Flooding is often unpredictable and becoming increasingly common in the UK.
It could cause thousands of pounds worth of damage to your possessions, structure and the interior of your home.
Why do I need flood insurance?
Flooding has become a major issue for homeowners in the UK during the last decade.
The UK experienced some of its wettest weather in a century in 2012, according to the ABI. It’s estimated up to 8,000 homes were affected by the increase of flooding.
The damage caused totalled a whopping £400 million.
This comes as no surprise when figures from the Environment Agency reveal that around two million homes in England and Wales are at risk of flood from rivers and sea.
Over 500,000 of these homes are at ‘moderate’ risk or higher. The risk of flooding from extreme weather is a real worry for homeowners.
Protect your home from flooding
Flooding is one of the worst things that can happen to your home, and there is little you can do personally to protect yourself. It is up to the local authorities to build adequate flood defences.
You can help yourself by making some preparations like making sure your home and contents are covered by insurance.
Check the flood risk map from the Environment Agency to see if you could be affected, regularly checking for warnings and making sure to sign up for flood alerts with the Environment Agency tool:
Don't assume you're automatically covered
Flood insurance is a fundamental part of both buildings and household contents insurance, but don’t assume you are automatically covered.
If your home is at particular risk, you might need to buy a specialist flood insurance policy.
Most household insurance policies do cover flood risk as standard, but as ever, they are likely to offer different levels of cover.
All members of the ABI adhere to a scheme called the Statement of Principles, which means they can't refuse cover for a homeowner who lives in a high-risk flood area. This is now in the process of being replaced by the Flood Re scheme.
This new scheme is non-profit and has been agreed by the ABI and the Government. It allows insurance companies to pass any flood risk associated with policies into a fund, and in the event of a claim, the fund will pay the flood claim.
It is the first of its kind and as of summer 2015 testing will be underway to make sure customers get the right service.
Look out for any exclusions, and check what your insurer will give you in terms of alternative accommodation while any damage to your home is repaired.
How a flood impacts your premiums
If you ever suffer a flood in your home, the cost of your insurance premium is likely to rise in the future.
You might also have to pay a larger excess on any claims: in extreme cases, this could be as much as £10,000.
Each company has a different approach when it comes to flood claims and excess. It’s a competitive market, so it’s worth shopping around at renewal to get the best price.
No insurance, no mortgage
While insurers are committed to offering existing customers flood cover following a washout, new insurers are under no such obligation, and are likely to turn you away.
This can raise issues when applying for a mortgage on a property in a flood risk area, or one that has been flooded in the past.
If you’re buying a property, remember to look at flood risk very carefully.
Lenders require at least a standard insurance policy to cover the structure of the building before they even consider approving a mortgage.
Before buying, get quotes from an insurance company to see whether it will cover you, and how much you have to pay.
If you are struggling to find flood insurance from a mainstream insurer, or just want extra protection, you could search for specialist flood insurance.
Flood insurance tends to be individually underwritten, to meet the homeowner’s personal circumstances. You may have to pay a higher premium, but that’s better than having no cover at all.