Does your insurer pay out for flooding caused by groundwater? Unclear definitions in insurance policies are leaving householders in the dark over whether they’re actually covered for future flooding.
Around a quarter of the homes damaged by this year’s winter weather were flooded as a result of rising groundwater, according to the Environment Agency. But some Which? members have told us they fear their policies exclude flooding caused by groundwater. Concerns have also been raised in Parliament.
So we looked at the policy documents of the eight insurers our members told us about and found that many made no clear distinction between flooding from groundwater caused by severe weather, which generally is covered, and flooding caused by a sustained build-up of groundwater over time, which generally isn’t.
What insurers cover
Admiral and Esure all state simply that they won’t cover loss or damage ‘caused by rising groundwater levels’. The Co-operative Insurance and NFU Mutual exclude any flooding caused by ‘a gradual rise in the groundwater level’.
Aviva states it won’t cover flooding if it ‘happens gradually’, Ecclesiastical won’t cover ‘damage attributable solely to a change in the water table level’, and John Lewis excludes damage caused by ‘a rise in the water table’. Legal & General won’t cover loss or ‘damage caused by underground water’.
However, when we contacted these insurers, seven told us that they will cover claims arising from the recent winter floods. An eighth, Esure, said it would deal with claims on a case-by-case basis.
We think insurers should have clearer definitions in their policies so that you know exactly what you’re covered for when it comes to groundwater flooding. Do you think insurers need to be clearer about what they cover? Have you had to make an insurance claim due to floods?