A simples guide

I live in a high-risk flood area; will this impact my home insurance?

Everybody knows that weather should be something that’s only experienced outdoors. But storms and floods are crossing the line and affecting us indoors too. Thousands of people across the UK have had to deal with the consequences of flood damage, but what effect does it have on your home insurance and what can you do try and lower your premium?

Do I need flood insurance?

If you live in an area at high risk of flooding, it would be wise to have flood insurance cover – the average cost of repairs to a flood damaged home is £50,000. More than five million homes in the UK are in a high flood risk area, and you can find out if yours is one of them by using the Environment Agency’s postcode search.

Flood insurance is covered by both your buildings and contents policies. Your buildings insurance should cover the drying out of your home and its restoration, the removal of debris and professional fees, such as if you need the help of surveyors and architects. Your contents policy will cover any damaged belongings and furniture. It’s also worth finding out if your buildings or contents insurance will cover the cost of alternative accommodation in the event of a flood.

House insurance in flood risk area
Flats next to a river

Does living in a high flood risk area affect my home insurance?

Your insurance premium is calculated on historical claims and risk, so if your home is in a high risk flood area, you’re likely to have to pay a bit more for your policy.

In the recent floods, over 3,000 families had to be provided with temporary accommodation and emergency payouts climbed to a staggering £24 million. The total cost of insurance payments is estimated at £1.3 billion. Sadly, that cost has historically been passed down to flood risk homeowners.

Is anybody doing anything about the high cost of insurance for flood risk homes?

Yes, the answer is Flood Re, which was launched in April 2016 and it aims to make flood insurance affordable for those at risk.

Flood Re is a not for profit organisation and it works with insurance companies behind the scenes. It’s a bit like having a giant kitty with insurance companies putting a certain amount of money in the pot in order to cover future flood claims. This means that insurers share the cost when claims are made as payments are given from the Flood Re fund. As a result, premiums may be lower than they have been historically with standard policy excesses.

Flood Re isn’t an insurer and you’ll still buy your home insurance in the usual way by comparing the market. But having this fund gives both homeowners and insurers a safety net.

Can I lower my premium if my home is in a high risk flood area?

You can minimise the effects of a flood and it could give you something to negotiate with when you look at home insurance. It’s worth signing up to get flood warnings, Floodline offers a free service and you can choose how you’re notified about flood risks. In addition to that you might want to think about taking the following precautions:

Flood plan – if you’re in a high risk flood area, think about putting together a community flood plan so you know where to go and what to do. You could consider writing your own household plan too – it might sound a bit uptight and pernickety but a flood can catch you unawares and if so, it’s easy to panic and forget what to do.

Resist – try and prevent water from coming in, consider removable barriers and temporary seals for doors, windows and air vents.

One way valves – think about fitting one way valves to toilets and pipes to prevent sewage backing up into the house.

Preparation – if water does get in, being prepared can help to minimise any water damage. Think about putting valuables in waterproof bags if a flood is imminent and move anything you can upstairs. Anything you can’t move try to raise from the floor – have a stash of bricks or pallets to do the job.

Compare, compare, compare

Of course the best way to make sure your policy’s competitive and value for money is to comparethemarket. We take comparison seriously and are committed to finding you the right policy for your needs, so start comparing with us today – we won’t leave you high and dry.

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