Nila Sweeney

More insurers are now offering flood cover as an automatic part of their home and contents policies so make sure you’re covered.
 
Record floods in NSW and Queensland have dominated the news for the second summer in a row. The good news is that more insurers are coming to the party to offer flood cover as part of their home and contents packages. Here’s the current state of play.
 
Allianz and CGU have both introduced flood cover since last year’s Brisbane disaster and that means the majority of home and contents insurance policies now provide some flood cover. 
 
However, if you haven’t reviewed your policy for some time, it’s well worth checking where you stand.
 
 
The insurers who now cover flood are:
 
  • AAMI
  • Allianz
  • Apia
  • Australian Unity
  • bank SA
  • Bankwest
  • Bank of Queensland
  • CGU
  • GIO
  • IMB
  • NAB
  • NRMA
  • RAC
  • Real Insurance
  • St George
  • Suncorp
  • Westpac
Those who offer optional flood cover:
 
  • RAA
  • RACQ
  • SGIC
 
Flash flood only:
 
  • CBA
  • Citibank
  • QBE
The following insurers do not currently offer flood cover: Aon, Bendigo Bank, Catholic Church Insurances, Elders, RACV, Youi
 
Check definitions
 
Even if your insurer does cover flood, make sure you understand exactly how flood is defined. Across the Aussie insurance companies, there are diverse interpretations of what a flood actually is.
 
Most definitions begin with a phrase like “inundation of normally dry land” usually in reference to a water course. Some policies go as far as offering lists of what a water course can and can’t be. 
 
Some policy documents may also have a list of events that are not considered to be floods such as storm water run off, water from a tsunami, leaking froma fire hydrant or water main.
 
Companies that restrict their cover to flash flooding will usually only cover an event that occurred within 24 hours of a storm.
 
More comprehensive definitions may appear more restrictive but they can give you a clearer understanding of what is and is not covered, minimising any unpleasant surprises if you need to make a claim.
 
The important thing is to understand exactly what you are covered for. If you don’t understand the definition, seek written clarification from the insurer. Don’t accept verbal assurances that you will be protected.
 
Expect to pay more
 
Unfortunately flood cover comes at a price. You may have to pay an additional excess (ranging from $200 to $2,000) and/or a higher premium if your home is identified as being in a flood prone area.
 
Some insurers have flood waiting periods. Australian Unity has a no-exceptions waiting period of 30 days, for example.
 
What about other events?
 
Other ‘events’ that can be excluded by insurers might be tsunami, tidal waves, “actions or movements of the sea” and storm surge (particularly if it happens at the same time as a flood).
 
-- By Stephanie Hanna 
 

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