June 16, 2021

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What does flood insurance cover?

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As the UK’s climate changes, flooding is set to become increasingly frequent, according to the Environmental Agency. Without insurance, the costs of repairing, cleaning and replacing things damaged by floods can quite easily spiral out of control.

That’s why it’s a good idea to consider purchasing flood insurance, especially if you live in a flood-prone area. We take a look at everything you need to know about this type of insurance policy.

What is flood insurance?

Flood insurance is usually included as standard in most buildings insurance policies in the UK. It covers any damage to your property caused by floodwater.

However, you’ll also need contents insurance if you would like your belongings to be protected against flood damage as well.

When do I need flood insurance?

You might need flood insurance if you live in an area that could be affected by:

  • A river or canal bursting its banks
  • Seawater flooding caused by storms or high tides
  • Surface water flooding or rapid groundwater flooding caused by heavy rainfall or a burst pipe

What does it cover?

Flood insurance typically covers the costs of:

  • Drying out your home
  • Restoring fittings and fixtures
  • Removing debris
  • Professional services you might need after a flood (e.g. solicitors, architects and surveyors)
  • Repair or replacement of damaged furniture and belongings

What might not be covered?

Alternative accommodation 

Flood insurance might not cover the costs of alternative accommodation while your home is being repaired. And even if accommodation is covered, the payout might not be enough to pay the full cost.

Therefore, when shopping for cover, make a point of finding out if and how much the insurer is willing to pay to accommodate you while your house is undergoing repairs.

Replacing all of your damaged belongings

If your belongings have been damaged during a flood, the payout from your insurer will depend on the type of contents insurance you have.

For example, if you have a new for old policy, the payout should be enough to replace all the damaged items with new ones. 

But if you have indemnity cover, you’ll only get what your old items were worth immediately before the flood. That means the payout will probably not be enough to replace all your damaged items with new equivalent items.

Also, standard home insurance might not provide cover for damaged fences, hedges and gates.

To be sure of what exactly is covered and what is not, read the fine print of your policy very carefully.

Can you get flood insurance in a flood risk zone?

Insurers cannot refuse you cover if your home is in a flood risk zone as long as the government is still funding local flood defences.

But you might have to flood-proof the home first to get cover. You’ll probably also have to pay higher premiums.

Luckily, a new scheme known as Flood Re has been set up to help homeowners with properties at risk of flooding get cover at more affordable rates.

This joint UK government and insurance industry initiative reduces the amount insurers are liable to pay for flood claims, making insurance more affordable for people living in areas at high risk of flooding. 

More information can be found on the Flood Re website.

How much does flood insurance cost?

The cost of flood insurance depends on several factors, with the most significant being the risk of flooding in your home. The higher the risk, the higher your premiums are likely to be.

According to insurance comparison site MoneySuperMarket, home insurance that includes flood insurance costs an average of:

  • £280 a year if your home has been flooded before
  • £121 a year if you have never been flooded
  • £149 a year if you live less than 400m from water
  • £120 a year if you live more than 400m from water

The best way to find affordable coverage for your needs is to shop around and compare different home insurance quotes.

Other useful information

If you’re a tenant, it’s your landlord’s responsibility, not yours, to have building insurance. But you’ll still need contents insurance if you want your belongings to be covered.

Most mortgage companies will insist that you take out buildings insurance (inclusive of flood cover) as part of your deal.

Takeaway

Flood insurance can provide some peace of mind and speed up your recovery if your home is ever flooded. If you’re a homeowner, it’s something worth considering no matter where you live.

What next?

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