Flooding is on the rise in the UK, with several million households up and down the country at risk of damage ranging from the minor to the severe in the event of extreme weather. Unfortunately, some of the effects are unavoidable: suffering power cuts, being forced to take up temporary accommodation and losing valuable family airlooms mean that a heavy flood almost always takes an emotional toll on those in its path.
But nowadays it doesn't have to mean starting all over again. Flood insurance today is affordable, hassle-free, and easy to sign up for. Here's our guide to help you get started.
What are the benefits of flood insurance?
There is no legal requirement to take out flood insurance - even for those living in the most high-risk areas of the country - but, without it, you could find yourself paying through the nose to repair any damage to your home.
Covering yourself against floods doesn't just assist with the clean-up process either. Your providers can also help with any legal issues you may encounter if your local authorities are in any way at fault for your misfortune.
At the least, we recommend taking out building insurance. Contents insurance (a distinction which is outlined below) may not be a prerequisite if you travel light, but the structure of your property shouldn't be left to chance.
Am I already covered?
Before you go making any calls, it's important you understand exactly what kind of coverage you need.
Most of us, at least those of us who own property, already have a basic home insurance package taken out at the point we move into our new homes - which very often includes protection against flooding already (if in doubt, read the small print or give your providers a call to discuss what you're covered for).
Keep in mind, however that home insurance, in most cases, is merely building insurance. In other words, it's there to help in the event that your property is structurally damaged as a result of weather, vandalism or simply wear and tear.
That is to imply that it doesn't necessarily cover the things inside your home. To do this, you will need to take out building contents insurance as well. This will take care of things like furniture and, a lot of the time, carpet and other internal fixtures as well.
What if I live in a high risk area?
Until a few years ago, homeowners residing in areas at a high risk of flooding were necessarily made to pay more for their insurance by virtue of what was essentially a postcode lottery.
However, the government has addressed this by introducing its Flood Re initiative, a venture that aims to provide affordable cover for those susceptible to severe damage. Though it is partly operated by the same private insurance companies we all use, rates are designed to be far less prohibitive than standard ones.
The process for applying is largely the same, except to qualify for Flood Re scheme you will need to provide evidence to your insurer that you are living in a high risk area. To do this, simply email the government's Environmental Agency at [email protected] and request a formal confirmation letter.
Remember that this scheme is aimed at those at risk from natural flooding caused by extreme weather. You won't be eligible if, for example, you merely have dodgy internal pipes that could explode at any second.
You can easily gather few quotes from several insuring companies like Admiral and HomeProtect. You can compare different prices on flood insurance with Confused, but you have to enter few of your details to get quotes.
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