Flood Insurance Guide - Part Two

Flood Insurance Guide

Part 2 - Policy cover, features and benefits

If your home is located in a high flood risk area then not only will you want to have flood insurance cover, you'll also want to ensure that you have the right cover in place.
No two insurance policies, covers or wordings are ever the same and as such we strongly recommend that you read your insurance policy wordings carefully prior to purchasing your policy. It's all too common an issue that many people never read their insurance documents until they need to make a claim.
We've put together a Frequently Asked Questions guide to help you understand some of the common features and benefits of home insurance policies and how and why these may be of particular importance to property owners in high flood risk areas.
Please be aware that this guide is merely a guide and that individual insurers policy cover, policy wordings, features, benefits and definitions do vary. We strongly recommend that you read your insurance policy documentation carefully (or that of any policy that you are considering purchase) to fully understand what you are and are not covered for.
What cover do I get under the Flood Re Scheme?
Being included in the Flood Re Scheme doesn't provide you with a guaranteed or minimum amount of insurance cover. The cover and policy features of your insurance policy is set by your insurance company and not Flood Re. (see our Flood Re for Dummies guide for more details)
What do insurers call a flood?
Insurer often include a definition of what they call a 'flood' in their policy wording, however if your policy doesn't include a definition for 'flood' it is typically defined as a volume of water entering your property from the outside normally within a short period of time. It's important not to confuse flood with what insurers call 'Escape of Water' which is when water escapes inside your home and causes damage, for example water leaking from a dishwasher or washing machine.
What excess will I pay if I make a flood claim?
Flood excesses can and do vary. Your excess will be detailed in your policy schedule. If you are part of the Flood Re scheme then your flood excess will be £250. If you are not part of the Flood Re scheme, your flood excess will vary and could be very large if you live in a very high flood risk area or have previously made flood insurance claims so it's important to check your policy documents very carefully.
My home isn't always occupied will I still be covered for flooding?
Insurer policy wordings will vary but insurers generally don't mind if you leave your home unoccupied for a period of less than 30 days, some insurers are happy for a home to be left unoccupied for longer. Your policy schedule or wording will detail how long your insurer will allow you to leave your home unoccupied for. If you are likely to be away for longer than this you need to tell your insurer about this in advance.
We need to live somewhere else whilst our home is being repaired, how will I pay for this?
Part of your - buildings or contents insurance (alternative accommodation section)
Home insurance policies include cover for alternative accommodation if your home can't be lived in. The amount of alternative accommodation cover provided will vary, there will generally be a maximum financial amount (generally a percentage of your total sum insured) that an insurer will pay or a maximum period of time that they will pay for you to be in alternative accommodation for.
If the amount of cover you have is a percentage of your insured value, your insurer will pay this amount in addition to the total value of cover you have in place, for example: If you are in rented accommodation and your contents are insured for £40,000 and you have a 20% limit for alternative accommodation your insurer will pay up to £40,000 for loss or damage to your contents and up to £8,000 for your alternative accommodation.
Remember that it's not uncommon to be out of your home for up to or beyond a year and accommodation may be in short supply so rental costs may be higher than they would normally be.
If you have to live some distance from your home (because accommodation may be in short supply), insurers may be prepared to contribute towards additional travel expenses, you will need to check and agree this with your insurer in advance.
My pets need to be kenneled whilst our home is repaired, will my insurance cover the cost of this?
Part of your - buildings or contents insurance (alternative accommodation section)
Pets are commonly covered as part of your family and as such if they need to go in to kennelling or boarding in the short or long term then this should be covered under the alternative accommodation cover in your policy.
Are sheds, garages and outbuildings covered for damage caused by a flood?
Part of your - Buildings insurance
Outbuildings themselves are normally automatically insured for damage caused by flooding. Insurers are likely to all have a different definition of what an outbuilding is. Typically, outbuildings are buildings such as sheds, garages, greenhouses and summerhouses that are not part of your main property and are used for domestic purposes.
Caravans and mobile homes are not classed as outbuildings and need to be insured under a separate and specific policy.
What about items in my shed, garage and other outbuilding, are these be covered for flood damage?
Part of your - Contents insurance
Items in your outbuildings are generally insured for loss or damage caused by flooding. Be aware though that your single article limit will also apply to items in your outbuildings as well so if you have anything high value such as a lawnmower that exceeds your single article limit you will need to specify this item within your policy.
Are items in my garden covered if it floods?
Part of your - Contents insurance
Insurers often set a limit on the amount you can claim for items in your garden which will be detailed in your policy wording or schedule. Many insurers also exclude damaged to items in your garden caused by flooding so we would recommend items such as gas BBQ's are stored in a shed when not in use.
If my gates, fences or hedging is damaged by a flood will they be replaced or repaired?
Part of your - Buildings insurance
Most insurers will not cover damage to gates, fences and hedging as a result of flooding
Our garden is littered with floodwater debris, will my insurer pay to remove this?
Part of your - buildings insurance
The cost of and removal of debris in the grounds of your property caused by flooding is typically covered under your buildings insurance policy. Some policies will however not cover removing debris unless there is damage to the insured buildings themselves.
What about my bicycles, are they covered for damage by a flood?
Part of your - contents insurance (as an extension of cover)
Bicycles are not generally included as a standard cover under contents insurance, they can however normally be added as an optional extra to your contents insurance policy. If your bike is damaged as a result of a flood whilst in a shed or outbuilding then this is usually covered, however if you are not using your bicycle it is best to store it in your shed or garage as some insurance policies however will exclude damage to any item left in your garden.
If the emergency services need to break in to my home will any damage they cause be covered?
Part of your - buildings insurance and contents insurance
If the emergency serviced need to break in to your home then your insurance should cover damage caused. Damage caused to the building itself such as broken doors and windows and locks would be covered under buildings insurance cover. Damage caused to items in your home such as ornaments or furniture would be covered under your contents insurance cover.
If the emergency serviced cause damage to your garden whilst breaking in to your home then this is generally also covered under your buildings insurance.
My house has been so badly damaged that we need a survey to be done, will the surveyors fees be paid for by my insurer?
Part of your - buildings insurance
Professional fee's including architect, surveyors or consultants are normally included in your insurance cover.
If we are evacuated from our home and home is broken in to or vandelised whilst we are away from it, will we still be covered?
Part of your - buildings and contents insurance
Unfortunately looting and vandalism has been known to happen to homes that have been evacuated following a flood warning or in flood stricken areas. Vandalism, looting or theft is usually covered as standard under most home insurance policies.
Damage to the building such as broken doors, windows etc. will be covered under your buildings insurance and items that are broken or stolen from your home would be covered under your contents insurance
I have items stored in a self-store unit, are they covered against flooding?
<>Part of your - contents insurance
Typically, items in a storage unit are not covered under your home insurance policy. However, In the event that your home is flooded and your belongings are placed in storage your insurer may agree to cover your items on a temporary basis whilst they are in a self-contained storage unit. You will need to check this with your insurance provider if the need arises.
The contents of my freezer were ruined when my home flooded, is this covered?
Part of your - contents insurance
If the contents of your freezer are damaged as a result of a flood then this is typically covered. Insurers set a financial limit that they will pay to for freezer cover which will be detailed in your policy wording or policy schedule.
It is advisable that if you are about to be flooded that you turn your electricity off. If you do so and the contents of your freezer is lost then your insurer will usually cover this whether your property floods or not.
If our home was flooded at Christmas would our insurance cover damage to presents?
Part of your - Contents insurance
Storm Desmond and Eva hit the UK causing widespread flooding immediately prior to Christmas in 2015. Many insurers offer an increase to your contents sums insured for a period of time to and prior to a religious festival or sometimes other special events such as a wedding. The increase in cover and the amount of days this is provided for varies by insurer but will be detailed in your policy wording or policy schedule.
My passport and some of my legal documents were damaged when my home flooded will my insurer pay for new ones?
Part of your - contents insurance
Damage to documents such as passports, birth certificates, property deeds or other legal documents caused by flooding are typically covered by insurers but only to a financial limit which will be detailed in your policy wording or policy schedule.
I run my business from home, is my business equipment covered for flooding?
Part of your - contents insurance
Insurers typically include cover for damage to business equipment such as computers, printers, photocopiers and office furniture but only to a certain financial limit which will be detailed in your policy wording or policy schedule. Insurers generally don't cover include items such as business stock under a home insurance policy.
The stress of having my home flooded has been huge, will my insurer compensate me for this?
Insurance doesn't compensate you for stress or inconvenience and having your home flooded can be a very stressful experience.
Some insurance policies include cover for counselling (under your contents insurance policy) for family members that have suffered emotional stress caused by flooding. Cover is likely to be up to a certain financial limit and typically only on the recommendation of your doctor and the approval of your insurer.
Is other people's property that we have borrowed covered for flooding?
Part of your - contents insurance
It is common for insurers to include a limited amount of cover for guests and visitor's belongings up to a certain financial amount. Your insurance policy is also likely to cover items that are in your custody care or control so for example a borrowed television or a computer game.
How do we pay for essential purchases if we have been flooded?
Part of your - contents insurance
A few insurance policies will include emergency cash advance cover to help you pay for buying essentials if your home has been flooded, the amount of cover will vary. It is more common for your insurer to compensate you for items after you have purchased them and once they have confirmed that they will be paying your claim.
We're planning on building an extension to our home would the building works be covered if we are flooded?
If you are extending your home or undergoing any major renovations then you need to let your insurer know about this ahead of the work starting as some insurers may exclude certain cover or refuse to insure a house undergoing building works.
Our home has been flooded and we'd like to fit a special flood door so it doesn't happen again, will our insurer pay for this?
Insurers don't normally agree to pay for installing flood prevention or resilience measures in to your home when they repair flood damage. Sometimes insurers will allow these to be fitted if the costs of the items are not more than the costs of repairing/replacing the damage as standard or if you agree to pay the additional costs yourself.
If you are covered by a High Net Worth home insurance policy then your insurer may contribute towards the cost of improvements at the time your property is being repaired if the improvements will help to mitigate or prevent a future flood. Insurers will normally only pay for this for claims of a minimum size.
If you've got a question about your insurance cover that we've not answered contact us on info@floodassist.co.uk and we'll help you find the answer!