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Homes at risk of losing flood insurance cover

Talks between insurers and government hit impasse


As rain continues to fall across parts of the UK and water levels rise, there are fears about 200,000 households could lose the cover on their homes as talks between insurance chiefs and the Government stall.

The two sides appear to be at an impasse as they seek to replace a ‘safety net’ deal to ensure people living in flood risk areas can continue to afford their policies.

This comes at a time when more than 900 properties have been flooded during the latest period of bad weather. If you’ve been affected, boost your chances of putting in a successful flood claim by following our top tips.

Households at high risk of flooding could lose insurance

Insurers have called on the government to provide a temporary overdraft facility to pay out on claims for 200,000 high-risk households in the event of serious flooding, such as that seen in 2007, until a proposed not-for-profit insurance fund has built up its reserves.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has accused ministers of rejecting its proposals, but the government insists it remains determined to reach a deal.

Nick Starling, director of general insurance at the ABI, said the severe floods experienced by many areas of the UK this year have served as a reminder of the rising flood risk facing the country as a whole and added: ‘It is therefore vital that insurers and government tackle this issue together – this is not just a problem for insurers. 

‘No country in the world has a free market for flood insurance with high levels of affordable cover without some form of government involvement.’

The cost of flooding and how to make a claim

The Environment Agency has issued flood warning messages to nearly 71,000 households in the past few days. Figures from the ABI state a typical flood damage claim can cost between £20,000 and £40,000.

If your home is flooded, contact your insurance provider as soon as possible to set a claim in motion. Most have a 24-hour emergency helpline you can call.

You should gather photographic and video evidence, mark water levels on the walls and keep any receipts for costs incurred by emergency repairs.

If you need to have work done, your insurer can give advice on finding reputable tradesmen but you can also check out Which? Local for recommendations from Which? members.

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

If you’re looking for home insurance, first check Which? Recommended Providers for home insurance but if they can’t offer cover contact the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (Biba) which can help you find a flood specialist insurance broker.

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 about an insurance claim

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 about for more details.

More on this…

  • Making a flood claim – advice on making a successful claim and protecting your property
  • Home insurance – all you need to know when picking a policy
  • Rebuilding your home – typical costs for common plumbing, plastering and electrical jobs
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