Find out how to determine whether or not your home is at risk of flooding and how this could effect the premiums you pay for your homeowner’s insurance.
Does my homeowner’s insurance cover damage caused by flooding?
Your home and all of your belongings could sustain catastrophic damage as a result of flooding, which would result in costly repairs that could easily run into the tens of thousands of pounds.
Thankfully, flood coverage is a basic component of homeowner’s insurance policies. A standard buildings insurance policy will, at the very least in theory, compensate you for losses sustained as a result of floodwaters coming from outside your property and inside it. This can include the following
a river or canal that has overflowed its banks due to strong tides, storms, or severe rains.
If you have chosen to get contents insurance, then your belongings are also protected by the policy.
In addition to paying to replace what you’ve lost, policies typically offer coverage for temporary housing in the event that your house is become uninhabitable as a result of the covered peril.
What aspects are not included?
Flood coverage is a typical component of homeowner’s insurance, but there are always exceptions to every rule. Prior to making a purchase, it is in your best interest to conduct a thorough review of what your policy does and does not cover. There are three things that you should keep an eye out for:
Some insurance companies may not include flood coverage in their rates to you if you reside in an area that has a high risk of flooding or if your property has been flooded in the past. If this is the case, you may be required to pay a higher deductible.
Components of your property as a whole
There is a possibility that some components of your property, such as its outbuildings or fences, will not be included or will be optional.
Only a fraction of insurance include coverage for flooding caused by groundwater. See the following section for further explanation on what groundwater flooding is.
What about pipelines that have burst open?
The sections of your insurance policy that address water damage caused by leaks on your home are typically handled differently than the sections that address flood cover.
If a pipe in your home bursts for some reason, such as because of the cold weather, creating an urgent situation, you can utilise your “home emergency insurance,” which is sometimes an optional part of policies, to arrange for and pay for a plumber to be dispatched and repair the leak.
Pipes, faucets, and other components of your plumbing that spring a leak due to normal wear and tear are less likely to be covered by your homeowner’s insurance. However, insurers will normally compensate you for any damage to your property or belongings that is caused by the leak. This particular cover is known as the “escape of water” cover.
A further type of protection known as “track and access” is made available by the majority of insurance providers. This will cover the cost of having an inspection performed on your home to identify the water leak’s origin.
What exactly is flooding caused by groundwater?
When it rains, the earth acts like a sponge and takes up all of the water. The formation of groundwater takes place when a portion of this water percolates deeper into the rock.
When rocks reach their saturation point, they begin to form what is referred to as a water table.
When excessive rainfall causes the water table to rise, which makes it impossible for storm sewers and drainage networks to function efficiently, groundwater flooding can occur. Groundwater flooding is also known as subsurface flooding.
The majority of home insurance companies do not include coverage for groundwater flooding as part of their policies for homeowners.
Unfortunately, it is not always evident from the paperwork of an insurance policy if groundwater flooding is covered; thus, it is essential to check with your provider if you think you reside in an area that is prone to groundwater flooding.
How likely is it that I will be submerged in water?
More than 5.2 million households in England alone are at risk of flooding, according to the Environment Agency, and given the increasingly unpredictable nature of the weather, this figure is only anticipated to grow in the coming years.
According to estimates provided by Aviva, approximately one in every seven homes and businesses in the UK are vulnerable to flooding.
Home insurers will look at statistics on the likelihood that your property will flood when making decisions about whether or not to accept you as a customer or how much to charge you for flood insurance. This evaluation may take into consideration a number of factors, including the proximity of your home to a body of water, such as a river or the sea, the presence of local flood defences, and the frequency with which flooding has occurred in the area in the past.
Do I live in an area that is prone to flooding?
There are a variety of internet resources available to you, some of which are specific to the region in which you live, that can assist you in determining whether or not the location of your property is at risk of flooding.
If you are interested in determining whether or not your house in England is at risk of being flooded, you can do so by visiting the website maintained by the Environment Agency.
Residents of Wales can determine whether or not a home is located in a flood-risk area by consulting the website maintained by Natural Resources Wales.
If you are a resident of Scotland, you may find out whether or not the area in which you live is at risk of flooding by visiting the website of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).
The Northern Irish Republic
The Rivers Agency in Northern Ireland is the organisation that can assist you in determining whether or not your home is located in a flood-prone area.
On each of the four websites, you may find maps that depict locations that may be susceptible to flooding due to rivers and oceans.
What what is a flood zone?
The Environment Agency established flood zones, which are now utilised to determine the likelihood of a region being flooded based on the data collected.
Only regions that are at risk of flooding due to rivers or the sea are referred to by these zones, and not all rivers have been taken into account while calculating these zones.
There are three distinct flood zones. Areas that are located in flood zone 1 have the lowest probability of being flooded throughout the year, whilst areas that are located in flood zone 3 have the highest probability of being flooded throughout the year.
Flood zone 1
The locations that make up flood zone 1 are those that have a possibility of flooding of less than 0.1 percent in any given year.
Flood zone 2
Flood zone 2 comprises locations that have a possibility of flooding from rivers ranging from 0.1 to 1 percent in any given year and a chance of flooding from the sea ranging from 0.1 to 0.5 percent.
Flood zone 3
The regions that are included in flood zone 3 are those that have a possibility of flooding from rivers that is at least 1 percent and a chance of flooding from the ocean that is at least 0.5 percent.
If I live in a region that is prone to flooding, would my insurance company still cover my home?
Even if you reside in a location that has a high probability of being flooded, you should still be able to find reasonably priced homeowner’s insurance that will protect you in the event that flooding occurs.
Flood Re, a programme that has been funded by the government since 2016, has been working to assist insurers in covering people who live in flood-prone areas. This was not always the case for many homeowners who own their own homes.
Flood Re is funded by an industry levy that each insurer contributes to. If an insurer believes that a customer poses an especially high risk, the insurer has the option of “ceding” that customer’s flood coverage to Flood Re. This means that Flood Re will be responsible for paying out claims made by that customer in the event that they experience flooding.
There are some people who will not gain from Flood Re. Commercial properties, homes built after January 1, 2009, and residential apartment complexes with more than three units are not eligible for coverage and are therefore not covered by this policy.
Flood Re is utilised by around ninety percent of home insurers in order to accept high-risk clients. These include, among others, Admiral, Aviva, AXA, Churchill, Direct Line, Halifax, HSBC, LV, Lloyds Bank, More Than, Nationwide, and Privilege. Other companies on this list include Privilege and Nationwide.
On the website of Flood Re, you will find the complete list, along with specifics regarding the kinds of properties that are and are not covered by the insurance.
If you are qualified for Flood Re cover, all you will need to do to benefit from it is purchase insurance from a participating insurer, either directly or through comparison sites. If you are not eligible for Flood Re cover, you will not benefit from it. However, given that not all insurers take part in the programme, it is essential for those who reside in regions with a high risk of flooding to verify that the insurance policies they are offered include flood protection.
You may want to consider working with a professional broker if you are having problems finding an insurer that will provide you with flood coverage for your property. You can get assistance from the British Insurance Brokers Association via their online tool and telephone service.
Where can I find the greatest insurance for flooding?
Our ratings of house insurance companies indicate not only how we rate the typical contents insurance and buildings insurance plans offered by dozens of companies, but also how the clients of those companies rated the companies themselves.
You can check what kind of coverage each service provider offers for things like tracing and access, alternative lodging, groundwater, burst pipes, and a whole host of other features by reading the evaluations.
What are some things I can do to lower the risk of flooding at my property?
There are several different precautions that can be taken to assist protect your property from flooding. These measures are frequently referred to as flood “resistance” and “resilience” measures. Products and alterations that fall under the category of “resistance measures” are those that are designed to prevent floodwater from invading your property. The purpose of resilience measures, on the other hand, is to lessen the impact of floodwaters on your property in the event that they penetrate it.
You should obtain the opinion of a flood-risk consultant or an independent flood-risk surveyor because not all of them will be suited for your property or your specific circumstances.
The following are some forms of resistance:
flood barriers or flood-proof doors
In order to prevent sewage from backing up into the house, non-return valves should be installed in all of the drainage systems.
putting in airbrick covers (installation).
The following are examples of resilience measures:
paints and plasters that are resistant to water, electrical outlets that are raised, and pumping systems.
If you reside in a region that is at risk of flooding, some additional precautions that are considered standard practise are as follows:
putting away in a secure location outdoor furniture that has the potential to float or be blown away
putting valuables, electrical goods, and important documents either upstairs or in high cupboards; making a list of emergency numbers, including your local council, your insurers, and Floodline; putting valuables, electrical goods, and important documents either upstairs or in high cupboards; putting important documents in high cupboards; (which you can reach on 0345 988 1188).
Regarding flooding, here are the answers to your questions.
If I don’t live near any water, do I still need to get flood insurance?
It is not necessary to live near the ocean, a river, or a canal in order to be at risk of flooding; flooding can be caused by unanticipated occurrences such as a burst pipe or abnormally heavy rainfall.
It is crucial to evaluate the level of coverage that is available on your homeowner’s insurance policy as well as your contents insurance policy.
Should renters purchase insurance to protect themselves against the risk of flooding?
In the event of a flood, your landlord is the one who is responsible for arranging insurance for the building itself; nevertheless, you will be required to have a home contents insurance policy in order to safeguard your personal things.
Should students get homeowner’s insurance to protect their homes from the risk of flooding?
In the event that you are a student, you are required to purchase a home contents insurance coverage in order to safeguard your personal items in the event that a flood occurs.
It is in your best interest to determine whether or not your parents can add you to the coverage of their homeowner’s insurance policy.
As long as your parents’ house remains your primary residence, it should not be too difficult to obtain insurance against burglary and other perils.
If I work from home, do I still need to have flood insurance?
If you have a home-based business and already have a contents insurance policy, your homeowner’s insurance company may extend coverage to your job-related belongings, such as a laptop or work phone.
There’s a possibility that specialised things like pricey audio visual equipment that you use for work aren’t covered by the regular policy.
There are certain insurance companies that will sell you policies for an additional fee that cover a larger variety of things (like business equipment for your home) that you want to protect.
It is in your best interest to check with your homeowner’s insurance provider to ensure that you have the appropriate level of coverage.
Be aware that Flood Re and, as a result, many different insurers do not cover properties that are used for commercial reasons (this means that you must pay business rates).
After the flood, what steps do I need to do to make a claim?
Even though filing a claim on your homeowner’s insurance is the last thing anyone wants to do, if your home has been flooded, there are steps you can take to ensure that the process goes off without a hitch.
Our guide to filing a claim for homeowners insurance will provide you with all of the information you require concerning the management of the claims process, as well as which homeowners insurance firms stand out from the competition when the going gets tough.
How can I go about appealing a decision made by an insurer?
Do not be hesitant to file a complaint with your flood insurer if you feel as though you have been treated unfairly after making a claim for flood damage.
Talk to your insurance provider first, but if that doesn’t help (and you’ve already gone through all of the steps in the complaints process), bring the issue up with the Financial Ombudsman Service.