Flooding and home insurance: The main concerns

Is your home correctly insured for the coming winter? If you were recently flooded, are you worried about the cost of your home cover going up? What if you’ve only been flooded once in a one-off flash-flood?image3

Hope for flood-risk homes

By the end of last winter, some 7,800 homes and 3,000 commercial properties had been flooded during the rainy weather the British Isles experienced, according to the Environment Agency.

For those in areas at risk of flooding, it can be difficult to find an insurer who’ll cover your home for an affordable sum, or possibly at all.

According to Environmental Agency figures, some 5 million homes, or one in six, are at risk of flooding, so it’s a problem a huge number of households could face.

However, new legislation will soon mean that the insurance industry has to cap the cost of premiums for most at-risk homes.

Here are a number of the main concerns for those worried about flooding and the effect it might have on their home cover premiums.

Homes in flood-risk areas:

Those homes in flood-risk areas, especially properties in areas that have experienced regular flooding in recent years, may have some difficulty in finding what most people would consider ‘affordable’ home insurance for at least another year.

Fortunately, from summer 2015 new legislation means that insurers have to cap the element of home insurance related to flooding at between £210 and £540 a year, depending on your home’s council tax band.

Unfortunately, those homes built in the last five years, and those of very high value, will be excluded.

Some insurers specialise in homes which have a higher potential for flooding. It’s worth speaking to a specialist insurer rather than getting generic insurance quotes online to ensure you have the right type and level of cover if your home is at a higher flood risk and is on a flood plain.

According to the British Insurers Brokers’ Association those in at-risk homes should expect to pay around 25% more than other homes.

Ensure you have both contents and buildings cover

It’s easy to try and cut the cost of cover by protecting the building you own, but not its contents (unless you’re a renter that is, then you only need contents cover).

If you do, and your home is flooded, you’ll only be able to claim if damage is done to the property’s structure, rather than the things you own and keep in it.

During floods, it’s often the case that a home’s structure isn’t damaged, but the contents are. Floodwater can cause a huge amount of problems, particularly effecting expensive-to-put-right items such as carpets, white goods and sofas, as well as ruining a home’s electrics and heating systems.

One-off flooding but homes not in an at-risk area

If your home has suffered from a one-off flash flood, but it isn’t in an area which is considered ‘at-risk’, you shouldn’t notice a great increase to the price of your home cover premiums.

However, surface water run-off during heavy rain is causing more floods each year as climate change takes effect, and the Environmental Agency has now updated its flood-risk maps to take it into account. So it could be that in coming years insurers will start to ask householders if they live in such an area and take it into account when deciding what cover premiums should be.

Shop around for a better flood deal

Whether the quote you get from your existing insurer seems high, or not, it’s a good idea to shop around.

Your current cover provider might not be a specialist in flood insurance and so set your premiums higher than others which are. Talking to an insurance broker, such as ourselves here at Policy Expert, can be a tremendous help in finding out which insurers might be better to approach and which can offer a lower cover rate.

Your excess may go up after flooding

The excess that you pay on any claims you make may go up if you’ve experienced flooding. The ‘excess’ is the amount you have to pay out before the insurer meets the cost of the rest of a claim.

This can be as high as £10,000 or more if the claim is for flooding in homes in at-risk areas which have seen several floods in recent times.

However, putting in flood-prevention measures can help keep such increases under control and, in fact, help keep premiums down in general.

Be honest about your flood risk

You must tell your insurer about previous floods or if your home’s at risk when you take out cover. Whether you’re ‘at-risk’ is largely dictated by whether you’re on a flood-plain or near open water such as the river or sea (your local council should be able to help you if you’re unsure).

If you don’t tell your insurer, and your home subsequently floods, it’s highly likely not to meet any claim for flood damage that you make.

Likewise, when it comes to selling your home, you must also declare if flooding has occurred.

Policy Expert

If your home is your haven, you’ll want it to have the best protection. Compare home insurance quotes from our range of handpicked insurers and tailor a policy to suit you. For more information on Home Insurance from Policy Expert, speak to one of our experts on 0330 0600 600 or email ask@policyexpert.co.uk

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