What is flood insurance?
Flood insurance is a type of property insurance that covers your home and its contents against water damage, typically caused by flooding after heavy rainfall.
Claims due to storms and flood damage are on the increase in the UK, with huge potential costs for property owners: the government estimates that the residential property damage in the 2015-2016 floods could have been as much as £392 million.
Flood cover is generally included as standard in most buildings and contents insurance policies.
Do I need flood insurance?
Flood insurance isn’t a legal requirement, but if you live in an area that’s at high risk of flooding, or you’ve had issues with flooding in the past, then you should seriously consider protecting your home with flood insurance. Flood damage can be very expensive to repair, on top of replacing any contents that are lost or damaged.
What can I expect from flood cover and how does it work?
Flood cover protects your property if your home is damaged by a river bursting its banks or sudden rising water caused by heavy rainfall, for example. Flood insurance typically covers damage to the contents in your home, the bricks and mortar, plus any fixtures and fittings. Here’s how flood insurance can protect both:
Buildings insurance covers damage caused by flooding and will typically include:
- the cost of drying out your home
- removing debris to repair your property
- damage to permanent fixtures and fittings, such as a fitted kitchen.
Contents insurance generally covers damage due to flooding and will typically include the cost of repairing or replacing:
- furniture and carpets
- personal belongings
- electrical goods and equipment – some policies will offer cover for goods stored in outbuildings, up to a certain limit.
What isn’t covered by flood insurance?
Home and flood insurance policies vary, so it’s important you check your policy documents carefully. However, here are some exclusions that you should look out for:
- Escape of water – if the water damage is caused by a burst pipe inside your home, this would be covered separately.
- Alternative accommodation – if you’re unable to stay in your home while it’s being repaired, check whether you’re covered for temporary accommodation. If it is covered, check for any limits to what your insurance provider is willing to pay towards this.
- Damage to fences, gates and hedges
What if I live in a high-risk flood area?
In the past, it may have been difficult or very expensive to get flood insurance in high-risk areas.
Thankfully, things are getting better. The government’s Flood Re scheme, launched in 2016, can help save you money and ensure you get cover even if you live within a flood risk area, so it’s worth shopping around to get a great-value deal.
Read more about how Flood Re works.
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Frequently asked questions
Am I covered for damage caused by flooding?
Damage caused by flooding is typically covered as standard under a home insurance policy. Each policy is different, so check your details if you’re concerned about flood damage. Remember, some flood damage cover will fall under buildings insurance, while other damages will be protected by contents insurance.
If you’re a homeowner, you might have buildings and contents insurance to protect your home and possessions. However, if you’re renting, it’s usually up to your landlord to take care of damage to buildings, and you’d need to make sure your possessions are covered with contents insurance.
What exactly do we mean by ‘flood’?
When we say flood damage, we mean flooding from ‘natural sources’, such as excessive rain or a river bursting its banks.
If you have a burst pipe, this is likely to be referred to as an ‘escape of water’ and will come under a different section of your insurance policy.
What is groundwater flooding?
Groundwater flooding happens when rainwater soaks into the soil and saturates the rocks beneath. After heavy rainfall these rocks form a type of water table, which can rise. This can prevent sewers and drainage systems from functioning properly, so everything overflows.
If you’re concerned about groundwater flooding, contact your insurance provider to find out whether your home insurance policy will cover this type of flooding.
How do I know if my home is in a high-risk area?
According to a 2019 report by the Environment Agency, an estimated 5.2 million homes in England are at risk of flooding.
To find out if your home is one of them, see the government’s flood risk map.
What should I do if I’ve suffered flooding?
Here are a few tips to help you with your insurance claim:
- Report any damage to your home insurance provider immediately.
- If you’re renting, contact your landlord or letting agent as soon as any flooding occurs.
- Take photos of any damage.
- Don’t remove anything affected until you’ve made your claim, or you’ve been instructed to by your claims advisor.
- Find out how long it will take for the loss adjuster to survey the property.
- Keep a record of everything related to your claim. There might be a lot of people involved in getting you back on your feet, so keep track of phone numbers and who you need to contact.
Will flooding affect my home insurance premiums?
If you suffer a flood, your home insurance premiums could be more expensive in the future. You may also have to pay a higher excess. This makes it a good idea to shop around to see if you can get a better level of cover at a cheaper price.
I’m a tenant. Do I need flood insurance?
As a tenant, your landlord is usually responsible for getting buildings insurance. So, any damage to the structure of your rented property should be covered under their policy.
However, it’s a good idea to get contents insurance, which can protect your possessions against flood damage.
How long does a flood insurance claim take?
The amount of time it takes to resolve a flood insurance claim can vary, depending on the extent of the damage.
Minor damage could be resolved in weeks. However, for more significant damage this is likely to take months, possibly even years, because of the process of drying out a property after flooding.
Depending on your policy, you may be offered temporary accommodation until your home is repaired.
It’s important to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible after a flood. Take videos and photos as evidence to back up your claim.
Check your policy to see if you have home emergency cover. If you do, there may be a 24/7 helpline and you might be able to get help quickly if you need emergency repairs. If you need to call an emergency plumber or electrician and pay for the work yourself, make sure you keep all receipts, as you may be claim back the amount on your insurance.
How can I protect my home against future flood damage?
The following tips could help minimise flood damage:
- clean out gutters and keep drains free of debris
- make sure garden furniture is safely secured or locked away
- store electrical items, important documents and valuables upstairs or in high cupboards
- make a list of any emergency numbers you might need
- buy brick covers or sandbags to block doorways and prevent flood water from seeping in.
Can I get flood insurance for my business premises?
To protect your business premises from flooding, you’ll need to take out business insurance. There are many types of business insurance, but the right policy can cover your office, shop or other type of premises from damage including flooding or fire. Business insurance could protect you against the cost of repairs.
If your business premises are rented, then it’s the landlord’s responsibility to insure the building. However, you’re still responsible for insuring any contents. You may also want to cover against any loss of earnings while you may be forced to close.
How can I compare flood insurance?
Hit the ‘start a quote’ button, select the options that suit, and we’ll show you a range of home insurance quotes.
See how much you could save on protecting your home against the costs of flood damage today.
How much does home insurance cost?
51% of our customers could get buildings and contents insurance for up to £152 a year**
51% of our customers could get contents insurance for up to £58 a year***
51% of our customers could get buildings insurance for up to £118 a year****Start a quote
**51% of people could achieve a quote of up to £151.96 per year for their buildings and contents home insurance based on Compare the Market data in March, 2022.
***51% of people could achieve a quote of up to £57.06 per year for their contents home insurance based on Compare the Market data in March, 2022.
****51% of people could achieve a quote of up to £117.95 per year for their buildings home insurance based on Compare the Market data in March, 2022.
What do I need to get a quote?
To show you a list of suitable quotes, we’ll need some important details including:
- your current home insurance details
- the rebuild value of your home
- the level of cover you need.
You’ll also be able to choose any optional extras you might want, such as home emergency or accidental damage cover.
What our expert says...
“Shopping around and comparing quotes is a great way to find cheaper home insurance with flood cover. When comparing deals, you’ll be able to read the terms and conditions for each policy. This will help you decide which policies offer the cover you need.”
- Chris King, Home insurance expert
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^^Correct as of March, 2022.
^^^Based on online independent research by Consumer Intelligence during March, 2022. 51% of customers could achieve this saving on their Buildings and Contents insurance through Compare the Market.