60 second guide to making a successful flood claimThousands of homes face weekend flood warnings

07 July 2012

Flood

With the UK facing a new wave of floods this weekend, we explain how to put in a flood claim to your home insurer.

According to Defra, around five million properties are at risk of flooding in England alone. Of these, 1.4 million are at risk from rivers or the sea, 2.8 million from surface water and one million from both. You can boost your chances of putting in a successful flood claim by following our handy tips.

Contact your home insurance provider

Most insurers offer a 24-hour emergency helpline you can call if your home has been hit by flooding. You should call your insurer as soon as possible to set a claim in motion. The Association of British Insurers' website lists contact numbers for most insurers.

  • For information about local flood warnings, call Floodline on 0845 988 1188 or Typetalk 0845 602 6340.

Gather evidence of flooding damage

If your home is flooded, there are steps you should take to maximise your chances of putting in a successful home insurance claim.

  • Mark the water levels on the walls for reference and photograph or video all flood damage. 
  • Keep a record of all correspondence with insurers after the flood.
  • If you need to, you can arrange for emergency repairs to be carried out to stop any damage getting worse. However, you must keep receipts, as you'll need these for any insurance claim.
  • If you need to have work done, your insurer can give advice on finding reputable tradesmen. Alternatively you can check out Which? Local for recommendations from Which? members.
  • Most home insurance policies will cover the cost of alternative accommodation if you're unable to stay in your home. Check with your insurer beforehand though.
  • Make sure your insurance company has your contact details, particularly if you're not staying at home.

Does my home insurance policy cover flooding?

Most buildings insurance policies cover the costs of drying out and restoring your home and its fixtures and fittings. It also covers items like the cost of removing debris, professional fees (such as legal fees, architects and surveyors) and other charges incurred as a result of the flood damage.

Contents insurance covers the repair or replacement of damaged furniture and other belongings. Most policies also cover the cost of alternative accommodation.

Making a complaint to your home insurance provider

If you're unhappy with the way your claim is handled by your insurance company and/or loss adjuster, you should complain to them directly in the first instance.

If the problem is not resolved to your satisfaction, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service. Read our guide for more details.

Can I get home insurance if I live in a flood area?

If you're looking for home insurance, we'd suggest starting with our Which? Recommended Home Insurance Providers. If they can't offer cover, a specialist broker may be able to help. The British Insurance Brokers' Association (Biba) has a 'find a broker' helpline that can help you find a flood specialist insurance broker – visit www.biba.org.uk or call 0870 950 1790.

More on this...

  • Phone the Which? Money Helpline - if you've any problems in getting home insurance or with a claim
  • Making a flood claim - advice on making a flood claim and protecting your property
  • Home insurance - our review tells you all you need to know about home insurance