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.’
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