Flood insurance

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Why do I need flood insurance?

Flooding has become a major issue for homeowners in the UK during the last decade with climate change becoming more prevalent.

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 5.2 million homes in England are at risk of flood from rivers and sea. The risk of flooding from extreme weather is a real worry for homeowners.

Insurance for those in flood risk areas

The ABI (Association of British Insurers) have launched a scheme as of 4th April (2016) called Flood Re.

It’s an initiative to help people who live in flood risk areas get affordable home insurance. This 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.

Every home insurance provider in the UK pays into the Flood Re scheme which raises £180m every year. This levy is used to cover homes that are at risk of flooding.

It only applies to people living in a flood risk area. To find out if it applies to you and more about it, visit the Flood Re website.

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.

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.

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 often 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.

Preparing for bad weather

Flooding is one of the worst things that can happen to your home, and there’s little you can do to stop it from happening. The responsibility lies with the local authorities to build adequate flood defences in your area. 

Check the flood risk map from the Environment Agency to see if you could be affected. Regularly check for warnings and sign up for flood alerts with the Environment Agency tool. Or if you live in Scotland, you can visit the SEPA website to check if you're home is in a flood risk area.

 Flooding in England and Wales

If your home is prone to or at risk of flooding there are some measures you can put in place to help minimise the damage:

1. Doors – Installing a flood-resistant front door can dramatically reduce the chances of water entering your home. 

2. Flood barriers – If flooding is imminent you can protect your doorways and windows with sand bags or barriers to reduce the risk of damage.

3. Listen out for warnings – Local authorities will typically give plenty of warnings when storms are likely to hit, giving you enough time to prepare.

4. Emergency kit – It’s always a good idea to have an emergency pack at the ready to deal with bad weather situations. Include items such as: Charged phone, torch, emergency phone numbers, matches and candles, food and water, and warm clothes.

5. Store valuables upstairs – including important documents such as passports, and insurance documents.

6. Pets – Don’t forget your furry friend during a flood or storm. Keep pets indoors in a safe space.

Flood risk area FAQs

What counts as a flood in a home?
Your property is covered by flooding caused by an outside source, such as a river, stream, lake or tidal waters. It does not cover flooding caused by burst pipes or escape of water.

Can i get cover even if I live in a high risk area?
Thanks to the governments Flood Re scheme, getting insurance for flood risk areas is now easier than it has been in the past. The scheme was designed to ensure you get cover, and also at an affordable price.
What does flood insurance cover?
It can cover costs of drying out your home, removing debris and repairing your property following a flood. Buildings insurance will cover the structural part of your property, as well as damage to permanent fixtures caused by flooding. Contents insurance simply covers your personal belongings such as flooring, furniture and electrical items.

How do I claim for flood damage?
If your home starts to flood you'll need to contact your insurance provider immediately. They'll help you through the next steps and offer advice on how to submit a claim.
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