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Flood insurance?

How to protect your home against the risk of flooding

If you’re unlucky enough to be hit by flooding, you might encounter heart-breaking damage and high repair costs. If your home is in a flood-risk area, flood insurance can protect your property and contents

By Emily Sullivan

Updated: 29 April 2021

Rescue team evacuating stranded residents

Looking for home insurance?

What is flood insurance?

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

Flood insurance refers to flooding caused by high amounts of rainfall or an overflowing river, rather than burst pipes or a dodgy water main.

Do I need flood insurance?

If you live in an area at high risk of flooding, or your property has been affected by flooding in the past, you may need flood insurance. This is because providers will often hike up home insurance prices for properties in a flood-risk area. However, Flood Re might be able to help you. 

Flood re and home insurance for flood-risk areas

Flood Re is a joint scheme run by the government and the insurance industry that’s designed to bring down the cost of insurance 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 in order to keep the costs of flood insurance manageable.


where do most people claim for flood insurance?

Hull is commonly the most flooded city in the UK, with 5.9% of quotes declaring previous experience of flooding. This is well above the national average of 0.7%. Carlisle (3.1%) and Lancaster (2.6%) are the next most flood-prone cities, followed by Llandudno (1.9%) and Exeter (1.8%).

Crewe (0.2%) and Luton (0.1%) are the areas in the UK that are least likely to experience flooding.

*According to data collected by MoneySuperMarket between January 2020 – January 2021

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

You can check whether your home is in a high-risk area with the government’s flood map. Enter your postcode and you’ll be able to see how much risk your home is in – if any.

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

What does flood insurance cover?

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

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

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

  • Furniture, including carpets, 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. You need to tell your insurer about especially valuable jewellery, gadgets, instruments or sports equipment when you apply for contents insurance

How much does flood insurance cover cost?


How much does flood insurance cost

*According to data collected by MoneySuperMarket between July and December 2020, accurate as of February 2021

How does flooding affect my home insurance costs?

Our research shows the impact that flooding can have on home insurance premiums, with a flooding claim adding £72* on average to premiums. Quotes are £120* higher on average when the applicant declares that flooding has previously occurred to the property.  

*According to data collected by MoneySuperMarket between January 2020 – January 2021

What isn’t covered by flood insurance?

Some flood insurance issues will only be covered as additional extras, so you might not be covered for the following:

  • Alternative accommodation costs: In case your home becomes inhabitable while it’s being repaired after a flood. Even if cover is provided for this, make sure you know how much your insurer is willing to pay to house you while your home is being repaired
  • Escape of water: If the water damage comes from a pipe leaking or bursting in your home, it comes under the ‘escape of water’ section of your policy, not 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 you can include as additional cover.

What is ‘flood’?

When we say flood damage, we mean 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.

What is groundwater flooding?

When it rains, the soil soaks up the water like a sponge and saturates the rock beneath, creating what’s known as a water table. Groundwater flooding occurs when heavy rainfall causes the water table to rise preventing sewers and drainage systems from functioning properly, so everything overflows. If you think your property could be at risk for groundwater flooding, contact your insurance provider to check whether your home insurance policy will cover this type of flooding.

When it rains, the soil soaks up the water like a sponge and saturates the rock beneath, creating what’s known as a water table. Groundwater flooding occurs when heavy rainfall causes the water table to rise preventing sewers and drainage systems from functioning properly, so everything overflows.

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

How can I keep my home safe in a flood?

To give yourself the best chance of keeping your home and belongings safe in a flood or storm, take the following precautions:

Before a flood

  1. Listen for flood warnings: Keep an ear out for local flood warnings – you can check the radio and TV news as well as
  2. Take preventative measures: Sandbags and flood boards will be in high demand once a flood warning is given, so buy them in advance. Sandbags can be used to seal doorways, and you can also place them in sinks and toilets to prevent sewage backflow. You should also block any air bricks using plastic sheeting
  3. Prepare an emergency kit: Put together an emergency kit or grab-bag with all the vitals you 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 any food you need for babies and pets
  4. Take pre-flood photos: Take photos of your home before the flooding starts so you have a before-and-after to show your insurer and support any claims you make
  5. Turn electricity, gas and water off: Ensure mains electricity is shut off before floodwater enters your home as it is an electrocution risk. You should also turn the gas and water mains off
  6. Shut your windows and doors: Make sure all windows and doors are shut to reduce the amount of floodwater entering your home
  7. Evacuate vulnerable people: Evacuate young children and pets before the flooding begins as they are particularly vulnerable
  8. Move your car to high ground: If you have time before the floodwater reaches your area, take your car to higher ground
  9. Protect your belongings: Think about what belongings you can move to a safe place – for example, any electronics or items of personal value

During a flood

  1. Remove your belongings: If floodwater has already started entering your home, take any belongings you can upstairs, including important documents, electronics, valuables and expensive furniture
  2. Take further preventative measures: Plug your sinks and baths, and weigh the plugs down with heavy objects so they don’t pop out and allow floodwater in
  3. Avoid swimming, walking and driving through floodwater: Floodwater is more powerful than it appears – just six inches of rapidly-moving water can knock an adult over, and two feet can float a vehicle. It is also likely to be contaminated and could make you ill– if you come into contact with it, wash your hands and clothes thoroughly
  4. Stay updated: Stay tuned to local news so you’re aware of any impending dangers or risks

After a flood

  1. Be careful of standing water: Standing floodwater can still carry risks like contamination, sharp objects or an electric current, so avoid it when you can – and if you can’t, wear waterproof clothing and wellington boots
  2. Don’t turn on electronics: Don’t turn on any electrical items until they’ve completely dried out, as this could damage them even further
  3. Dispose of food: Get rid of any food that might’ve come into contact with the floodwater
  4. Boil tap water or use bottled water: Don’t drink water straight from the tap – use bottled water or boiled tap water instead until your water supply is declared safe. You should contact your water supplier to be sure
  5. Take more photos: Take photos of the aftermath to show to your insurer as evidence of damage caused by the flooding
  6. Ventilate your home: Open doors and windows once the flooding is declared finished so you can ventilate and dry out your home – remember to unlock air bricks

How to make a claim on flood insurance

If your home becomes flooded, this is what you can do to make sure your insurance provider covers the damage:

  • Let your insurer know: If there’s a flood which causes damage that you’ll need to claim for,  tell your insurer as soon as possible
  • Gather evidence: As mentioned above, take pictures and/or video recordings of the flood and any damage it causes, and note down details like the depth of the water
  • Leave everything as it is: 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 and decide how much they’ll pay out. You can also contact a loss assessor to represent your claim – but you’ll be charged a fee

Will I be able to find home insurance after a flood?

Insurers are not allowed to refuse cover for homes in flood risk areas, so long as the government are still funding local flood defences. However as discussed above, you’ll generally need to shell out more for cover, both in premiums and excess payments.

You’ll be able to take out home insurance as normal – and remember shopping around before you buy is the best way to find the most affordable policy that offers the cover you need.

Do I need flood insurance if I’m a tenant?

As a tenant, your landlord is usually responsible for getting buildings insurance. So, any damage to the structure of your rented property should be covered under their policy.

However, it's a good idea to get contents insurance, which can protect your possessions against flood damage and give you peace of mind.

Do I need flood insurance if I don’t live near water?

Anyone can be affected by flooding, you don’t have to live by the sea, a river or canal to be at risk. Unexpected incidents like a burst pipe or unusually heavy rainfall can cause flooding too.

Compare 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 the flood risks – and you’ll be able to browse a list of policies.

If you are in a flood-risk area, you’ll need to make sure your home insurance would cover the cost of repairs and restoration to your home and contents in the event of 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.

Looking for home insurance?