What is flood insurance?
Flood insurance describes that element of the typical home insurance or holiday home insurance policy which protects the buildings and its contents against the potentially devastating loss and damage caused by floods.
The risk of flooding – from rivers or from the sea – varies from one location to another. The Environment Agency formally classifies those risks on a four-point scale from high, to medium, low and very low, and insurers adjust their premiums according to a flood insurance calculator.
What does flood insurance cover?
Flood insurance covers loss or damage to the structure and fabric of the building and of its contents. Typically, therefore, it covers:
- the cost of removal of debris;
- the repair or replacement of damaged possessions, including furniture and furnishings;
- drying out, repairing and reinstating damage done to the building, its fittings and fixtures;
- alternative accommodation for as long as your home remains uninhabitable; and
- professional fees – such as architects, engineers, solicitors and surveyors.
As with any type of insurance, the total sum insured represents the maximum amount your insurer is obliged to pay in the event of a claim – and this may be considerable in the event of serious flood damage.
How much does flood insurance cost?
The average cost of flood insurance is affected by the amounts that insurers have had to pay out in flood claims to their customers. Following severe winter weather in 2005, 2009, 2012 and again in 2015/2016, the cost of settling such claims has run into many millions of pounds.
As a result, the flood insurance element of all home insurance policies has increased, but none more so than for owners of property in high risk areas – where the assessment is a high probability of flood claims in the future or where claims have been made in the past.
What is Flood Re?
The cost of premiums for property owners in high risk areas may have put flood insurance beyond their reach.
In order to provide more affordable flood insurance for such property owners, therefore, the government and the insurance industry together devised a re-insurance scheme – Flood Re, which came into effect in April 2016 – to help insurers lower their costs.
Participating insurers pay a re-insurance premium to Flood Re, based on the Council Tax band of the high flood risk property in question. For properties in bands A and B, for instance, the premiums are in the region of £210 and these rise to £276 for properties in band D.
Affordable flood insurance, underwritten by Flood Re in this way, is now available through ourselves here at UKinsuranceNET.
Do I need flood insurance?
The UK is blessed with a generally mild climate. Whatever the wider effects of global warming – and the Financial Times, for one, has argued that there is a strong connection between global warming and flooding in the UK – serious damage from this source may occur at practically any time, in almost any part of the country.
In order to protect your home and its contents against such potentially devastating loss and damage, therefore, you may be well-advised to make the modest investment in adequate flood insurance – but especially if your property lies in a high risk area.