October 2, 2014
2,800% hike in home insurance cost due to 'flood risk' stuns resident

A West Huntspill resident has been left stunned after his home contents insurance quote came in almost 2,800 per cent higher than last year because his property is deemed to be at a 'high risk' of flooding.

John Bowden received a quote of a whopping £6,144.42 when he received his home contents insurance renewal documents - up from just £220.18 the year before.

John, pictured, told "I am shocked to have received this because the village hasn’t been flooded here for 35 years and even then it was nothing like last winter's floods on the Somerset Levels, which are miles away."

"It seems to me that some 'suit' in London simply saw Somerset on my address and wants to reduce their risk by not insuring people here regardless of where we actually live."

John added: "When I contacted Lloyds Bank's insurance company, Legal & General, to check whether there had been a mistake, they told me there hadn't - they say West Huntspill is deemed to be a flood risk area even though it doesn't flood here."

"We've since approached a local insurance company instead and they have actually insured us for less than the £220.18 we paid last year! They understand that the risk here is low."

However, John warned: "It's easy to simply renew home insurance policies without properly reading them. Fortunately, we spotted the 2,800% increase and I would advise people to double check their quotes and then shop around locally for a more competitive quote."

"Elderly people, in particular, may not notice. My elderly mother-in-law read the letter and thought we'd been quoted £614.44 rather than £6,144.42. She misread it the first time, which goes to show how it is easy it is to miss."

John says he is also concerned that national insurers may not offer insurance policies in some areas if the practice continues in the future.

"It worries me that every time one insurer does this and people move to other cheaper providers, they in turn see the area as a greater financial risk to them because of the numbers of policy holders and that could unfairly harm the village."

In a statement, Legal & General said: "When calculating premiums for our policies we utilise a combination of our claims experience in each postcode area as well as comprehensive geographical information collected from various external agencies."

Meanwhile, the Association of British Insurers is working on a new scheme to help people who see their home and contents insurance premiums soar as a result of flooding. Bridgwater MP Ian Liddell-Grainger is also taking up the matter.


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