Home insurance covers you for the damage caused by floods, but if your house has been hit by a flood in the past it might be quite difficult to find reasonably priced cover.
Your possessions will be covered for damage from floods if you take out contents insurance.
When water enters your property from the outside, it could mean:
If there’s an escape of water from a burst pipe inside your home, the insurer will class it as a leak, rather than a flood.
Check your home insurance policy to see whether you’re covered in all the above situations.
Flood insurance will cover the cost of:
It’ll cover the repair or replacement of damage furniture and belongings too if you have a home contents policy that covers flood damage.
The Flood Re scheme is a joint venture by the Government and insurers to help make flood insurance more affordable for affected homeowners.
Home insurance policies don’t all have the same cover.
Alternative accommodation, escape of water from within the home, and fences, hedges and gates will be treated differently by each insurer in a flood claim, so check the exclusions.
To find out whether you might find it harder to get home insurance due to a history of flooding, you’ll need to check the flood risk in your area. You can do this by checking flood maps online or paying for a flood risk assessment.
Depending on where you live in the UK, there are different flood risk checkers you can use:
You can make a claim for flood damage by:
Letting your insurer know as soon as you can
Gathering evidence by taking photos and getting professional reports on the damage
Leave everything as it is, because your insurer needs to agree to pay for any repairs you make before they’re made, unless they’re emergency fixes
Consider consulting a loss assessor, who'll be able to tell you and your insurer the extent of the damage and the repairs needed
The EA offers a comprehensive range of flood-risk warnings for England and Wales, while the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) offers a similar service in Scotland.
Groundwater flooding can strike days or even weeks after rainfall and can last for a long time. Flooding can also hit unexpected places, including hillsides.
To protect your property’s danger areas, find its weak points:
There are a few things you can do in the short and long term before a flood to protect your home and reduce the chance of having to make a claim.
Install flood-resistant doors can reduce the chances of water getting in
If a flood’s coming, protect your windows and doors with sand bags or barriers
Local authorities will give you plenty of warning when storms are likely to hit so you can prepare
Prepare a pack with items like a charged phone, emergency numbers, matches, candles, food, water and warm clothes
Keep important documents and valuable items upstairs to reduce the risk of them being damaged
As well as protecting yourself and your family, don’t forget your furry friend. Keep your pets indoors in a safe and secure room
You can further reduce the risk of needing to claim on your flood insurance by joining a flood action group and lobbying for improvements to your local flood defences.
Your home can be damaged extensively by a flood, so you might have to move out for some time.
Here’s what to expect...
Before you do anything, make sure that everyone's safe, then call your insurer on its 24-hour helpline.
Your insurer will send a loss adjuster to assess the damage. They should be in touch within 24 hours of you contacting your insurer and will visit your home within three days.
If your home’s uninhabitable, the loss adjuster will let your insurer know and alternative accommodation will be arranged for you.
Your insurer will organise the professional clean-up of your property.
The full extent of damage caused by floodwater might be not apparent straight away so it can take a while.
Make sure you keep any carpets, furniture or other contents until your insurer agrees they can be disposed of.
If you need to throw stuff away before the loss adjuster arrives, you’ll need to keep some evidence like serial numbers or samples from carpets. Take photos of the damage and anything you throw away.
Your home will have to be dried out - which can take weeks or months - before any redecoration can be done.
It’s important that your home is completely dry before repairs are carried out.
Once your home is dry, the loss adjuster will arrange for plumbers, builders and electricians to come to your home.
The clean-up process will begin, usually employing professional cleaners.
Your loss adjuster might ask if you’d like to make any changes to your home to make it more resilient against flooding.
These changes could include replacing carpet with water-resistant flooring, installing aluminium kitchen units or re-siting electrical sockets higher up on the walls.
While the insurer will be responsible for the cost of restoring your home to its original state, if any of these changes amount to more then you’ll be asked to pay the difference.
Your insurer will let you know when it’s safe for you to move back in.
You’ll be able to move back in while repairs are ongoing, as long as you’ve got a working bathroom and kitchen.
Depending on the level of damage, you could be back in your home in weeks, or it could be a year or more.
A flood is classed as two or more acres of normally dry land being submerged by water or mudflow. Thar’s about two small fields, so if the waters are rising over a wide area near your home, you might have a flood developing in the neighbourhood.
Let your insurer know as soon as possible and gather evidence of the circumstances and damage. Don’t remove, repair or replace anything without your insurer's approval.
It’s extremely expensive to repair flood damaged homes. If you have a flood-risk property, the risk of you needing to make a claim is much higher than if you didn’t live in a flood-risk area. Some insurers aren’t willing to cover the risk.
You can, but it’ll cost you more than in previous years.