Saturday, 28 June 2008

Buildings insurance and flooding

My renewal date for home and contents insurance is looming so I thought I would look at the comparison site at to see what was currently available for the cover needed and at what price. Bearing in mind the horrendous floods in middle England last summer it isn't surprising that insurers are getting a bit cagey if you are on a flood plain. I expected a question about whether my property was in an area subject to flooding (it's not) but what took me slightly aback was the query - was I within 400 metres of water. In my case there is no doubt, I am less than that distance from the bank of the Tamar. However the river effectively runs through a gorge at this location and whereas some cottages right by the river have a history of being flooded the terrace of which my home is part most certainly doesn't. Even if something akin to the Asian tsunami was to sweep up the river tomorrow I think my feet would stay dry.

In this particular instance no less than 15 companies or brokers have turned me down because of the risk of flooding purely based it would seem on this arbitrary 400 metres. They could have all bid for my business without any enhanced risk whatsoever. I can understand some companies getting concerned as a result of the more extreme weather events of late but this 400 metres thing seems to have been plucked out of thin air and takes no account of local topography for instance. In fairness it's possible that the first part of my postcode, which covers all the village including the few homes flooded in the past, might also have been used in the assessment. Fortunately a number of other companies have come up with some quite good quotes, interestingly though the dearest was well over twice the cost of the cheapest.

On the subject of flooding a recent report on the floods almost 12 months ago points to various deficiencies and I was pleased to see the TV cameras returning to record the fact that there are still families cramped up in caravans and not yet being able to get back into their damaged homes. Like all disasters there is a blitz of media attention at the time of the event and during the immediate aftermath. Then it can all go quiet. If you, friends or relatives aren't directly affected then of course the continuing trauma for some is easily forgotten. So well done to the TV people for keeping us in the loop. Life is darn well short enough as it is so to have to effectively put your life on hold for a year or more must be pretty awful.

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