Home insurance and the floods

July 27, 2007 at 9:37 am

According to the Association of British Insurersan estimated 27,500 homes were damaged in the floods which recently hit Yorkshire and parts of the Midlands, and the cost to insurers is expected to be in excess of £1.5 billion. It is a nightmare scenario to see your home devastated by flood waters but the misery is compounded if you are uninsured. Many people see home insurance, particularly contents insurance, as some sort of luxury or optional extra. In fact Abbey Home Insurance estimate that with around 25% of home owners having this attitude, some 5,000 families may find themselves wishing that they had insured their homes. In the days after the floods, applications for insurance rose by 300% in places like Hull and Sheffield and it is reasonable to assume that these applicants are those who have learned from their neighbours’ misfortune.

According to the Environment Agency 2.3 million homes are built on flood plains and insurance companies are seeking information from the agency to see whether their black list of uninsurable properties should be increased. At the moment over half a million homes and businesses are uninsurable as they are at risk of being flooded more than once in every seventy-five years. An agreement was reached in 2002 between insurers and the government that cover would be given to home owners with properties on flood plains so long as defence systems were either in place or planned. Currently that agreement is being adhered to although in many other countries home owners are less fortunate; flood cover is often not included in the standard home insurance policy and is very difficult to obtain, even as a separate policy, if the risk is deemed too high. advises householders to check their insurance policies carefully, including all the small print and offers the following tips:-

Before a flood

  • Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies at the mains
  • If you have time, move all items of sentimental value to a safe place
  • Again, if time allows, move what you can upstairs and raise heavy furniture on bricks to minimize damage

During a flood

  • Be aware of the risk posed to health by flood water contaminated by sewage
  • Follow instructions from the emergency services and do not wade through high flood waters

After a flood

  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible on their 24 hour emergency number
  • Keep a record of all damage including, if possible, photographs and/or video footage
  • Do not turn your gas, electricity or water supplies back on before having them checked professionally

For further advice on coping with floods visit the Environment Agency website and remember to keep a note in a safe place of which company you are insured with since you may well be evacuated in a flood and be unable to return home to obtain the information (always supposing it has survived the event). One way round this is to e-mail yourself the policy number and contact details for your insurers.

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One response to “Home insurance and the floods”

  1. Lisa S says:

    This is an amazing site! So much information in one place! You guys are great! I especially love the easy-to-navigate links and pages. Keep up the good work.

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