Flood Insurance

Flood insurance cover is essential if you live in a high-risk area, but can also be a lifesaver if your property is damaged by a storm or burst pipe. Find out what is and isn't covered.

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What is flood insurance?

Flood insurance is a part of home insurance that protects you against flood damage to your property.

The definition of a flood under this type of cover can mean any of the following:

  • A river or canal bursting its banks
  • A burst pipe
  • Heavy rainfall
  • Storms and high tide

Is flooding covered by home insurance?

Most buildings insurance policies do include flood cover, but this is not a given, so you should always read your policy documents closely to make sure you know exactly what is and isn’t covered. Some insurers might exclude certain elements or types of damage from their cover, or put a limit to how much they will pay out in the case of a flood-related claim.

Much the same can be said for contents insurance. You will definitely want to take out this type of cover if you live in a flood risk area, as it covers things like your furniture, your clothes and items such as carpets and curtains. Contents insurance will also cover you against other types of damage, as well as theft. Levels of cover will vary between providers and policy types.

What does flood insurance cover?

Exact specifications will vary by provider and level of cover, but flood insurance usually includes:

  • Removing debris caused by the flooding
  • Fees for professionals, such as solicitors, architects and surveyors
  • Repair or replacement of damaged furniture and belongings
  • Alternative accommodation while your house is uninhabitable
  • Drying out, repairing and restoring your property, including its fixtures and fittings

What isn’t covered?

Exclusions also vary by provider and level of cover, so look out for these elements:

  • New for old cover. Even if you have cover for all the items in your home, they might not be covered up to their full value. So, for example, you might need £1,000 to buy a new sofa, but your old one might have only been worth £100, so that’s all you’re entitled to get for it. New for old cover means you get the amount you need to buy a new item, even if it’s more than what the old item was worth, but it’s not always included in flood insurance policies.
  • Alternative accommodation. This is usually included in flood insurance policies, but the amount you’re covered for can vary. Make sure you take out sufficient cover, otherwise you might have to move back into your damaged property before it’s fully repaired, or pay for alternative accommodation out of your own pocket.
  • Business use. As with most home insurance policies, if you run a business from home, you may not be covered for items relating to your work. If you require cover for these items, you might need to take out extra cover or consider a business contents insurance policy that includes flood risk cover.

Where are the high-risk flood areas?

According to the government, a place with a high risk of flooding from rivers or the sea means that each year, that specific area has a greater than 3.3% chance of flooding. This takes into account the effect of any flood defences in the area. These defences reduce but do not completely stop the chance of flooding, as they can be overtopped, or fail.

There are several of these areas around the UK. You can find out whether your home is located in one of the high-risk areas by using this very handy map on the GOV website.

Some known high-risk areas in the UK are:

  • East coast areas, particularly Norfolk Peterborough, Hull and Great Yarmouth
  • Kent and Sussex coastal areas, including Birling Gap
  • Cornwall
  • Certain areas in Hampshire, such as Barton-on-Sea
  • The Isle of Wight

Do I need flood insurance if I don’t live in a high-risk area?

If you don’t live in a high-risk area, then you have a lesser need for flood risk insurance.

However, as flood risk cover includes damage caused by storms, heavy rainfall and burst pipes, it can still be relevant to your property, as these are things that can affect any home.

Flood damage can be extensive and very costly to repair, so consider whether you will be able to pay for the damage yourself if you don’t take out flood cover.

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