All of us dream of living by the coast.
Stunning views across the sea, running down to the beach in the morning and the feeling of always being on holiday.
Owning a coastal home may be idyllic, but it comes with added environmental risks.
For example, did you know that an estimated 5 million people in the UK live in area considered a flood risk with a large amount of these houses located near the coast.
If you live near the coastline then a standard home insurance policy may leave you exposed and it may be time to think about tailoring your cover with bespoke coastal insurance.
Keep reading to find out everything about coastal insurance in the UK and how best to protect your home from the risks of living by the sea.
What is Coastal Insurance?
Coastal insurance is a dedicated home insurance policy or added clauses and cover for property near the coast.
Often, houses near the coast have extra risks compared to property further inland.
Adding coastal insurance to your home insurance helps to protect your property from damage caused by hurricanes, high winds, named storms, flooding, subsidence and even erosion.
Specific coastal insurance policies are not always that common in the UK and most people make sure their regular home insurance covers the extra risks of living on the coastline.
Why Do I Need Coastal Insurance?
It is a good idea to get the correct home insurance for your property if you live near the coast.
If you are new to living on the coast then you may not realise how at-risk your property can be.
Houses within 2 miles of the sea are more vulnerable to storms, rising sea levels and erosion.
You’re very likely to live near a natural watercourse whether it is the sea or rivers flowing into the ocean.
Normal home insurance may not always cover you fully for all the risks of living on the coastline and some insurers may not even sell you a policy due to added risk.
While home insurance with extra coastal cover can be more expensive, the premiums will certainly be cheaper than paying for damage or complete loss of your home.
Unforeseen weather elements, storms, floods and changing sea level makes it an unpredictable place to live.
Best Companies for Home Insurance by the Coast
John Lewis has held the trust of British consumers for over 150 years. The company is heralded for its superior customer service and ethical values in delivering household products. John Lewis now also offers a range of financial products and services including insurance. They create an attractive proposition for home insurance with competitive policies backed by a history of strong customer service. Their selection of policies are carefully selected, ensuring you receive everything you would expect from a John Lewis product.
Digging a little deeper into John Lewis’ insurance policies continues to paint a good picture. TrustPilot reviews referring to insurance are generally glowing with comments about amazing customer service and the ability to deal with complex requests.
The customer service team is active online replying to reviews which is always a good sign of attentive service. Plus complaints only seem to be about ‘overpriced’ policies but when it comes to insurance, cheapest does not mean best.
“As always really helpful staff who help and direct the customer in getting the right home insurance for their property” – YogiC
Adding to this an easy to use, clean and clear website makes quotes and buying policies painless.
John Lewis bringing its excellent reputation to home insurance!
Admiral insurance is approaching 3 decades in business since its launch in 1993 and has grown to become one of Britain’s biggest insurance providers. Generally, it is well known for car insurance but the company is also renowned for top quality home insurance. You can even mix home and car insurance policies for one simple solution.
When it comes to insurance, Admiral simply aims to provide great customer service at great value to its customers.
What I like about Admiral is the quick and easy nature of buying policies via the website, including if you live near a water source or a risky area. On TrustPilot the service hits just nearly 4 / 5 stars with very few ‘customer service’ complaints. Most frustrations seem to be that quotes appear cheaper via price comparison sites like GoCompare and Confused. I guess the lesson is to always shop around!
Customer service does seem a little lighter and robotic than competitors although there are not many complaints about it either. It’s a good option for straight forward house insurance policies although the company feels a little robotic and automated with less focus on human care and relationships. A trustworthy, experienced name in the industry nonetheless.
LV= is another leading UK financial services provider including a wide range of mainstream insurance policies. Having served millions of customers across the nation they have developed an industry leading reputation for insurance products including home, pet, travel and life.
A glowing rating on TrustPilot stands out from the crowd with a staggering 4.7/ 5 from 22,000+ reviews. The top rating I’ve found which puts them firmly in the list of best. Elsewhere around the web they top lists of home insurers.
Customers rave about LV=’s best prices, efficient service and easy to use website. All the ingredients of a great insurance provider.
The established company aims simply to be Britain’s best loved. It seems it’s well on the way to being this with award winning customer service that’s even rated as the number 1 customer service for insurance according to The Institute of Customer Service.
What Does Coastal Insurance Cover?
Take the time to read what your home insurance policy covers and if there is enough protection to the risks you may face. When buying a policy ensure you are covered for:
- High winds
- Erosion (if this is a risk)
If your home is at risk from erosion this is not often covered by normal providers and you should seek expert advice from a broker to find you the right coastal insurance policy.
Be sure to pick a reputable trustworthy provider that is registered with the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Plus think about what else you need and your financial situation.
How much does the policy cover for a full reconstruction of your home? This is generally not the market value of your home but the lesser reconstruction amount.
Are you covered if you need to relocate into temporary accommodation due to loss of use of your home?
Does the policy cover loss of land and outbuildings or is it just the main house structure?
It’s not a nice thought, but you need to think about what happens if you lose your home completely from rising sea levels or erosion.
What’s often covered:
- Subsidence or heave of the land on which the buildings stand, or landslip (Not erosion)
- Falling trees or branches
- The cost of alternative accommodation
- Storm and wind damage
What’s not always covered:
(You should seek expert advice/broker for these risks)
- Erosion from the sea or watercourse
- Damage caused by storm to fences, gates and hedges
- Damage to any extra buildings except the home unless pre-agreed
Along with insuring your home, you should also think about the content – all your belongings.
Let’s imagine your property is flooded and all of your furniture is ruined, your TV is bust and the kitchen needs replacing.
What cover do you have? This depends on whether you’ve selected ‘New for old’ or ‘indemnity cover’.
New for old – If your belongings are destroyed your insurer will replace all damaged items with brand new equivalent items.
Indemnity – Indemnity only covers items to their value prior to the damage. This means if you have a TV costing £1000 to replace but the old one only had a value of £200, you’ll only get what the old one was worth (£200)
What About Coastal Erosion?
Coastal erosion is a growing concern for many people around the UK.
The thought of your home slipping off the edge into the sea is terrifying. Many insurers see this a very real risk, so much so that they won’t cover this on your home insurance.
The Environmental Agency forecasts that 7000 homes worth over a billion pounds could disappear into the ocean by the end of the century.
Rate of erosion changes around the coastline with some properties having just a few years left while others may be creeping towards a cliff edge in the coming decades.
Happisburgh in Norfolk is said to be the most at-risk area of coastal erosion in England.
The government is working to try and protect the coastline with sea walls but the risk is still a problem for many.
So if you live somewhere like this, you might be wondering what you should do?
When taking out a policy be sure to check the wording carefully to see whether you are covered.
Most normal home insurance policies don’t cover damage from erosion so you should seek expert help from a broker.
How Much Should I Tell My Insurer?
This is one of the most important factors in insuring your coastal home.
It can be tempting to bend the truth or leave out certain details when buying insurance.
Yes, it may reduce your premiums but remember you won’t be fully covered.
Things you need to truthfully tell your insurer:
- How close you live to water
- Flooding history
- Storm damage history
- Possible erosion
- Other risks
What To Look For In An Insurer?
The biggest tip when choosing an insurance policy is to look a little deeper than the price.
Always look for a company with great customer service with a trustworthy reputation.
This will make your life a lot easier when it comes to making claims and alterations to your coastal insurance. Pick a company you can rely on when you need it the most.
Take the time to do your due diligence. Read online reviews and ratings plus look at forums like Moneysvaingexpert for advice.
How much does it cost?
All manner of factors affect the price of a home insurance policy if you live on the coastline, it is hard to put an exact figure on it as each case is different.
Things affecting the price include:
- Property value
- Land value
- Flood zones
- Flood defences
- Area of the UK
Naturally, some areas carry more risks than others.
If you want to know if you live in a particularly high-risk area then you can check out a great article Living On The Edge which details houses most in danger of future flooding and erosion around the UK.