Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Flood Damage insurance

A letter received by a specialist insurance broker who deals a lot with insurance for properties in flood affected areas.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I just wanted to highlight the problems I have had now that my insurance has come up for renewal.

Last November, as people will remember, Cumbria suffered from severe flooding following extreme heavy rain. I live in Coniston and at the bottom of my garden there is an embankment which drops down to Church Beck. I am responsible for (own) the part of the beck which borders my garden and half way to the other side. During this period of wet weather the force of the water gouged out a hole in the embankment, taking away part of the retaining wall. On the positive side, there was no flooding whatsoever to my garden, and therefore my house, as the water level would still have had quite a way to rise.

I duly notified my insurance company who took the claim on board.

It is now nearly 12 months later and my policy was due for renewal on 6th September. The problems I have encountered are as follows:

* The work has still not been done. Last month the Environmental Agency finally granted permission to carry out temporary works (to stabilise the embankment against further damage over the winter) and permanent works to be undertaken next year when the beck will be more accessible.

* On 3rd August I received a letter from my insurance company informing me my policy is due for renewal in September and that I would continue to get excellent service if I renewed with them. Since I had this large claim with them and the fact that my premium had not increased, I decided without doubt to remain with them. On 27th August I then received another letter from them saying they were unable to invite me to renew with them as they required further information.

A new quotation would then be given, but due to my claims history all flood cover would be excluded. I rang them straight away although the information I gave them was really about my claims history. In fact the only history I had in all my years of household insurance was this outstanding one. The following week I was quoted a couple of pounds more for my annual premium but they still would not insure me against flood. The insurance company assured me I would have 14 days grace whilst deciding what to do but although I asked for this in writing, it never materialised.

* Whilst I appreciate that once the works are completed, the risk is very low as Coniston is in a low flood risk area (1 in 200 chance according to the Environmental Agency), I was not comfortable, especially with having the beck at the bottom of the garden. I rang a couple of Insurance companies I found on the internet but they did not want to know, especially since the claim was still outstanding. Time was running out.

* On 31st August I got a letter from my insurance company telling me that my policy had been cancelled.

* I therefore turned to the local Community Flood Committee who really have been instrumental in giving me a peace of mind I thought I would not get. They gave me the name of someone who may be able assist me to get insurance. In addition I spoke to several people who were members of the National Flood Forum and who were very supportive and helpful. I was informed that the Government had a Gentleman's Agreement with the Insurance Companies that flood cover would never be excluded from a policy.

* On 6th September, I spoke to this company and within 1/2 hour I had my cover for household insurance with no restrictions or loaded excess. Yes, I had to pay more, but not ridiculously so.

* I rang my original insurers and told them I had now been offered cover. I also reminded them of the Government Agreement mentioned earlier. They then came back to me and surprisingly offered to re-instate my policy at the previously quoted premium but with a £10,000 excess on flood cover. I declined !

I just wanted to reassure people who face this type of problem when their insurance does come up for renewal. There is help out there
Kind regards

J..... H.....
If you need insurance for fllod damaged property or property in an area that could be at risk to flood damage CLICK HERE

No comments: