Home insurance in high-risk flood areas

With the effects of climate change growing, each year, thousands of homeowners across the UK have to deal with the consequences of water damage caused by flooding. If you live in a flood-risk area, it’s important to know what the effect on your home insurance cover could be. Read our guide to what you need to know.

With the effects of climate change growing, each year, thousands of homeowners across the UK have to deal with the consequences of water damage caused by flooding. If you live in a flood-risk area, it’s important to know what the effect on your home insurance cover could be. Read our guide to what you need to know.

Helen Phipps
Insurance expert
6
minute read
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Last Updated 7 NOVEMBER 2022

Is my home at risk of flooding?

With the average cost of repairs to a flood-damaged home coming in at £50,000, it’s worth finding out if yours is one of the 5.2 million UK homes at risk of flooding. You can do so with the Environment Agency’s flood postcode checker.

Do I have home insurance that covers flooding?

Most home insurance policies cover flood damage, but it’s worth checking the level of cover in your policy wording or calling your insurance provider if you’re concerned about any exclusions, like storm damage or accidental damage from burst pipes. Your buildings insurance covers the structure of your home and any permanent fittings; contents insurance should cover your belongings.

But there could be other relevant factors – for example, are you covered for home emergency cover or alternative accommodation if a flood means you have to leave your home?

Is anyone making contents insurance more affordable for flood-risk areas?

Yes. After the 2015-2016 floods, which were the worst on record, the Flood Re scheme was set up to help people in flood-risk areas find affordable home insurance premiums. It doesn’t change the way you buy your insurance though – you can still buy your buildings and contents insurance policy in the usual way by starting a quote with us.

How can I protect my home if it’s in a high-risk flood area?

You won’t be surprised to learn that the winter months carry a bigger flood risk, so take action to minimise the potential effects before then. Doing so could also give you room to negotiate with your insurance provider, as some may ask if you’ve taken preventative action or if you’ve been flooded before.

As preventative measures, you might want to:

  • install flood doors and raise electrical sockets
  • keep a stash of bricks and pallets so that, in the event of a flood, you can raise furniture off the floor
  • keep removable barriers and temporary seals for windows, doors and air vents
  • install one-way valves to toilets and pipes to prevent sewage backing up into the house
  • move valuable personal belongings upstairs, or put them in waterproof bags if a flood is imminent. While an insurance policy can replace damaged items, some items, like family heirlooms and old photo albums, are irreplaceable
  • install water sensors that can detect rising water and pump and sump systems that drain water from below floor level quicker than it rises
  • landscape your garden in a style that helps divert water away from your property
  • Use more flood resistant materials e.g. ceramic, stone, stainless steel and uPVC, rather than wood

You should also sign up for flood warnings. In England, from the Environment Agency., from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s Floodline service or from Natural Resources Wales. Unfortunately, there’s no alert service in Northern Ireland, but you can check flood risk maps through Northern Ireland Direct.

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