Insurers have poured cold water on suggestions by online intermediary Screentrade that they are turning away business in flood-hit areas.

During phone and online research by Screentrade, Norwich Union, Direct Line, Halifax and Eagle Star all declined to quote on several properties with recent flood claims of £5,000 or more.

However, only Norwich Union later admitted that it could not guarantee cover for properties in flood-risk areas.

Direct Line said it would continue to insure existing customers in flood-risk areas, but would not take on new customers.

“It is true to say that if a home had been damaged by floods we probably wouldn't be able to offer cover,” said a spokeswoman.

Eagle Star insisted it would continue to insure existing customers in flood-hit areas. But a spokeswoman conceded that the terms of their policies would probably change following a claim.

“If a new customer came to us with a claim of £5,000 in the past three years we would not insure them. It has been our policy for a number of years,” she said.

However, Halifax said Screentrade had drawn the wrong conclusion from the research. It said new customers would not automatically be excluded if they had had an isolated flood claim.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) denied that it would lead to price hikes if customers were forced to stick with their existing insurance company.

“In some areas, premiums will go up because the risk appears to be increasing,” said the ABI's Suzanne Moore.

But she said other areas that had always been at risk of flooding might not be particularly affected by rises in premiums.

Screentrade tried and failed to get insurance for properties in the following postcodes:

  • DN6 9DG – Norton, Yorkshire
  • ME18 6JS – Yalding, Kent.
  • OL14 5BZ – Todmorton, Yorkshire
  • OX16 0SX – Banbury, Oxfordshire
  • PL15 8BA – Launceston, Cornwall
  • TQ5 9EG – Brixham, Devon
  • YO41 1PX – Stamford Bridge, Yorkshire.

    A spokeswoman for Norwich Union denied that a particular postcode would exclude cover. “We review premiums on an individual basis,” she said.

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