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Flood insurance

All home insurance policies cover flooding as standard. In fact, there’s no such thing as a standalone flood insurance policy.

Buildings insurance will cover the structure, fixtures and fittings of your home against flood damage, while contents cover will help you repair or replace your possessions if a flood strikes. 

Even if you live in a flood risk area, your home insurance will still cover you for flooding. And thanks to the Flood RE scheme, you shouldn’t have to pay above the odds for it either. 

Read on for more about Flood RE, tips on getting cheaper home insurance and what exactly you’ll be able to claim for if your home floods. 

Or get a quote now to find a great deal on your home insurance.
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Do I need flood insurance?

So while flood insurance isn’t a legal requirement, the good news is it’s usually included as part of buildings and contents insurance.

Clearing up, repairing your property and replacing ruined items after a flood can be expensive, as our data shows:

Policy type Average cost of claim after a flood1
Buildings insurance
£48,551
Contents insurance
£11,489

If you’re buying your home with a mortgage, your lender is unlikely to release your funds without buildings insurance in place.

Even if you own your home outright it’s still a good idea to have buildings insurance due to the cost of repairing your home after a flood.

If you’re renting, you don’t need to worry about buildings insurance – this is the responsibility of the landlord or whoever owns the freehold on the property. But, you should consider contents insurance to protect your own belongings from flooding.

1May 2022 - May 2023 data - Confused.com.

What if I live in a flood risk area?

The Environment Agency has estimated that 1 in 6 or 5.2 million properties in England are at risk of flood from rivers and sea.

It used to be tough to find affordable home insurance with flood cover, but it’s become much easier since the launch of the Flood Re scheme in 2016.

Flood Re is a non-profit joint initiative between the government and insurers, which aims to make home insurance with flood cover more affordable.

To be eligible for the scheme, your home insurance must be in your name and your home must be:

  • Built before 1 January 2009
  • In a council tax band
  • Used for residential purposes

If your property is leasehold or a residential buy-to-let it should be covered by the scheme if it meets the criteria.

If you’re eligible, all you need to do to benefit from the scheme is buy home insurance with a participating insurer. A full list of those participating is available on the Flood Re website.

Find out more in our guide Flood Re explained.

If you’re not sure if your home is in a flood risk area, use the online checker for where you live:

What does flood insurance cover?

The specifics of your flood cover depends on the policy you buy.

  • Buildings insurance covers the structural part of your property, as well as damage to permanent fixtures caused by flooding. This includes the cost of drying your home out after a flood and removing any debris. It should also provide alternative accommodation if you can't live in your home while repairs are being carried out.
  • Contents insurance covers your personal belongings against flood damage, including your flooring, furniture and electrical items.

If you own your own home, it's a good idea to have both types of insurance to ensure it’s properly protected if it floods. You can choose a combined policy or separate policies from different insurers.

What isn’t covered by flood insurance?

Flood insurance varies between providers, so check your policy documents carefully for what’s excluded before buying.

In general, the following isn’t covered by flood insurance:

  • Most commercial properties
  • Holiday homes
  • Flooding caused by burst pipes or leaks, known as escape of water. This is likely to be covered separately, so check your home insurance documents for this.
  • Damage to outbuildings, garden plants and fences

Your home insurance won’t necessarily cover groundwater flooding. Flooding from groundwater occurs when the water table rises, which means the level of water within the rock or soil underground has increased.

If the water table rises significantly, it can reach ground level and breach the surface, causing flooding. It can show in 2 ways in the home:

  • Damp
  • Water seeping through floors or basements

This can be devastating, with the cost of groundwater flooding damage potentially running into tens of thousands of pounds.

The British Geological Survey says up to 290,000 properties in England are located in areas at risk of groundwater flooding.

If you live in an area at risk of groundwater flooding, check your insurance documents carefully and choose a policy that covers this.

How much does flood insurance cost?

The cost of flood insurance varies depending on how close your home is to water sources such as:

  • Lakes
  • Rivers
  • Streams
  • The sea
How close your home is to water Average annual cost of combined home insurance2
Within 200m
£241
200-400m
£186
More than 400m
£154

Flood risk properties can be more expensive to insure, but Flood Re has reduced costs considerably. It's important you answer all questions truthfully when getting a quote, otherwise you may not be able to make a claim if you ever need to.

The exact cost depends on a range of factors including:

  • The flood risk of your property
  • The size and type of your property
  • Where you live
  • Your occupation
  • The value of your belongings
  • The rebuild value of your home

2Confused.com data December 2022 - May 2023.

What do I need to get a quote?

To get started we need to know some details about your home and its contents, including:

  • The build date
  • The type of property and when you moved in or bought it.
  • How close your home is to water such as rivers, streams, lakes or the sea.
  • If there’s ever been any flooding from rivers, streams, lakes or the sea. If yes, did it happen in the past 10 years or longer ago?
  • If you’ve taken any measures to help prevent flooding in future, or to reduce the damage from any floods.
  • What types of locks you have on external doors.
  • The value of your home's contents.
  • The estimated rebuild cost.
  • The level of cover you need.

You should also consider if you want to add extras like home emergency cover or accidental damage to your policy.

What our home insurance expert says

"If you live in a flood risk area or your home has flooded before, you may be worried about finding affordable flood insurance. The good news is flood cover is usually included as part of home insurance – but be sure to read the details carefully and answer the questions truthfully when getting a quote to make sure you’re covered should the worst happen.

Bear in mind flood insurance doesn’t cover flooding caused by burst pipes or an escape of water, although it’s usually covered separately on your home insurance. Make sure you prepare your home for winter to reduce the risk of this happening."

Matthew Harwood, Home & lifestyle insurance expert at Confused.com
Home & lifestyle insurance expert Confused.com logo

How do I make a claim after a flood?

Report any damage caused by flooding to your insurer as soon as possible, contacting them through their emergency claims line.

Give your insurer as much information as you can. Take photos of any damage, and carefully record everything that relates to your claim. You should wait until your insurer gives you the go-ahead before removing anything from your property that has anything to do with the claim.

Once you’ve registered your claim, ask your insurer when they expect their loss adjuster to inspect your home, just so you’re aware.

For more information, read our guide on how to make a home insurance claim.

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