The need for insurance
In most cases, flood insurance is part of your buildings and contents insurance. Property insurance safeguards your most valuable assets, your property and its contents. It covers damage to homes and businesses caused by a sudden, unexpected event such as fire, storm or flood. Mortgage providers and other lenders expect you to have buildings insurance in place to cover any property against which you secure a loan. Being unable to secure an insurance policy could have implications for your mortgage and could make it more difficult to sell your property.
If your property is flooded, buildings insurance usually covers the costs of drying out, repairing, and restoring your property and its fixtures and fittings. It also covers items such as the cost of removing debris, professional fees (e.g. legal fees, architects, surveyors) and other charges incurred as a result of the flood damage. Most buildings policies will cover the cost of alternative accommodation too. It can often take many weeks or months for flooded properties to be made habitable again. Contents insurance covers the cost of repair or replacement of damaged furniture, equipment, and other belongings. Business policies may include business interruption insurance to help protect income until the damage is repaired.
The availability of flood cover
Areas at risk of flooding may have higher premiums and excesses (the amount you must pay towards the costs of repair) to reflect that risk. Insurers do not guarantee to provide cover in all circumstances and some insurers may consider your risk to be unacceptable to them. The cost and availability of insurance may even vary within individual streets as different insurers will want to limit their exposure to claims from any one event.
Getting specialist help
If it has not been possible to obtain affordable cover through a normal insurance provider, there are specialists who may be able to help. Insurance brokers and other professional insurance intermediaries are able to negotiate with insurers and to arrange cover for more challenging cases. Some brokers and other intermediaries are experts in arranging insurance for properties which are considered to be at higher risk of flooding.
The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA)’s ‘find a broker’ helpline can help you locate a flood specialist insurance broker – visit www.biba.org.uk.
The more information you can obtain and discuss with a specialist, the greater your chance of getting covered. You may be able to provide evidence, for example, that your property is situated above known or predicted flood levels in your area. A survey of your property may be necessary in order to assess the risk, including details of any flood protection measures which are planned or in place.
Insurance specialists could charge a fee for the services they provide but, if they do, you will be informed of any costs at the outset.