Home Insurance & Flood Cover – Understanding the RISK
In recent years we have seen a greater number of flood events occur in many different areas of the country. With the changes to the UK climate, this could mean that flooding issues are only going to get more frequent, more severe, and even occur in places that have not previously had a problem.
It’s not just the sea or rivers that cause floods
Often when people think about flooding or are asked the question in a home insurance application, the mind instantly jumps to those images we have seen all too frequently on the news or front pages of the newspapers. We think of tidal surges or burst riverbanks, and if you don’t live close to a body of water you may feel that your risk of being flooded is minimal. However, flooding from surface water is one of the most common and widespread types. Run off rainwater cascading down hills and mountain sides are also common causes of flood damage.
Understand the flood risk to your home
Before you decide to buy home insurance you should clearly understand the risk of flooding to your home. Even if you believe your home is at little or no risk, we would strongly recommend you visit the relevant website for where you live to get a better idea of the chances of flood occuring:
England – https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/long-term-flood-risk which provides a good indication as to whether your home is at risk from River, Coastal, Surface Water or Flooding from Reservoirs. All you need to enter is your house number/name and your postcode, and then click on each of the three maps on the left hand side.
Go to Detailed Map View, click Options, Find address, enter your postcode, click find, click on your address and then click select (at the bottom) When the map appears go to the far left icon at the bottom of the page. Lastly click on each of the three/four options in turn.
Northern Ireland – https://dfi-ni.maps.arcgis.com
Think SERIOUSLY about the cover you need
If your property has previously flooded or you live in a flood risk area, think very carefully about buying a policy that does include flood cover. If you do choose to take out insurance that excludes this cover, you need to understand how this could impact you if your home is affected by a flood event. In some cases, the damage caused by flood can be so severe the home is uninhabitable and often needs to be vacated for a prolonged period to allow for drying out and inevitable repairs. The associated costs for alternative accommodation on top of the cost of repairs and replacing damaged items (potentially everything on the ground floor) can be significant and would have to be financed by you if you don’t include flood cover on your policy.
Intelligent Insurance can provide flood cover with home insurance but not in ALL policies. This varies by your specific location and postcode, and the history of flood to you or neighbouring properties. Before you conclude a quotation with us, we will clearly confirm if flood cover is excluded and this will appear in the Policy Schedule under ‘Endorsements’. You can still buy home insurance with us if flood cover is excluded, but if you live in an area that has flooded or is at risk of flooding, we will always strongly recommend that you take out a policy with this cover included, which we may be unable to provide.
If we can’t help you with suitable cover there are options available in the market. Either select an insurer that can utilise the Flood Re scheme, or renew cover with your existing insurer if you already have flood cover included.
What is Flood Re?
Flood Re is a joint initiative with UK insurers and the government. It aims to make the flood cover part of home insurance more affordable. It works by charging all UK home insurers a fee and additional charges to the insurers involved in the scheme. These fees cover the costs of any associated flood claims.
You may be eligible for Flood Re cover if you live in a property built before 2009. The scheme does not apply to commercial properties. Click for more information about Flood Re
Make sure your home insurance meets the conditions of your mortgage provider
As well as making sure you have flood cover in place for your own peace of mind, you should also make sure your home insurance cover meets the terms of your mortgage if you have one. Some mortgage providers insist you have flood cover, and therefore taking out a policy with flood cover excluded means you may breach your mortgage conditions.
What can you do to reduce the risk of flooding to your property
If your home is at risk from flooding there are things available that can help reduce the risk of damage.
Sign up for Flood Warnings through the FREE government website – https://www.gov.uk/sign-up-for-flood-warnings
If you live in a property that has previously flooded or is at high risk of flooding we would recommend you obtain a Professional Flood Survey including a site visit from a qualified chartered surveyors or civil engineering company who specialise in Flood assessments. They will recommend specific improvements, which may include:
Non return valves fitted to your waste pipes
This will ensure that foul water will not back up into the property. Even if your property does not have water entering through other means, water can back up through the drains and overflow your toilets, baths and sinks with foul water.
These are low level vents that help stop rotting of your sub floor void.
Unfortunately, due to their placement they are also one of the major weaknesses for water to enter your property. Anti Flood Air brick covers are designed to replace your existing air bricks, but crucially do not allow water to enter.
These can be purchased and fitted to all external doors. When not in use they can be stored away.
If you receive a flood warning they can be quickly and easily installed in time to help protect your home.
-It is possible to raise the height of your electrical sockets, and although costly in the short term, this may well reduce the cost and time of dealing with any future flood event.
-Consider replacing downstairs carpets with tiles which can be dried and cleaned quicker than carpets.
More information in relation to flood prevention and management can be found at the following locations:
And this handy guide from LV= will help you prepare for any flooding:
What to do if your home floods
Experiencing a flood in your home can be one of the most upsetting and devastating experiences. Often whatever is left behind after the flood water subsides is unsalvageable.
IF you have purchased a policy with FLOOD cover please contact your insurer as soon as possible after flooding occurs so you can get advice on the steps to take to start to recover your property and contents.
How to recover after a flood
Some helpful information to refer to in the event of experiencing a flood and how to recover after the event can be found at the following locations:
To get a quote for home insurance, visit www.intelligentinsurance.co.uk or call us on 03333 11 11 10 and our team will be happy to help you.