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Home insurance for flooding

This advice applies to Scotland

If you live in a high-risk flooding area, it is critical that you have buildings and contents insurance that is stated to cover flood damage in the policy. If you rent, it is important to have contents insurance covering flood damage and it is the responsibility of the landlord 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 may not highlight important exclusions or limitations of a policy. Instead you can use the British Insurance Brokers’ Association online 'find insurance' tool at www.biba.org.uk 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 is important that you ensure it covers you for flooding damage and that you are 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, see 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. For more information, see Information you need to give an insurer and Information that insurers must give you

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

It is important that you provide information that is accurate to the best of your knowledge. If you deliberately or carelessly withheld 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 is accurate to the best of your knowledge but is an estimate. 

If you are refused insurance cover because of information you give, you could try the Floodre scheme

Insurance for high-risk properties through the Floodre scheme 

Floodre is a UK Government scheme to help home owners at a high risk of flooding to find affordable insurance. Floodre is a pot of funds which insurers can draw from to keep insurance premiums affordable for consumers. For more information about Floodre, see www.floodre.co.uk.

You should apply directly to insurers taking part in the Floodre scheme, and state that you are applying for a Floodre policy. A list of participating insurers is available at www.floodre.co.uk.

To be eligible for Floodre, the home you want to insure must have been built before 1 January 2009. For further eligibility details, see www.floodre.co.uk.

Insurers who are participating in Floodre do not have to give you a quotation. It is worth asking for Floodre insurance quotations from several insurers to compare the price of insurance premiums. If you are not able to find insurance through Floodre, you could contact a specialist flood insurer. You can use the British Insurance Brokers’ Association online 'find insurance' tool at www.biba.org.uk 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 may be eligible for discounted insurance premiums if you have flood defences installed or have signed-up to receive flood warnings from Floodline. However, you should check with your insurer before installing flood defence products in your property, as this may increase premiums for properties that are not considered to be at high risk of flooding.

For more information on flood defence products for your home and how to sign-up for flood warnings, see Tips for flood preparation.

Some insurers may also offer discounts if the local authority has built or is planning to build flood defences that will help to protect your property. SEPA’s flood maps show where flood defences are in place. Check the flood maps for defences in your area at map.sepa.org.uk. The local authority must also publish a flood risk management strategy. This will be available on their website.

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

Checking your policy for exclusions

There are different levels of insurance cover. Exclusions mean what your policy doesn't cover. For more information on this, see Buildings Insurance and Household contents insurance

To be fully covered for flood damage, it is worth considering the following:

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

Renewing your insurance after a flood

You are usually required to have home insurance by your mortgage company. If you are 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 yearly. If you have agreed to automatic renewal, your policy will continue on the same terms unless you tell your insurance company that circumstances have changed. You should receive an email or a letter providing a date on which the policy will renew and how much your monthly or yearly premium will be.

If you are 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 have been flooded, your insurer may increase your insurance premiums significantly or may decline to renew your insurance policy. For general information, see Problems getting insurance. In this case, you may want to switch to another insurer who can offer lower premiums.

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

There are also specialist flooding insurance brokers who may be able to provide you with cover if you are having difficulty finding cover from mainstream insurers. You can use the British Insurance Brokers’ Association online 'find insurance' tool at www.biba.org.uk 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 may be able to recommend specialist flooding insurers. 

Next steps

See Making an insurance claim for flood damage.

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