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Home insurance for flooding

This advice applies to Scotland

If you live in a high flood risk area, it's critical that you have buildings and contents insurance that is stated to cover flood damage in the policy.

If you rent, it's important to have contents insurance covering flood damage. It's the landlord's responsibility to have appropriate buildings insurance.

Price comparison websites

Price comparison websites (PCWs) allow you to easily compare insurance premiums from different insurers, but PCWs are not an appropriate way of finding insurance that includes cover for flooding. PCWs often focus on price and might not highlight important exclusions or limitations of a policy.

Instead you can use the 'find insurance' tool on the British Insurance Brokers’ Association website or phone their helpline on 0370 950 1790 to find specialist brokers that supply your area.

If you have home insurance that you accessed through a PCW, it's important to make sure it covers you for flooding damage and that you're aware of any exclusions.

If you have problems making a claim for flood damage from a policy you found through a PCW, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for help.

Technical questions about flood risk

For information about understanding your flood risk, read our tips for flood preparation.

Your insurer must ask all the relevant questions when you take out, change or renew a policy. You must answer the insurer's questions honestly and you must take reasonable care that your replies are accurate.

Home insurers will usually ask if your home has been flooded within a set number of years. You might be asked technical questions about topography and water course geography when you apply for a policy. For example, you might be asked how far away your home is from a river.

It's important that you provide information that is accurate to the best of your knowledge. If you deliberately or carelessly withhold information or mislead your insurer, they can refuse your claim.

If you unknowingly give incorrect or incomplete information to your insurer, your insurer can’t refuse a claim. You should state, in writing, that it's accurate to the best of your knowledge but is an estimate.

Find out more about home contents insurance and buildings insurance.

Insurance for high-risk properties

If you're refused insurance cover because of information you give, you could try the Floodre scheme.

Floodre is a UK government scheme to help homeowners at high risk of flooding to find affordable insurance. Floodre is a pot of funds that insurers can draw from to keep insurance premiums affordable for consumers. You can read about how the Floodre scheme works on the Floodre website.

You should apply directly to insurers taking part in the Floodre scheme and state that you're applying for a Floodre policy. You can find a list of participating insurers on the Floodre website.

To be eligible for Floodre, the home you want to insure must have been built before 1 January 2009. You can find more information on eligibility details on the Floodre website.

Insurers who participate in Floodre do not have to give you a quote. It's worth asking for Floodre insurance quotes from several insurers to compare the price of insurance premiums. If you can't find insurance through Floodre, you could contact a specialist flood insurer. You can use the 'find insurance' tool on the British Insurance Brokers’ Association website or phone their helpline on 0370 950 1790 to find specialist brokers that supply your area.

You should check that you meet all the conditions of your Floodre policy to prevent it being invalidated when you come to claim. You should also carefully check for any exclusions.

Discounts for flood defences

You might be eligible for discounted insurance premiums if you have flood defences installed or have signed up to get flood warnings from Floodline.

However, you should check with your insurer before installing flood defence products in your property, because this might increase premiums for properties that are not at high risk of flooding.

For more information on flood defence products for your home and how to sign up for flood warnings, read our tips for flood preparation.

Some insurers might offer discounts if the local council has built or is planning to build flood defences that will help protect your property. SEPA’s flood maps show where flood defences are in place. Check for defences in your area on the flood maps on the SEPA website.

The local council must also publish a flood risk management strategy. This will be available on their website.

An insurer might ask you to provide further evidence of the flood defence work. In this case, you might be able to get a letter from the local council about what has been done and how this has reduced or will reduce the local flood risk.

Checking your policy for exclusions

Exclusions are the things your policy doesn't cover.

To be fully covered for flood damage, it's worth considering the following questions:

  • are the garden, driveway, boundary walls and fences covered?
  • does the policy entitle you to replacement of new for old, or just the replacement value? The replacement value might be very low for older items
  • does the policy cover flood resilience work designed to reduce future damage, such as waterproof plaster?

For more information, read our advice on buildings insurance and household contents insurance.

Renewing your insurance after a flood

Your mortgage company usually requires you to have home insurance.

If you're having difficulty affording your mortgage payments because of high insurance premiums, you should contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or contact a mortgage adviser.

Insurance policies are usually renewed every year. If you've agreed to automatic renewal, your policy will continue on the same terms unless you tell your insurance company that your circumstances have changed. You should get an email or a letter that says when the policy will renew and how much your monthly or yearly premium will be.

If you're a vulnerable consumer, for example because you have a physical disability or mental health problems, insurance companies should take special care to communicate with you about renewals.

If you've been flooded, your insurer might increase your insurance premiums significantly or might decline to renew your insurance policy. For general information, read our advice about problems getting insurance. In this case, you might want to switch to another insurer that can offer lower premiums.

You might be eligible for insurance with more affordable premiums under the Floodre scheme from your current insurer or other insurers. Your existing insurer is not obliged to suggest a Floodre policy to you, so you should ask to be considered.

There are also specialist flooding insurance brokers that might be able to provide you with cover if you're having difficulty finding cover from mainstream insurers. You can use the 'find insurance' tool on the British Insurance Brokers’ Association website or phone their helpline on 0370 950 1790 to find specialist brokers that supply your area.

The Scottish Flood Forum can also advise if you have problems finding insurance and might be able to recommend specialist flooding insurers.

Next steps

Read about making an insurance claim for flood damage.

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