Will Home Insurance Cover Me if There’s a Flood in My Area?
Caeva O'Callaghan | June 3rd, 2020
If you’re worried about flooding, you need to make sure you have the appropriate cover in place. Flooding causes a lot of damage, and many insurers don’t include it if you live in an area where flooding is common.
It all depends on whether you have flood cover on your policy. Most home insurance policies have flood cover as standard, but this isn’t always the case. You may find your insurance won’t cover you for floods if you live in an area which is prone to flooding, such as on the coast or a river plain.
Not only that, but if you’ve had a flood in the past, it’s likely your insurance won’t cover you.
In this article, we’ll answer questions like:
- Will my home insurance cover me if there’s a flood?
- What do I do if a flood affects my home?
- How do I protect my home against flooding?
If you take precautionary measures to protect your home from flooding, your insurance will look favourably on your case. However, if there’s a large amount of damage, you need to take plenty of photographs and perhaps hire a loss assessor.
Am I covered for flood damage?
It all depends on where you live. A recent study by location intelligence company Gamma shows that over 60,000 homes in Ireland are at risk of flooding. Most of the causes can be narrowed down to climate change.
This means floodplains are becoming more common. And, in many cases, insurers will refuse to cover homes for flood damage in areas that are considered to be on a floodplain.
Unfortunately, this could affect you even if your home has never flooded before. If you live close to an area which is prone to flooding, this may affect your insurance cover. Ask your neighbours – in living memory, have any of their houses flooded? If so, you may be refused cover, even if yours hasn’t.
The bottom line is, check with your insurance provider and read your policy carefully. This is not a matter they’ll be vague about. All insurance companies have “flood mapped” the country and are very clear, at quotation and renewal stage, who they provide with flood cover and who they leave out.
Insurance providers narrow this down street by street, and flood cover can even change from house to house on the same street. For example, if you live on Main Street, Blackrock, Co. Louth, no insurance company in Ireland will cover you for flood. However, if you live on Sun Drive Avenue, it depends on which insurer you have as to whether you have the cover or not.
Your best option is to consult a broker who can advise you and give you a range of quotes and cover options on one single phone call.
How to prevent flooding
The best cover, of course, is never to need it in the first place. Insurers will like it if you take measures to protect your home against flooding, a risk which is fairly predictable. At certain times of year or during certain weather conditions, there are many things you can do to protect your home against floods.
Firstly, invest in some good sandbags. Placing these in doorways and around the perimeter of your home will stop most water from entering. Apply coatings and sealants to windows and doors, and maintain these regularly. Watertight seals will help stop water creeping in and doing more damage.
You might want to consider raising your electrical outlets and switches if you live in a flood prone area. If water reaches your electrics, it could be very costly to repair.
Also, you may not be able to raise your house on stilts, but mindful landscaping can help keep the water running away from your home. Avoid your home being in a dip by grading lawns away from the house, and employ raised beds where you can in a defensive perimeter.
Lastly, take measures to protect your contents. Don’t store valuable or sentimental items on the ground floor or basement. If flooding is likely, move furniture and appliances upstairs as much as is practical.
What do I do if my home floods?
Well, before it does, you need to have checked if you have flood cover. If you do, that’s good news. But if you don’t, your local government officials may be able to help.
Insurance Ireland signed a memorandum of understanding with the Office of Public Works. This is a commitment by the Insurance Industry to maintain or extend flood insurance over in defended areas.
If the council installs flood defences on your property, your insurance provider may extend flood cover to you. But, if your home floods and your insurance won’t cover it, you’ll need to find a way of paying for repair or replacement of anything that’s damaged.
Take photographs of all the damage, as soon as you can. You can’t take too many photographs. Store them securely, and back them up online, just in case. Then, find and contact a loss assessor. These professionals work on your behalf to maximise your claim, and make sure you get as fair a deal as possible.
If you have any questions regarding flood cover call us today!
If you are unsure about flood cover and whether your property or a house you are thinking of buying is prone to floods, phone us anytime and talk to our team of house insurance experts. We can advise you on whether flood cover will or will not be an issue for your property. You can contact us between 8.30am and 5.30pm Mon-Fri on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.
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