Got a pension question?
- Our help is impartial and free to use. Get in touch online or call us on 0800 011 3797

Flood insurance – getting the right cover

Flooding is becoming more common in the UK and apart from the heartache and hassle, the cost of cleaning up can be huge. If you live in a high-risk area, getting flood insurance at a price you can afford is a good idea.

What is flood insurance?

Flood insurance is normally included as a standard part of your buildings insurance, which protects you in the event of damage to the structure of your property. But this doesn’t include your belongings. If you want the contents of your home to be protected against flood damage too, you’ll need contents insurance.

If you live in an area considered to be a possible flood risk, you might need flood insurance in case of:

  • a river or canal bursting its banks
  • seawater flooding due to storms and/or a high tide
  • surface water or rapid groundwater flooding as a result of heavy rainfall or a burst pipe.

What does flood insurance cover you for?

Flood insurance covers the costs of:

  • removing debris
  • professional fees (such as solicitors, architects and surveyors)
  • repair or replacing damaged furniture and belongings
  • alternative accommodation while you can’t live in your home
  • drying out, repairing and restoring your property and its fixtures and fittings.

Things you might not be covered for

Replacing all your damaged belongings

When it comes to claiming for damaged belongings, the amount your insurance company will pay out depends on the type of contents insurance you have:

  • New for old policy – your insurance company should pay out enough to replace all damaged items with new similar items (other than clothes, where there’s usually a deduction for wear and tear). Most policies offer this.
  • Indemnity cover – you’ll only get the value of your possessions before the flood occurred. So, if your sofa needs replacing at a cost of £2,000, you’ll only get what the old one was worth, which might only be £200.

If you’ve been flooded, you can start cleaning as soon as you like – you don’t need to wait until your insurer has assessed the damage.

Make sure you take pictures of damaged goods and keep samples of things like carpets and furnishings to show your insurer.

Alternative accommodation

You might need to move out of your home while the flood damage is repaired. But the amount of cover that insurance companies offer for alternative accommodation can vary.

It’s important to think carefully about the level of cover you take out.

If your cover is too low, you might need to move back into your home before the repairs are finished or foot part of the bill for alternative accommodation.

Burst or leaking pipes

Has your home been damaged by water coming from inside your home, such as from a leaking or burst pipe? Then your insurer will likely class this as being ‘escape of water’ and not flooding. Most policies will cover this, but it’s good to make sure.

If the damage is due to a burst or leaking pipe, your insurer might want to ensure you took the relevant preventative measures. For example, ‘lagging’ pipes that are vulnerable to freezing.

Do you need flood insurance?

The high cost of clean-up and repairs following a flood means it’s important to have insurance for both your home and its contents.

  • If you rent your home, it’s your landlord’s responsibility – not yours – to have buildings insurance.
  • Your mortgage company usually insists on you taking out buildings insurance, which will often include flood cover.
  • Although contents insurance isn’t compulsory, the cost of replacing everything in your home would be so high that it’s a good idea to have contents cover.

About Flood Re

If you’re struggling to find insurance cover that’s affordable, the Flood Re scheme might be able to help you.

Flood Re is a joint government and insurance industry initiative. It aims to help insurance providers offer more affordable policies to households with eligible properties affected by flooding.

Some properties don’t qualify for Flood Re, including farm outbuildings, certain residential buy-to-let properties and homes built since 1 January 2009.

arrow icon

Check whether you’re covered in the event of a flood

It’s worth taking time to check all the details in your buildings and contents insurance policies that relate to flooding to make sure you have enough cover to protect you in the event of a flood.

It’s important to call your insurance company to query anything you’re not sure about.

New laws mean that it’s up to insurance companies to ask the right questions about what they want to know.

But if your property has a history of flooding, it’s important to tell your insurance company – even if they don’t ask.

The last thing you need is a hitch if you ever need to make a claim, especially when it comes to something as potentially distressing as flood damage.

arrow icon

Get specialist help

Use a specialist broker

An insurance broker can help you negotiate with insurers and arrange cover, if your property doesn’t qualify to be included within the Flood Re scheme.

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) can help you locate a regulated insurance broker who specialises in flood risk.

Brokers don’t normally charge you a fee for their services – they get paid commission by the insurance company instead.

arrow icon

Talk to the National Flood Forum

The National Flood Forum is a national charity that gives independent advice on how to go about getting flood risk insurance.

They also publish a list of ‘flood friendly’ insurers.

arrow icon

Know your risk

The more you can find out about the flood risk to your property the better.

Check your risk on a flood map

Find out whether you’re at risk from river or coastal flooding where you live.

arrow icon

If you’re insuring a property in Scotland, it’s worth knowing that the Scottish Government doesn’t allow insurance companies to use this flood risk information when setting insurance premiums.

If you live in England, you can contact your local Environment Agency office to ask for more information on the level of risk in the area where you live.

arrow icon

You can ask the Environment Agency for what’s known as an insurance-related request letter.

These are free and include details such as:

  • any planned improvements to reduce flood risk
  • any dates when the area was previously flooded
  • the most recent National Flood Risk Assessment that was carried out.
arrow icon

Pay for a ‘flood risk assessment’

This will help present your risk profile to insurance companies in the best possible light and will highlight things you can do to reduce the risk.

To increase the chance of insurance companies being able to make use of the information, make sure that the survey is as detailed as possible and include facts and figures about the level of flood risk to the property.

arrow icon

Reduce the risk

Here are some things you can do to reduce your flood risk:

  • sign up for flood warnings
  • join a flood action group
  • instal products, such as flood boards and air-brick covers, that can help keep flood water out of your home
  • move boilers and electrical points, as well as valuables and important documents, to a higher point above the likely flood level
  • campaign for improvements to flood defences in your local area by working with your local authority and getting involved in public consultations.
arrow icon
Was this information useful?
Thank you for your feedback.
We’re always trying to improve our website and services, and your feedback helps us understand how we’re doing.
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Talk to us live for…
Talk to us live for…
Talk to us live for pensions guidance using…
Talk to us live for money guidance using…
Hours
  • Mon – Fri:9.00am – 5.00pm
  • Sat, Sun and bank holidays:Closed

* Calls are free. We’re committed to providing you with a quality service, so calls may be recorded or monitored for training purposes and to help us develop our services.

Talk to us live for money guidance using the telephone
Hours
  • Mon – Fri:8.00am – 6.00pm
  • Sat, Sun and bank holidays:Closed

* Calls are free. We’re committed to providing you with a quality service, so calls may be recorded or monitored for training purposes and to help us develop our services.

Talk to us live for pensions guidance using web chat
Hours
  • Mon – Fri:9.00am – 6.00pm
  • Sat, Sun and bank holidays:Closed
Talk to us live for money guidance using webchat
Hours
  • Mon – Fri:8.00am – 6.00pm
  • Sat:8.00am – 3.00pm
  • Sun and bank holidays:Closed
Talk to us for pensions guidance using our web form

We aim to respond within 5 working days

Talk to us for money guidance using our web form

We aim to respond within 2 working days

Talk to us live for money guidance using WhatsApp

Download app: WhatsApp

For help sorting out your debts or credit questions. For everything else please contact us via Webchat or telephone.