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Flooding and Insurance

From Jon Morris

Friday, 23 August 2013

I've just spent a worrying few days trying to renew my home insurance - I couldn't get any insurers to give me a quote as apparently I live in a high flood risk area. Has anyone else had any problems recently?

I find it hard to believe that insurers will just refuse to cover an entire area, regardless of which individual properties may have been affected by recent floods.

I did manage to get cover eventually (only 50% higher that last year's price!), thanks to a persistent broker. He told me that quite often insurers don't offer cover for six months after a flood warning, so maybe it was just bad timing.

From Ron Taylor

Saturday, 24 August 2013

We expected problems when our insurance was up for renewal from June this year. Amazed to find that no questions were asked and the premium was the same as the previous year. Lucky I suppose.

From Graham H

Monday, 26 August 2013

There was an article in the paper some time ago about some companies imposing huge hikes in premiums and/or excesses. Readers were advised to contact for advice a national charity called the National Flood Forum (tel. 01299 403055) and a specialist broker called Insurance Choice (tel. 0844 5577600). I don't know anything about these, but they may be worth a try?

From Andy G

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

I would recommend anyone who is having problems with their insurance renewal to try Naturesave Policies, based in Totnes. They are a green ethical insurance company and are usually pretty sympathetic.

Despite the fact that our house came within 100 yards of the disastrous downhill flooding in July last year, they declared us to be a "no flood risk" address and actually gave us a marginally lower premium than the previous year. Their website is: www.naturesave.co.uk and their phone number is 01803 864390.

From Paul Rigg

Thursday, 29 August 2013

I am told by several insurers that they are spending a lot of resources being more accurate about the properties that they wish/don't wish to insure.

This will mean that if you live at the top end of a street and the bottom end floods you should be able to get insurance. However if you have been the victim of flooding yourself it (probably) won't help at all.

Salvation will be on the way when the government scheme starts in around 2015, which should make the competitive market available again. The scheme will involve everyone paying a flat fee on their house insurance to cover the costs of flood claims, However this will not apply to properties built since 2009.

As a partially relevant point I note that some new houses are being built at Hawksclough on the Blenders and Silverers site. I don't know who will insure them there! They will not be eligible for any government scheme as they will be too new.

I would urge anyone who cannot, for whatever reason get any insurance for flood to not have any at all. House insurance does cover many other risks including fire, theft and storm damage and you can get insurance that excludes flood, but includes these important other risks.

From Emma S

Sunday, 1 September 2013

According to this insurers have to provide insurance for those in flood risk areas. I'm not sure how this works in practice though, and it sounds like many people are being refused insurance regardless of this.

I would urge anyone who is having problems with insurance post flooding to contact the Calder Valley Flood Victims group on Facebook - here. There is a wealth of support and advice available on there.

I flooded on July 8th 2012. I was dreading getting my house insurance renewal but weirdly it arrived through the post with no quibbles and with only a reasonable premium hike (given the size of the claim for post-flooding repairs). Seems so random who is refused and who is not.

From Paul D

Thursday, 5 September 2013

The flat rate is actually a surcharge that makes stupid people less likely to realise that if they live on the bottom of say Oxford street, say 25 yards from a river, their feet might get wet occasionionally.

The majority bail out the minority again but let's not assume any risk to living on the damper side of the Pennies, in a narrow steep valley, where 4 rivers meet in little over a mile, where neglect of field and other drains increase flash floods and then let's not expect our lower lying property to cost more to insure.

Many of the level bits of the town are built on a flood plain, reclaimed land - the redan. A flat rate surcharge can't mask that. Engineering is the solution here as it always has been. But who pays for that is also an issue. The surcharge just funds a reluctance to address the real issues - letting the river flood for example.

From Graham Barker

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Has Paul forgotten what happened here last July, or more recently in Walsden? Flood water coming downhill can cause just as much damage as flood water rising out of a river, so properties on hillsides are by no means free of risk. And when you get exceptional very local concentrations of rain, flooding can happen anywhere. One way of another, most properties in Britain are at some risk of flooding, so a surcharge on everyone's insurance seems quite a fair way of spreading the burden.

From Paul Rigg

Friday, 6 September 2013

One of the principles of insurance is that the many pay towards the claims of a few. If that was not the case the system would break down.

The problem has been that there has been more flooding in the last few years all over the UK and the cost of paying for such claims has drastically increased.

There are many risks covered on a household policy and flooding is just one. Some who live in the valley bottom could argue that they are subsidising the storm damage claims of those who live higher up. Houses adjacent to the main road are more likely to be run in by an HGV or other vehicle and demolished. All these risks are insured and have to be assessed by insurers when calculating a premium.

From Paul D

Saturday, 14 September 2013

It's right that those who are at more risk pay more. A 17 year old driver may well be more competent than me, but collectively 17 year olds crash more than my age cohort. Insurance for houses near rivers is rightly going up. The plan to hide the obvious is just silly.

From Susan Quick

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Dealing with my insuers was far more stressful than hauling computers and office equipment out of a rapidly filling cellar. I thought the Co-op was an ethical provider. Yes they did cover most of the loss, but I had to take them to the Financial Ombudsman. They reneged on what was agreed by their adjudicator. £200 is small, but significant when you are trying to reconstruct your home. The ombudsman found in my favour and the Co-op gave me a gift of £200 on top of the £200 owed.

A few months earlier, my insurance had come up for renewal, so I sent them a cheque for the premium less the £200 they owed me. They didn't bother to tell me they hadn't banked my cheque. I was uninsured for 6 months.

My bank, NatWest, were happy to insure my house, no problem that it had been flooded. They even offered a third discount on my first year, assuring me that I they were always there - come and talk to us if you've need advice.