Landlords: Is your buy-to-let property in a high-risk flood area? Check your insurance

Insurance comparison website, Quotezone, is warning that some policies may be invalidated if an investment property is damaged by flooding and the landlord has not previously logged it as being a flood risk: not all policies have this expectation, but some do.  

With the bad weather that we are all familiar with at this time of the year, and the bouts of rain we’ve experienced over previous days and weeks, including Storm Christoph, which has wreaked havoc in parts of England and Wales – it’s more important than ever to ensure your buy to let investment property is covered by your insurance policy for flooding if you are at high risk. 

 

What counts as being located in a high-risk area? 

Your property is classed as being on a floodplain and is therefore high risk if it's adjacent to a river, canal or shore that’s prone to flooding. This often makes it extremely difficult to find a home insurance policy at a cheap price and some insurers may even refuse to insure your property. 

Quotezone have advised that if your house is located within 400 metres of a river, stream or coastline, you will need to have informed your insurance provider.  Even if you’ve never experienced flooding yourself. 

You can check out an online flood map from the UK government to check your property’s level of flood risk before you take out buildings insurance or building and contents insurance. 

 

I’ve never experienced flooding before – does this matter? 

It is possible that insurance providers might class your house as a ‘flood-risk property’ even if you’ve never experienced flooding yourself.  

One of the reasons for this could be because other people in your area have claimed for flood damage in the past, and that type of historical claims data can affect insurance premium calculations for nearby properties. 

However, even if neither you nor your neighbours have experienced flooding in the past, if your home is built on a floodplain, insurance providers will still view the property as a significantly higher insurance risk, and their premiums will almost always be higher to reflect this. 

Are there other factors that could make the insurance cheaper? 

The cost of home insurance with flood cover varies, depending on how close you live to water. According to comparison website, Go Compare, the average annual cost of home insurance for those within 150 metres of water is £182. Homes over 400 metres away pay £157 on average. 

You might be able to get cheaper quotes if measures are taken to reduce to the possibility of water entering your home.  

For example, many insurers do take into account extra measures that are put in place to prevent flooding such as anti-flood doors and other permanent flood defence features, provided they meet the appropriate industry standards, have been installed by an industry professional and have been appropriately maintained. 

 

Tenants  

Your tenants’ possessions won’t be covered by your contents insurance; your tenants need to take out their own insurance if they want to protect their things. 

You can also choose to add loss of rent cover to your policy. This can cover your lost rent if your tenants have to move out because of an insured event like a flood. 

Should you want to set up these covers, it might be worth combining them all into one single landlord insurance policy.