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Home insurance with flooding

Here at GSI Insurance, one of the common questions we’re asked is what can be done for home insurance with flooding?

We’d like to summarise the position here.

Why things have changed with flood insurance

If you were to look back 40 or 50 years, you may find that home insurance with flooding was included automatically as a standard component of buildings cover.

However, in the last decades of the 20th century, the United Kingdom was hit again and again with large-scale serious flooding. The causes of that remain the subject of some debate, though both climate change and the fact that properties are now being built in flood plains, are both commonly cited.

As the 21st century approached, it became clear that insurance companies could simply no longer shoulder the burden of meeting the massively increasing claims for flood damage.

As a result, depending on where you lived and if your property had been flooded before, some insurance providers stopped offering such flood insurance as part of a home insurance policy. Those that did provide it may have done so, but with a high excess amount. (The excess amount is the first part of any successful claim that you are liable for). Or, the cost of the element of flood insurance cover may have increased for some properties.

The position today

Eventually, a number of insurance providers joined together with the government to launch what is called “Flood-Re”.

This scheme operates on the basis of insurers paying funds into a central reserve, which is used to help insurers cope with flood claims should the worst happen to a property covered by one of their policies.

This means that today, providing you approach the right provider, it may be possible to obtain flood insurance for your property and at a cost-effective price.

Some ongoing challenges

It is worth stating though that, from the point of view of a potential policyholder, a few issues remain:

  • not all insurers necessarily operate within the Flood-Re system, and may choose not to offer home insurance with flooding;
  • some home insurance providers are still not offering such cover for properties or are only doing so on the basis of levying substantially higher premiums;
  • if your property has recently been subject to a claim for flooding, some insurers may decline to offer cover for it again in future;
  • in some specific geographic areas, those officially designated as being at high flooding risk, it may be particularly difficult to find flood cover as part of home insurance unless you have specialist assistance to do so.

Top tips

Options will vary significantly depending on whether or not you currently own property or are considering a purchase:

  • if you own a property under some of the above-mentioned conditions and are finding it difficult to obtain cover, please contact us for an initial discussion for home insurance with flooding;
  • if you are considering purchasing a property, it would only be prudent to investigate the local flood risks and take those into consideration as part of your decision. The government provides some objective information in that respect;
  • the fact that you live in a high-risk area might not mean your property will inevitably flood. It’s possible that the local council have carried out significant flood defence works and that is something you should be able to check at their offices;
  • remember that if your property is close to a significant body of water then there is always likely to be a theoretical flooding risk. That includes coastal areas, rivers, lakes and even reservoirs;
  • sometimes floods can also happen due to entirely atypical weather conditions – such as torrential rain to the extent that the ground and drains can no longer absorb the water. Your local council may have excellent advice and guidance on ways in which you can help to protect your property from such flooding occurrences.
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