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NEARLY HALF OF UK HOUSEHOLDS DON’T KNOW IF THEY LIVE IN A HIGH-RISK FLOOD ZONE, COMPARETHEMARKET.COM RESEARCH REVEALS

NEARLY HALF OF UK HOUSEHOLDS DON’T KNOW IF THEY LIVE IN A HIGH-RISK FLOOD ZONE, COMPARETHEMARKET.COM RESEARCH REVEALS

Published: 24/02/2020
  • Two-thirds (67%) of homeowners are unaware that part of their home insurance premium goes towards protecting homes at high risk of flooding

  • Nine in ten individuals (95%) are unaware of the government’s Flood Re initiative

  • Two-thirds (63%) believe the government needs to be doing more to ensure high risk homes have access to affordable home insurance

16 February 2020 - Storm Ciara brought severe winds and widespread flooding to the UK, but, with more bad weather on the horizon, many people are not aware of the risks the weather poses to their homes.  Nearly half of UK households have never checked (48%) if they live in an area with a high risk of flooding, according to latest research by comparethemarket.com.

Broken down by tenure, two-fifths of homeowners (42%) and more than half of renters (60%) have never checked if their home has a high risk of flooding. comparethemarket.com is urging households to check whether their property is at risk and if their buildings and contents insurance offers adequate protection in the event that their home is flooded.

Moreover, the majority of people are unaware of the schemes in place to protect households from flooding. Nine in ten individuals (95%) have not heard of Flood Re, a joint initiative between the Government and insurers to make home insurance cover accessible and affordable for homes at high risk of flooding.

Flood Re ensures that those living in homes with a high risk of flooding are eligible for buildings and contents insurance, and the price is calculated without the flood risk applied, similar to properties with a low risk. The initiative also ensures that those households with higher risk don’t have to pay expensive excesses on their cover.

Additionally, over two-thirds of individuals (67%) were unaware that part of their home insurance premium may go towards reimbursing insurers who may have had to pay out for claims relating to floods. Insurers are mandated to pay into the scheme which raises approximately £180 million every year to protect households.

Despite the level of insurance cover promised by Flood Re, the initiative has been criticised in the past for failing to offer adequate insurance protection,  as it is not currently valid on properties built after January 2009 and is set to end in 2039.

In light of recent floods across the country where flood defensives failed to work, of those surveyed, two-thirds (63%) agreed the government needs to be doing more to ensure high risk homes have access to affordable insurance – as some individuals in flooding areas still face very high premiums despite Flood Re or are unable to get insurance cover at all.

According to Flood Re, there are still over one quarter (26%) of households which are unable to get quotes from 10 or more insurers. When asked if individuals would be happy to answer a few more questions about flooding during a home insurance quote in order to get a greater variety of providers and/or a better price, 81% agreed to that they would be happy to do so, according to comparethemarket.com research.

Chris King, head of home insurance, at comparethemarket.com, commented:

“The impact of bad weather can be devastating to homes. As storms and flooding become more frequent, it is really important that households understand if they have adequate insurance. There is clear confusion around the government’s Flood Re initiative, considering the majority of people have not even heard of the scheme. While FloodRe has helped bring down the cost of insurance and provided cover for households which otherwise would be ‘uninsurable’, there is still a long way to go in making sure all properties in high risk areas can access comprehensive insurance at a reasonable price.

“If you live in an area with a high-risk of flooding, it is crucial to check the terms and conditions of your home insurance policy should your home be flooded. If you haven’t switched your policy since Flood Re was introduced in 2016, it may be worth shopping around to see if there are more providers who are now able to cover you at a cheaper price.”

comparethemarket.com provides the following tips for consumers to check on their policy;

  • It’s important for homeowners to know that certain conditions have to be met for an insurer to classify something as being a storm. They normally look for wind speeds in excess of 55mph, and their systems of storm classification are usually based on something called the Beaufort Scale, which stipulates that a minimum of 47 mph is required in order for storm damage to occur. Although some insurers use their own classification system. However, most external home fittings such as chimneys, brickwork, window frames, etc. shouldn’t be damaged by 47mph wind speeds. It is when you get 80mph and over that physical property damage becomes a real possibility. Insurers could use weather stations across the UK to determine what areas could be affected so they shouldn’t be surprised by claims coming in from impacted areas. If insurers don’t classify damage as having taken place during a storm (i.e. sub 47mph winds), then all related damages may be excluded from any claim.
  • Tile, roof damage and water entering the property are common storm claims. It is important to try and keep your roof and tiles well maintained, as there is a possibility that an insurer might exclude a claim on the grounds that due to wear and tear the property was not in a suitably robust position before the storm and therefore invalidates a claim.
  • Hedges, fence and gates are could be excluded from storm damage or extreme weather phenomena claims. If a tree falls over your hedge, fence or gate, for example, you might have to pay for the removal of the tree and any damage it’s caused out of your own pocket.
  • Where flash flooding takes place, your insurer could expect you to have taken sufficient precautions with sandbags etc. If there is a flood warning in place in the area of your home, and/or you live in an which is routinely threatened by flooding, it is essential that you are adequately equipped to combat it as best you can. In this instance we recommend speaking directly with your insurer ahead of time to seek advice on what best to do.

Survey carried out by Populus, a total of 2,097 UK adults. Research carried out 29-30th January 2020.

Notes to editors:

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