home insurance and flood cover

Home insurance and flood cover: UK wet weather raises concerns

In the wake of Storms Dennis and Ciara, not to mention their younger brother Jorge, the UK has had an unprecedented level of rainfall to cope with. Flooding has affected thousands across England and Wales, and there are concerns that home insurance is falling short.

With three major storms in a month and average rainfall in February of 202.1mm – beating the previous record of 193.4mm set in 1990 – communities across the UK have been devastated by repeated flooding and little to no reprieve between serious weather events. While March has been dryer so far, the damage left is significant, and homeowners and authorities are still picking up the pieces.

After Storm Ciara, experts were predicting that the damage caused would cost up to £200m in insurance claims[1]. What is currently unknown is how many homes and businesses are actually adequately covered for storm damage, and specifically flooding. Homeowners can be caught without sufficient cover if they haven’t checked their policy carefully.

Flood Reinsurance

The Flood Re scheme, a joint non-profit initiative between the government and insurers, seeks to make flood cover in household insurance more affordable. It does this by exacting a levy on all insurance companies that offer home insurance in the UK. The money is used specifically to cover flood risks included in home insurance policies; that element of risk can be passed to Flood Re by the insurer, and if a claim is made, the insurer is later reimbursed from the Flood Re fund.

Not all insurers take part, and the homeowner is still responsible for checking that their policy includes the flood cover they need. Not all properties are eligible for the Flood Re scheme, so a tool has been produced to help you check. Your insurance provider should also be able to give you this information.

Introduced in 2016, the Flood Re scheme has made it easier for homeowners whose properties have flooded before, to get home insurance quotes without extortionate prices. Independent research has shown that 93% of homeowners whose homes have previously flooded have been able to get quotes from 4 or more insurers, compared with 0% before the introduction of the scheme[2].

Home insurance and flood cover: what to check

Flood insurance is usually included as a normal part of buildings insurance. However, it won’t cover your contents unless you opted for contents insurance as part of your overall home insurance policy. If you rent, you definitely need to make sure you have home contents cover as your landlord’s insurance will not cover your personal property.

Replacing damaged belongings

Do you have ‘new for old’ cover? If so, your insurance will pay out to replace most damaged items with new equivalent items. If you only have indemnity cover, you’ll only get paid back the value of your items before the flood occurred. This could be a problem if it costs more to replace an item than the item was worth at the time.

Alternative accommodation

The level of cover you take out might determine how long you can actually be accommodated outside of your home while repairs are going on. If the cover level is too low, you might have to move back in before it’s finished, or end up paying the bill yourself.

[1] The Guardian, 14 Feb 2020 https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/feb/14/storm-ciara-expected-to-cost-up-to-200m-in-insurance-claims-storm-dennis

[2] The Journal, Chartered Insurance Institute, Dec 2019

We can help 

If you’re concerned about your level of flood cover within your home insurance and want to check that you’re fully protected for flood, we’re here to help. Give us a call or message us below; we’ll happily go through your policy with you, and can speak with you about your specific needs.