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What is flood insurance?

It can be difficult to find a standard home insurance policy to cover you if your home is in a flood risk area or has been damaged by a flood before.

Standard home insurance policies will likely include cover for a certain level of flood damage as standard. Your buildings insurance covers the damage to your home (the bricks and mortar), and your contents insurance covers what’s inside it. But if your home has been flooded before or is at risk, this may not be included. Instead, you might need to find specialist flood insurance.

Flood insurance policies

The right flood insurance policy can cover the cost of replacing items, making repairs and even rebuilding your home. A flood insurance policy will usually cover flood damage caused by nature, such as rain damage or overflowing waterways. Your policy might not cover what is known as ‘escape of water’ flooding. This means flooding caused by a burst pipe or a water main fault. This kind of damage would need to be covered in a different section of your policy, potentially at an extra cost.

Specialist flood insurance or home insurance for flood risk areas, will usually be more expensive than a standard home insurance policy.  However, there should still be affordable policies available that will cover you, even if some suppliers are unable to offer cover.

How to get a quote for flood insurance

A comparison is always the best place to start when looking for home insurance.

If you need specialist flood insurance, providers will likely ask you to fill out a contact form on their website so they can call you to discuss your cover. Other insurers may give you a quote online, but you’ll need to provide a few bits of information about your property. For example:

  • Do you live within 200 metres of any bodies of water such as rivers, streams or canals?

  • If yes, how far from the water is your home (in meters or feet)?

  • How high above the water line is your property?

If your property has been flooded before, you may be asked to provide more details so that the flood insurance provider can give you an accurate quote. These details might include:

  • When your home flooded

  • The structural impact to your property

  • The cause of the flood

  • The depth of the flood water

  • What you have done to guard against future floods

The information you provide will have a big impact on whether or not the insurer can cover you. It will also influence how much you have to pay. Make sure all the information you give is honest and accurate, otherwise you may not be covered when you need it.

You should try to find and compare quotes from as many providers as possible in order to find the best specialist flood insurance cover for you at the best price.

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What does specialist flood insurance cover?

Your flood risk insurance should cover you for most issues that may arise from flood damage.

For example, flood insurance can cover:

  • Structural repairs to your property

  • Removing detritus washed into your home

  • Drying out your home

  • Fixing or replacing damaged fixtures and fittings

  • Repairs to your furniture and other belongings, or replacements if necessary

  • The cost of alternative accommodation if you are unable to stay in your home

  • Legal fees or surveyor fees resulting from flooding issues

Not every policy covers all of this as standard, so read the details of your policy carefully to make sure you have the cover you need.

What is Flood Re?

Flood Re is a scheme jointly run by the UK government and insurance companies. It is designed to help people who live in flood risk areas find affordable home insurance.

It’s aim is to stop people living in flood risk areas being forced to pay extortionate premiums for their home insurance.

A collective fund – paid into by every UK insurer – is used to help keep policies cheaper. Insurers are not compelled to offer home insurance for flood risk areas, but the insurers who are part of the scheme can use the fund to offer cover at a more affordable price.

How to find out if you live in a flood risk area

Knowing whether your home is at risk of flooding is a key part of buying home insurance. Learning as much as you can about your home and the likelihood of it being damaged or destroyed will help you put the right insurance policy in place.

To get this information, you can:

  • Commission a professional flood risk assessment and share the findings with prospective insurers

  • Sign up for flood warnings and join flood action groups

  • If you live in England, you could ask the Environment Agency for a free insurance-related request letter. This details planned improvements and previous floods and assessments, and you can show it to your insurer

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