongings, generally up to a single-item value limit

    • Valuables such as jewellery, if named on your policy

Rebecca Goodman

Our expert says

"

If your home is damaged by flood water it can cause significant problems and be costly, and in the worst-case scenario you may have to move out of your home while it’s dried and repaired. If you have home insurance, you should be covered against the costs of flood damage and it is usually included with standard buildings insurance. Even if you live in an area which is at high-risk of flooding, the Government’s Flood Re scheme means you should still be able to get cover and you won’t be left covering the costs yourself.

"
- Rebecca Goodman, Financial journalist

What's not covered by flood insurance?

Policies vary but common flood insurance exclusions include:

  • Alternative accommodation: You may have to cover the cost of alternative accommodation while your home is repaired after a flood

  • Escape of water: If the water damage is due to a pipe leaking or bursting in your home, it falls under the ‘escape of water’ section of your policy

  • Fences, hedges, and gates: Flood damage to fences, hedges and gates on your property is not always covered by a standard flood insurance policy

You may however be able to add these types of cover to your home insurance at an extra cost. 

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Yes, probably. Most home insurance policies – both contents policies and buildings policies – include flood insurance as standard, although you should always check the small print to ensure you have the level of cover you would need in the event of a flood. 

In insurance terms, flood damage is damage caused by flooding from ‘natural sources’, such as excessive rain or a river bursting its banks.

If you have a burst pipe, this is likely to be referred to as an ‘escape of water’ and will come under a different section of your insurance policy.

When it rains, the soil soaks up the water and saturates the rock beneath, creating what’s known as a water table. If heavy rainfall causes this water table to rise and prevents sewers and drainage systems from functioning properly, everything starts to overflow – which is known as groundwater flooding.

If you think your property could be at risk for groundwater flooding, it’s worth contacting your insurance provider to check whether your home insurance policy will cover this type of flooding.

You can enter your postcode to check your flood risk according to the government’s flood map. Alternatively, you can sign up for the free flood warning service or ask the Environmental Agency for more information about a property’s flood history.

In most cases, making a flood claim will increase the cost of your home insurance. Our research indicates that premiums are on average over £100 higher for those who have made a flood claim on their home insurance policy previously.*

Quotes are also over £210* higher on average when the applicant declares the property has been flooded before.  

*Based on combined buildings and contents insurance quotes, MoneySuperMarket data was collected between January and March 2022, accurate as of May 2022.

If your home is affected by flood damage, taking the following steps can improve your chances of making a successful claim:

  • Contact your insurer as soon as possible

  • Take pictures/video recordings of the flood and any damage caused

  • Talk to your insurer before starting any post-flood cleaning or repairs

  • Consider consulting an independent loss assessor if you’re unhappy with your payout

As a tenant, your landlord is usually responsible for taking out building insurance. So, any damage to the structure of your rented property should be covered under his or her flood insurance policy.

However, it's a good idea to take out a contents insurance policy that protects your possessions against flood damage, as well as other risks such as theft and fire.

Not living near water is no guarantee that your home will not be flooded. Very heavy rainfall can cause flooding even if you live miles away from the nearest natural water source. 

Steps you can take to protect your home from flood damage include:

  • Take preventative measures: Buy sandbags and flood boards you can use to seal doorways and place them in sinks and toilets to prevent sewage backflow. Plastic sheeting is also useful to block air bricks

  • Prepare an emergency kit: Put together an emergency kit of essentials you would need in the event of a flood – we recommend including insurance documents, a battery-powered torch and radio, waterproof clothing and blankets, bottled water, non-perishable food and medication, a first-aid kit, phone chargers, and food for babies and pets

  • Take pre-flood photos: Take photos of your home before the flooding starts so you have before-and-after shots to show your insurer

If you know there is a high chance your home is about to be flooded, you should also:

  • Listen for flood warnings: Keep an ear out for local flood warnings on the radio, the TV news or via the Government website

  • Turn electricity, gas, and water off Where possible, shut off your mains electricity, gas, and water before floodwater enters your home

  • Shut your windows and doors: Shutting windows and doors will help to reduce the amount of floodwater that can enter your home

  • Evacuate vulnerable people: Evacuate young children and pets before the flooding begins as they are particularly vulnerable

  • Move your car to high ground: If you have time, take your car to higher ground before the floodwater reaches your area

  • Protect your belongings: Place valuables and electronic items as high as possible to avoid them being damaged

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