What is flood insurance and how does it work?
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Flood insurance is generally attached to home and contents insurance either as an add-on or an included form of cover. It's designed to cover you for repairing and replacing your home and contents when they're damaged by a flood.
Every insurer has its own list of what does and does not qualify as flood damage, so it's vital that you check your insurer's policy before purchasing it to see what's included.
Compare house and contents insurance with flood cover
What is considered "flood damage"?
In the world of insurance, a flood is only classed as a flood if the water escaped from a watercourse, such as a lake, river, dam or reservoir, and has caused damage to your home and property.
What does flood insurance cover?
Flood insurance is designed to protect your home from a sudden deluge of water that happens unexpectedly. That said, the definition of a flood varies from policy to policy and you aren't guaranteed to be covered simply because your house was damaged by water.
Cover goes towards paying for the repair or replacement of your home and/or contents, up to your policy limit. For example:
- Structural work to repair a flooded foundation.
- Replacement for your television set that was damaged by flood water seeping into its electronics.
- Temporary accommodation while your house is being repaired.
What type of floods are covered?
While the exact types of floods covered in your policy will depend on your insurer, the following table should give a general idea of whether a particular flood type is usually covered. Check your specific policy documents to see what level of cover you have.
|Type of flood||Does flood insurance cover it?|
|Water escaping from natural courses like rivers, creeks and water catchment systems.||Most likely|
|Sudden water run-off from a storm, including overflowing storm drains and creeks.||Most likely|
|Escaped liquid and water from burst pipes or overflowing sinks, baths, etc.||Most likely|
|Tsunami waves from a volcanic eruption or an earthquake.||Unlikely|
|Action of the sea, including high tides, king tides or the rise and fall of ocean levels.||Unlikely|
|Man-made flooding (from a broken storm drain or non-natural sewer backup).||Unlikely|
How much is home insurance with flood cover?
|Brand||Policy name||Yearly cost with flood cover||Yearly cost without flood cover||Difference||Apply|
|Smart Home & Contents||$1,665.76||$1,498.10||$167.66||Get quote|
|Virgin Home & Contents||$1,682.42||$1,513.09||$169.33||Get quote|
|Home Insure Plus Home & Contents||$1,682.44||$1,513.09||$169.35||More info|
|Home & Contents||$2,137.43||$2,114.19||$23.24||More info|
|Essential Care||$1,981.72||Not an option||n/a||Get quote|
|Essential Care||$1,981.72||Not an option||n/a||Get quote|
|Essential||$1,943.25||Not an option||n/a||More info|
How important is flood insurance?
Hundreds of thousands of Australians live in flood-prone areas. If you're one of them, it might be worth investing in flood cover. According to our research, it only costs a little bit more than a normal policy.
If you're not sure whether your property is at risk of flooding, your local council should be able to help, and may even be able to provide you with flood maps for the area. You can also check the government's Flood Risk Information Portal, which helps people understand the flood risks of their local area.
If you decide that you don't need flood insurance, but it comes as standard with your home insurance policy, it may be worth contacting your insurance provider to see if you can opt-out of the cover. In some cases, this will reduce your premium.
How do I find the best flood insurance?
While there is no such thing as a universally "best" policy that works for everyone, you can find a policy that works well for you by doing the following:
Compare your options
Compare the features of different home insurance policies.
Check the exclusions
Watch out for things like tsunami exclusions if you live near the ocean.
Contact your insurer
Got any questions? Your insurer can probably answer them.
How do I find the cheapest flood insurance?
Purchasing cheap flood insurance offers the same risks as purchasing cheap home and contents insurance, since flood cover is usually attached. Underinsuring your home and contents with a cheap policy means that your policy may not pay out enough to cover any damage, leaving you with a large bill.
The policy may also have narrower definitions of a flood, or a larger number of exclusions. For example, some policies offer cover for damage from earth movement or subsidence that occurs within 72 hours of a storm or heavy rain, but as a rule, cheaper policies will have fewer inclusions.
Flood insurance will, of course, be cheaper the lower your insurer judges your risk of flood to be, too.
What isn't covered by flood insurance?
Common exclusions for flood insurance (beyond what type of flood is covered) are:
- Damage within a certain period after purchasing the policy (for example, 3 to 7 days).
- Damage to things outside of your home, like walls, paths, driveways and gardens.
- Subsequent loss such as business losses due to being unable to access the damaged property.
- Some insurers will let you adjust the amount of flood damage cover you have to help lower your premiums. This is good for getting a cheaper policy, but just make sure you don't underinsure your home and valuables.
How different brands define flood insurance
How do I know if I'm in a flood zone?
You can contact your local council or talk to your insurer. They should both be able to let you know if you're in a flood zone. You can also enter your details into the Australian Flood Risk Information Portal, which will give you a breakdown of risk within your local area.
Does car insurance cover flood damage?
Flood cover is included in most comprehensive car insurance policies. Like home insurance, if you keep your car in an area that is prone to flooding, your premiums might be higher.
There is also likely to be a waiting period, which means you won't be covered for any flood damage that occurs within the first few days after purchasing your policy, although the exact time period varies between insurers.
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