Tips on obtaining home insurance if you live in a flood-prone area

In a worrying development, there are fears that many homeowners may be denied the opportunity to obtain home insurance because they live in areas that are prone to flooding due to poorly maintained flood defences. In a survey by the National Audit Office, a staggering 50% of linear defences and 49% of flood defences are in disrepair thus leaving whole regions susceptible to flooding during periods of heavy rainfall. Conditions vary between different regions. In the southwest, for example, a mere 18% of flood defences are in an acceptable condition. Given that there are some 2.2 million properties located in regions which are at risk from flooding, obtaining sufficient home insurance is essential. This, as Malcolm Tarling from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) pointed out, can often be a very difficult process for homeowners: “If the area (where the individual lives) does not have adequate flood defences in place, homeowners will find it difficult to get insurance, as there is no obligation to provide cover.”

Under these circumstances, what can you do to try to obtain home insurance if you live in a region vulnerable to flooding? Here are a number of useful tips.

  • First, evaluate the quality of local flood defences. You can do so by typing your postcode into the website of the Environment Agency which will provide you with a map highlighting high risk regions. Alternatively, you can write to the Environment Agency � the department can provide you with details about the quality of flood defences in your region. You will have to pay a fee of �25 for this service. If defences in your area are maintained to a high quality then you should have little difficulty obtaining home insurance.
  • Contact a number of insurers when buying home insurance. Just because one insurer denies you cover does not mean that others will necessarily do the same. It is vital to do your best to obtain insurance for your property. Failing to obtain home insurance is likely to reduce the value of your property substantially. According to Halifax, one of Britain�s largest lending agencies, “Householders who cannot get building insurance will not be able to get a mortgage.”
  • Do your bit to make your home more flood resilient. This will make insurers more willing to grant you a policy. You could, for instance, have your floor tiled rather that carpeted. In addition, it might be wise to install door boards to keep out flood water. Having electrical sockets installed at higher points on your walls will prevent them being damaged during flooding; it will also make your home more child-friendly.

If you are finding it difficult to obtain insurance for your home or are having problems dealing with the paperwork, then there are a number of organisations that can provide you with impartial advice and assistance. These include the National Flood Forum (Telephone: 01299 403 055) and the Telegraph Insurance Services provided by Cornhill Direct (Telephone: 0800 10 70 500).