Thousands face home insurance problemsFlood maps may leave homeowners facing cover woes
24 June 2010
Homeowners who live in a flood risk area, and know it, yet fail to disclose the fact when seeking home insurance face having any subsequent flood-related claim dismissed. Obtaining a home insurance quote in the first place could also cause homeowners problems, if they live in the wrong postcode area.
Which? has found that there is huge variance in the way different home insurers assess flood risk. Some, including LV= and Northern Rock, assess at postcode level, with reference to claims history and the Environment Agency's flood data maps. As postcodes typically cover upwards of 20 properties, some could find themselves unfairly affected in the event of a claim, or excluded from affordable buildings and contents insurer.
Post code lottery
Sarah Adams from Ordnance Survey is critical of this method of assessing risk: ‘Postcodes are not accurate enough as they typically cover several addresses. They would not take into account whether you live at the top or bottom of a hill.’
Other insurers, such as Aviva and Stroud & Swindon Building Society, use sophisticated mapping systems, which allow them to assess an individual property's flood risk.
Which? editor Martyn Hocking says: 'It really pays to shop around for buildings and contents insurance - particularly if you live in a flood-risk area.'
Which? Money when you need it
You can follow @WhichMoney on Twitter to keep up-to-date with our Best Rates and Recommended Provider product and service reviews.
Sign up for the latest money news, best rates and recommended providers in your newsletter every Friday.
Or for money-saving tips, and news of how what's going on in the world of finance affects you, join Melanie Dowding and James Daley for the Which? Money weekly money podcast
For daily consumer news, subscribe to the Which? news RSS feed here. And to find out how we work for you on money issues, visit our personal finance campaigns pages.