Making an insurance claim for flood damage

This advice applies to Scotland. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Wales

Starting a claim for flood damage

There's a guide outlining the process of making a claim for flood damage on the Association of British Insurers (ABI) website.

For general information on what you need to think about when making a claim on your insurance, read about making a claim on your insurance policy.

There are steps you can take to help with your claim for flood damage:

  • take photos of any damage to the structure of your property and its contents

  • write a detailed inventory - make a list of your home contents if you haven’t already

  • take a note of the reading on your electricity meter so you can claim back the running costs of commercial dryers

  • phone your insurer to start your claim as soon as possible - there are usually time limits

  • keep copies of any documents or pictures that you send to your insurer or get from them

  • ask for records of any calls made about your claim

  • tell your insurer if you're a vulnerable customer, for example because you're disabled or older - they might prioritise your claim

  • ask how long it will take to settle your claim.

What your insurer will do

There's a guide to how insurers should respond to flood damage on the Association of British Insurers (ABI) website.

Different insurers have different ways of dealing with building work and repairs. For example, your insurer might:

  • tell you a maximum sum of money (the 'settlement') that they're willing to pay out for the claim and leave you to organise cleaning and repairs within this amount

  • ask you to get quotes from builders - the insurer will then decide who to award the contract to

  • assign a person called a loss adjuster to organise the repairs and keep costs down for the insurer.

Read more about building work and repairs for flood damage.

During the assessment period of your claim, if you can't stay in your home, temporary accommodation will be organised. You should be kept informed of the progress of your claim.

Loss adjusters

Insurance companies employ loss adjusters to assess the damage and decide what will be paid for and how much will be paid. Usually loss adjusters try to reduce the cost of a claim.

You might have to negotiate with the loss adjuster to make sure you get a settlement amount that you're happy with. You should:

  • check the terms of your policy. For example, are you entitled to new for old? Make sure you get what you're entitled to

  • look for your own quotes for replacing damaged items with the same quality and spec

  • consider employing a loss assessor to represent your interests. This will cost extra. You can find a loss assessor on the Institute of Public Loss Assessors website

  • negotiate with the loss adjuster about the installation of flood resilient fixtures and fittings. You could argue that this will reduce the loss if the home is flooded again.

Check the settlement includes what is covered under your policy

You might want to make sure your settlement includes everything that's covered under your policy, such as:

  • the electricity running costs of commercial dryers

  • repairs to the garden or outbuildings

  • reimbursement for temporary accommodation.

Read more about home insurance for flooding for tips on checking your policy for exclusions.

Temporary accommodation

You might be able to stay in your home while building and repair work is happening, for example if you have habitable rooms upstairs and working gas and/or electricity. But you should think about whether you want to stay in the property while building work is under way.

If you can't stay in the property, your insurance company might organise temporary accommodation or reimburse you for temporary accommodation you've organised yourself. This might be a hotel initially and then rented accommodation in the longer term.

Ask your insurance company to provide you with a timetable for the repairs and an estimate of when you'll be able to go back to your home.

If you're older or disabled, you should be provided with accommodation that meets your needs - for example, wheelchair-accessible doorways.

While you're living in temporary accommodation, you could ask your local council to waive council tax on your flooded home until you're back in the property. You'll have to pay for council tax for the temporary accommodation.

If your claim is rejected

If you have problems making an insurance claim, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for help and advice.

Sometimes insurers reject a claim because the information you provided when they asked technical questions about your flood risk was incorrect.

For more information, see our advice on home insurance for flooding.

You can also read more about problems with an insurance claim and what to do if your insurer refuses your claim.

Next steps

Read our advice on building work and repairs for flood damage.