Flood risk home insurance

Compare home insurance for properties at risk of flood damage

Home insurance for flood risk areas

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:

  • There’s been very heavy rainfall
  • A river or canal has burst its banks
  • There’s a bad storm or an unusually high tide
  • Surface water, or underground water, has escaped and penetrated your home

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.

What flood insurance covers

Flood insurance will cover the cost of:

  • Removing debris
  • Solicitor, architect and surveyor fees
  • Alternative accommodation
  • Drying out, repairing and restoring your property and its fixtures and fittings

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.

What might not be covered

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.

The Environment Agency (EA) has urged the government to spend £1 billion a year to strengthen England's flood and coastal defences. You can protect your property and possessions from water by getting the right home insurance

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Know your flood risk

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:

Making a claim on flood insurance

You can make a claim for flood damage by:

  1. Letting your insurer know as soon as you can

  2. Gathering evidence by taking photos and getting professional reports on the damage

  3. 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

  4. Consider consulting a loss assessor, who'll be able to tell you and your insurer the extent of the damage and the repairs needed

Preparing for bad weather

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:

  • Doorways
  • Airbricks
  • Backflow through pipes and drains
  • Seepage through cable holes and external walls
  • Groundwater

How to protect your home from flooding

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.

Flood barriers

If a flood’s coming, protect your windows and doors with sand bags or barriers.

Listen out for warnings

Local authorities will give you plenty of warning when storms are likely to hit so you can prepare.

Emergency kit

Prepare a pack with items like a charged phone, emergency numbers, matches, candles, food, water and warm clothes.

Store valuables upstairs

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.

Returning home after a flood 

Your home can be damaged extensively by a flood, so you might have to move out for some time. Here’s what to expect.

  • Within 24 hours: Contact your home insurance provider

    Before you do anything, make sure that everyone's safe, then call your insurer on its 24-hour helpline.

  • Two to seven days: Loss adjuster gets in touch

    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.

  • Four weeks: Cleaning and stripping

    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.

  • Six weeks to months: Drying out

    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.

  • Several months: Repair

    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 moving electrical sockets to sit higher up on 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.

  • Up to a year: Moving back in

    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.

Repairing flood damage can be costly, so it’s important you’ve got the right cover to protect your home

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Frequently asked questions

  • What counts as a flood?

    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.

  • How do I claim for flood damage?

    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.

  • Why won’t some insurers cover flood-risk properties?

    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.

  • Can I get cover if my home has flooded before?

    You can, but it’ll cost you more than in previous years.

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Page last reviewed: 22 January 2020
Next review due: 22 April 2020

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