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By Earl Russell
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Flood Victims Who Protect Their Homes Will Get Cheaper Insurance, Minister Announces

3 min read

Flood victims who protect their homes to withstand rising water in the future could get cheaper insurance premiums under new plans released by the Environment Secretary.

Writing for The House, George Eustice said that as well as announcing an £860 million investment in 1,000 flood defences across England, which will include flood-stricken Hebden Bridge, the government and insurance industry scheme Flood Re will be adapted to give homes greater protections when they are rebuilt after storm and water damage.

These improvements will then drive down insurance costs for customers, Eustice said.

“We are now making changes to allow insurers to help flooded households to make their homes more resilient to future flooding. That could include using products such as air brick covers, flood doors and flood resistant plasterboard, helping homes build back better from flooding incidents,” he said.

“Households will also benefit from discounted insurance premiums if they have resilience measures installed.”

Flash flooding in London this month and the damage caused by Storm Christoph in January are just two incidents that reflect a pattern of more extreme weather, the minister said.

Despite progress in widening insurance options for people who have been flooded – up to 350,000 people now have access to cover – the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it will continue to try and help people excluded by their policies.

This drive to improve access to insurance comes after the Independent Review of Flood Insurance carried out by Amanda Blanc in the wake of the devastating flooding in Doncaster in 2019 found that a proportion of residents did not have flood cover in their building and contents insurance, in some cases there was also a poor understanding of insurance policies, and that the premiums for flood cover were too expensive, even if it was a Flood Re backed scheme.

Eustice said: “Prior to Flood Re just 9% of policy holders with a prior flood claim could obtain flood insurance quotes from two or more insurers and no one in that situation could get quotes from five or more. Following the Scheme’s launch in 2016, access to flood insurance policies for those with prior flood claims has increased dramatically and around 96% of customers can now get five or more quotes.

“We are working with industry to encourage them to reduce flood exclusions through a new industry-led Code of Practice.”

The minster suggested that climate change will mean more extreme weather for the country, including a higher risk of flooding and coastal erosion, and there are still concern that people in the private rented sector often do not have the right kind of insurance.

A cross-government working group is now being set up to try and get more renters to take out insurance that covers flooding.

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