Flood insurance


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What is flood insurance?

If you live in a high flood risk area or your property’s been affected by flooding in the past, then it’s sensible to have insurance in place that covers your home against this type of risk.

Flood insurance isn’t separate to buildings and contents insurance. It’s included as part of any standard home insurance policy and protects you from damage and loss caused by flood water entering your home.

If you make a successful claim for flood damage on your home insurance, it’ll pay out for repairs to your home and to replace destroyed possessions covered by your policy.

Flood cover on your home insurance could help if flood water enters your home in the following scenarios:

  • A river or canal in close proximity to your home bursts its banks
  • Unusually stormy weather and high tides cause seawater to break through coastal defences and enter your home
  • Heavy rainfall causes surface water flooding
flood risk home insurance

Can I get insurance if I live in high flood risk area?

It used to be difficult to get reasonably priced home insurance cover if you lived in a high-risk flood area and if your home had previously been hit by a flood.

To combat this, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) launched the Flood Re scheme in 2016 to help providers offer more affordable home insurance policies.

Under the scheme, your insurer pays out if you make a valid claim for flood damage, but it can then claim back a proportion of the money from the Flood Re fund. This reduces the insurer’s financial risk, so it can offer you cheaper cover.

What will flood insurance cover?

Flood insurance will provide different cover on your buildings insurance policy and your contents insurance policy. You should check the terms and conditions carefully to ensure they provide a good level of cover.

Buildings insurance

As part of your home buildings insurance policy, flood cover can pay for cleaning up and repairing your property including:

  • Removal of flood debris inside the home and drying out the property
  • Repairs and restoration to structure, fixtures and fittings, building foundations, electrics and plumbing
  • Fees for services like legal expenses, property surveyors and architects

Contents insurance

Flood cover on a contents insurance policy will include repairs to or replacement of your household items damaged by water. This includes things like:

  • Furniture, carpets, lamps and sofas
  • TVs, computers and other electricals
  • Fridge freezers, washing machines and other kitchen appliances
  • DVDs, books and toys

What’s not covered by flood insurance?

You’ll need to check your policy for exclusions, but it could refuse to cover:

  • Property outside of the main building - such as outbuildings, garden fences and patios, trees and plants
  • Money
  • Important paperwork
  • Groundwater flooding, when heavy rainfall causes the water level in the ground to rise and causes gradual seepage into the home

Do you need flood insurance?

The damage to a property caused by flood water can be extensive and run into tens of thousands of pounds to clean up and fix. Floods can also ruin your furniture and personal possessions which can cost a lot of money to replace. So, if you live in a high-risk flood area then it’s a wise move to make sure your home insurance covers you adequately.

Even if your home is not in an area prone to flooding, it’s best to be covered for all eventualities, especially as flooding due to extreme weather events may become more common in the UK.

How much does flood insurance cost?

The cost of home insurance with flood cover varies, depending on how close you live to water.

The average annual cost of home insurance for those within 150 metres of water is £208.

Homes over 400 metres away pay £157 on average.*

If your home’s flooded before it may cost you more to insure it. You might be able to get cheaper quotes if measures are taken to reduce the possibility of water entering your home though.

cost of home insurance by proximity to water

How can Flood Re help with my premiums?

Flood Re is a not-for-profit scheme that helps make insurance more affordable for homes with a high flood risk. Every insurer in the UK pays into the Flood Re scheme. This money goes into a fund which helps to cover claims for flooding in home insurance policies. It means your insurance premiums won’t be overly expensive just because you live in a flood risk area, as the risk is covered by Flood Re.

Your home's likely to be eligible if:

  • It was built before 2009
  • It's in a council tax band
  • It's used for residential purposes
  • You or your family live in the home for some or all the time

Go to the Flood re eligibility calculator to find out if your home qualifies - but remember it's up to the individual insurers offering the scheme to decide if they can offer you a policy or not.

If you’re struggling to find cover, you could get help from a specialist insurance broker via the British Insurance Broker’s Association (BIBA).

The charity National Flood Forum can also offer advice and guidance on how to go about getting insurance if you live in a high flood risk area.

Find out more with our Guide to Flood Re.

How to compare quotes for flood cover

Comparing quotes for home insurance with flood cover is easy. Here are some of the specific details you may need:

  1. Type of cover

    Whether you need buildings insurance, contents insurance or both

  2. Property details

    The type of property and the materials it's made from

  3. Your proximity to water

    Within 150 metres, 150 to 400 metres, or over 400 metres

  4. History of flooding

    Whether your home or outbuildings have ever been flooded by an external source before

  5. Level of cover

    How much you'd like to insure your building and your contents for

Get quotes now
According to BIBA one in six UK homes are at risk of flooding. This number is expected to rise in the future, with climate change increasing the possibility of extreme weather events, so it’s important that you’re honest about your home’s flood risk when getting insurance.
Ceri McMillan - Home insurance expert

Flood insurance FAQs

When damage occurs to your home or its contents from a leaking or burst pipe inside your home, this is called ‘escape of water’ in insurance terms, so is dealt with under a different part of your home insurance policy than flood cover.

Most policies cover escape of water, as long as you’ve taken appropriate safety measures to prevent accidents happening, such as lagging pipes that are at risk of freezing.

Contact your insurer immediately to let them know about the flood and to find out how they want to proceed.

Take pictures and videos of everything that’s damaged in the home.

Your insurer may want to send out a loss adjuster to assess the damage and to confirm what repairs and replacements will be covered by your policy.

They’ll also let you know whether you should clean the property or if they’ll send professionals like specialist drying and cleaning companies to do that for you.

Find out more about how to make a claim on your home insurance.

If you're renting a property, it's your landlord’s responsibility to insure your building for flood damage. If you own the contents of the rented property, you'll need to take out your own tenants contents insurance to protect your possessions.

In the event of flood damage, business insurance may cover the cost of repairs and restoration to your business premises.

If you rent your premises, it's your landlord’s responsibility to provide buildings cover. However, it's your responsibility to insure your business’s contents.

Flood Re covers private, residential homes and not business or commercial premises.

*The average price paid for home insurance annually through GoCompare in April 2023, depending on the property's distance from water. For properties within 150 metres of water, it was £208. For properties up to 400 metres away it was £180. For properties more than 400 metres away from water it was £157.

Page last reviewed: 09 January 2023
Page reviewed by: Ceri McMillan