28% of Homeowners Are Unsure if Insurance Covers Them for Flood Damage, New Research Reveals

In the past five years, British homes impacted by flooding spent almost £4,500, on average, to cover repairs.

New research from Comparethemarket reveals that more than one in 10 (15%) households have experienced flood damage. Impacted homes in Wales and London paid the most on repairs, spending on average over £9,700 and £9,100, respectively.

The research revealed that over a quarter (28%) of homeowners do not understand buildings and contents insurance policies and what these include.

Households that live near water were quoted, on average, £12 more on buildings and contents insurance in 2022 than those that live further away from water – a decrease from the £22 more quoted in 2021, according to data from Comparethemarket.

Households can sign up to receive flood warning alerts from Govuk when heavy rainfall is expected. Comparethemarket’s research has found that nearly seven in ten (68%) households have never signed up to receive alerts.

People can also check online to see whether they live in areas typically at high risk of flooding through the Government’s flood risk postcode checker. The research shows that more than one in five (22%) have never looked to see if they live in an area with a high risk of flooding.

Helen Phipps, director at Comparethemarket, said: “The Met Office predicts heavy snow and rain in parts of the UK this month. As this may cause some areas to be at risk of flooding, it is worrying to see over a quarter of homeowners do not understand what their buildings and contents insurance cover includes. With a fifth of homeowners also not knowing if they are in a high flood-risk area, there is a danger that some households are not sufficiently aware of the risks they are facing.”

Flood cover is typically included as standard in most buildings and contents insurance policies. However, there may be significant exclusions worth noting, depending on your level of cover. For example, most policies do not cover damage to things such as fences, gates and hedges.”

Households can take preventive measures to limit flood damage if necessary

  • Installing flood doors and raising electrical sockets.
  • Keeping a stash of bricks and pallets so that, in the event of a flood, you can raise furniture off the floor.
  • Having removable barriers and temporary seals for windows, doors and air vents.
  • Putting in one-way valves to toilets and pipes to prevent sewage from backing up into the house.
  • If a flood is imminent, move valuable personal belongings upstairs or put them in waterproof bags.
  • Getting water sensors that can detect rising water and pump and sump systems that drain water from below floor level quicker than it rises.
  • Landscaping your garden in a style that helps divert water from your property.
  • Rather than wood, use more flood-resistant materials, such as ceramic, stone, stainless steel and uPVC.