Flood victims can't afford home insurance after quoting "astronomical" costs – WalesOnline

Flood victims in Pontypridd could not afford home insurance after "astronomical prices" were called after storm Dennis.

Many residents have only just recovered from the damage caused by the heavy rains and floods in February 2020 almost a year and a half later.

But now they are facing another blow as they say they cannot afford home insurance as the companies give them "astronomical" prices for flood insurance or offer them no flood protection at all in case it happens again.

This means local residents have no choice but to forego home insurance or flood protection once they have found an affordable premium – which remains essential after the events of February last year.

Read more: The cause of the Treherbert floods during Storm Dennis has been revealed

Sion Street after the River Taff during Storm Dennis. has blown its banks

Caroline Hughes, 58, owns two properties on Sion Street in Pontypridd. Both houses were heavily flooded after Storm Dennis.

The two buildings were insured with the same company for the same premium, but only paid for the damage to one. The company paid more than £ 38,000 in damages when the entire first floor of a property up to the fourth flight of stairs was completely flooded.

It took over a year for one of Caroline Hughes' properties to look like home again after the flood

The damage to the property was "devastating," said Caroline. The walls were chopped off and new moisture protection installed, and all of the electrical and plumbing work was renewed.

"The water ran up to the fourth step of the stairs, it was awful, everything downstairs was a drain," said Caroline.

But due to an endorsement in the fine print of one property, Caroline had to pay the bill for her second property, which was to be dried off with industrial heating and replaced with the electrics and kitchen – something she said she said was almost financially ruined.

Caroline said, “The two lots were flooded so badly. If that happened again it would ruin me financially, I can't afford to do it again.

"If it happens again, I have it, it would be devastating. I can't afford to go through what I went through after the floods, but this time with both houses. At least one of them" was last time insured."

The damage to Caroline's property is "devastating, if that happened again it would ruin me financially, I can't afford to do it again."

The floods have left a trail of destruction causing thousands of pounds in damage, but now many residents are being denied flood protection because they requested the flood in February 2020 after Storm Dennis

As a landlord, Caroline has always hired an insurance broker to get her the best deals on her homes. Since the floods, however, it has been impossible to take out sensible household insurance that also includes flood protection.

Caroline said: “I had to insure one property with no flood protection and another that was found to be impossible to get insurance at all, £ 15,000 deductible which is completely ridiculous.

"After you submit an application, you're done, then you can't get flood protection insurance. Even if I couldn't make a claim on one property, it's the same situation because you look at the zip code and it will be the same for the next five years.

"The insurance brokers said that the insurers only offer me insurance without flood protection at astronomical prices, but that is of no use to me."

Sion Street residents move in together and help each other as best they can during Storm Dennis

Leah Arundel-Daly from Nantgarw was also affected by the flood from Storm Dennis. The repairs to her home took over 10 months.

She said, "My entire first floor was damaged by flooding, I had written off two cars. All the furniture on the first floor was lost, the kitchen and bathroom were torn out, the plaster was removed from the wall up to about 1.5 meters, front and back rear doors changed, all floors including stair carpets removed.

“There were definitely sleepless nights.

In some houses in Nantgarw. the water rose to the window sill

"Since then, we've had to pay out of pocket to install flood gates, check valves and self-sealing waterstones at a cost of £ 2,000."

Leah had offers twice what she paid before the floods and said she has since learned to make sure she read the fine print on insurance policies to see what they contain and if the contract has any clauses .

She said, “It's just another source of constant worry. My insurer refused to offer us coverage and we struggled to find an insurer willing to take us on.

“I was also furious that insurers are apparently trying to catch people with hidden terms. I've found numerous insurers saying flood insurance is included, but when I read the fine print I found that it was only included if the flood happened during what they define as a storm, that's really that unfair.

Two Leah Arundel-Daly cars were written off after the flood in February last year

"In the end I managed to get insurance, but the premium has increased significantly, which means that something else has to be sacrificed in order to be able to afford it."

Pontypridd MP Senedd Mick Antoniw and Alex Davies-Jones, MP from Pontypridd, are calling on the insurance industry to combat the rise in premiums after the floods.

Local residents turned to both parties, saying their home and home insurance premiums had increased by over 100%. One resident reported a premium increase of more than 400%.

Antoniw said, "The insurance industry as a whole needs to rethink its dealings with people who, in many cases, are long-term customers and who find that their insurers let them down when they need them most."

Ms. Davies-Jones said: “We are also very concerned that the majority of the people we have spoken to have reported that their insurers have not referred to the FloodRe program that the UK government and insurers are using the aim is to make flood protection more affordable, which is unacceptable.

“I addressed this directly to the flood minister and no action has yet been taken.

"For some residents, these enormous increases mean that they simply cannot afford the insurance cover and others get no insurance cover at all. The insurance industry must act fairly and strengthen itself and offer premiums that are affordable for everyone."

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Have you been affected by this problem? Send an email to morgan.hughes@walesonline.co.uk

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