Flood victims could face 15% hike in home insurance premiums
Home insurance premiums for first time flood victims in Northern Ireland could increase by up to 15%, financial analysts warned.
This month water levels at Lough Neagh reached a 30-year high after heavy rain from storms Desmond, Eva and Frank.
Some families bought dinghies to get around and parts of Co Fermanagh and the area bordering Lough Neagh were among the hardest hit.
PwC insurance expert Mohammad Khan said: "For those who have been affected by flooding for the first time this winter and had not been flooded in the last few years, such as some areas of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, insurance premiums are likely to increase by between 0% and 15%, despite shopping around as insurers will now view them as living in an area at risk of flooding."
A special scheme known as Flood Re has been established to help minimise the increase in premiums and involves re-insuring of risk.
Mr Khan added: "For those not affected by this winter's flooding, competition between insurance companies for their business is increasing, meaning people can expect to renew their policies for lower premiums - by about 1% - 5% - if they shop around.
"For those affected by the floods, their premium is likely to depend on when their policy is due for renewal. If it's due for renewal before the Flood Re scheme starts operating in April this year then it is likely that their insurance premiums will increase.
"However, premiums are likely to fall again when they renew the following year, when they will be eligible under the Flood Re scheme.
"If a homeowner's premium is due for renewal after April and their home has been flooded regularly over the last few years, their insurance premium is likely to fall significantly due to Flood Re - for some people this could represent a substantial cut.