Could your flood insurance be about to get better - and cheaper?
Last week, hundreds of homes were affected by flooding thanks to Storm Christoph, while many people are still dealing with the aftermath of Storm Bella that hit the UK on Boxing Day.
With climate change making flooding a more frequent event, the costs involved in the clear-up are eye-watering. Water damage is devastating for homeowners and so the Government is now looking into the possibility of discounting insurance premiums for people who install flood resilience measures in their homes. These could include things like flood barriers, air brick covers, raised electrical sockets and flood resistant coatings on walls.
The aim is for people with insured properties that are hit by flooding not only to be able to claim for the damage caused, but for them to receive extra money so they can make their homes more resilient in future.
The government-backed Flood Re scheme reduces the cost of home insurance by taking on the flood risk element and charging a set premium to households based on council tax bands. Since it was launched in 2016, the scheme reports that four out of five households which had previously claimed on their insurance for flood damage have seen their insurance premiums cut by more than half. So the scheme is working well – but not for everyone. A resent independent review, commissioned by the government, suggest that even the cheapest subsidised premiums for contents insurance, set at around £52 a year, could still be too high for households on low incomes.
So the Government is consulting on a number of proposed changes. These include:
- The ability for Flood Re to offer discounted premiums to households that have fitted property flood resilience measures, such as airbrick covers or non-return valves
- Permitting the payment of claims to include an additional amount to build back better, in a more flood resilient way
- Exploring whether there’s more that the Flood Re scheme could do to accelerate uptake of PFR, including whether the scheme’s currently available funding could contribute
- Exploring whether Flood Re premiums should be further reduced
- Technical changes to improve the scheme’s efficiency
Of course flood protection isn’t just about keeping properties insured and making them more resilient. So in tandem with the Flood Re consultation, a new Call for Evidence has also been published today, looking at ways to improve the effectiveness of investment in flood and coastal defences. Getting the real life experiences of local communities that are frequently flooded will be key to making the right improvements in the right places.
Author : Maryanne Bowring
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