Every winter brings a degree of concern amongst the owners of static caravans for the battering that might be brought on by storms – for good reason, too, given the amount of damage that might be caused.
In an island nation such as Britain, and the number of rivers which might be swollen by torrential winter rains, damage – or indeed total loss – as a result of flooding is an ever-present concern for the owners of static caravans.
Examples of flood damage to static caravans may be legend, and are well illustrated by the experience of the static park at Golspie in the north of Scotland, which has been hit by floods in the successive winters of 2012/2013, 2013/2014 and suffered flooding as early as October in the build up to last winter (2014/2015).
The good news, however, is that you might still be able to arrange for cover of your static caravan against the risk of flooding, subject to a few simple and straight forward considerations:
Is it a material fact?
- a basic tenet of English law is that insurance contracts are based on the principle of “utmost good faith” (uberimae fidei to give it its formal Latin term);
- this requires the insured to declare at the outset – or subsequently, if the situation changes – any “material fact” likely to affect the risks that are insured;
- a material fact, in other words, is an event or information which makes a risk greater than usual;
- if the site on which your static caravan is pitched has been subject to flooding in the past, therefore, this is considered to be a material fact and must be disclosed to your insurer – if it is not, the insurer may claim a breach of your duty of utmost good faith and void any subsequent claim;
Does that mean any proposal for cover is going to be rejected if there has been flooding in the past?
- if you tell any existing or prospective insurer that there has been a problem with flooding in the past, it does not automatically follow that your application for cover is going to be declined;
- instead, the risk of it happening again is considered by the insurer and, if it is deemed necessary, an adjustment of the premiums payable may be made;
- different insurers are likely to adopt significantly different criteria when assessing the current risk;
- some providers may refuse to offer cover against flooding whereas others may;
- it is for just that reason you might want to consult a specialist provider of static caravan insurance – such as those of us here at Cover4Caravans;
- based on our intimate knowledge of the insurance market, we may be able to identify those insurers prepared to entertain cover for static caravans in areas vulnerable to flooding or to suggest those policies which might extend every other safeguard for your holiday home, with the exception of flood damage;
Assessing the risk
- naturally, some parts of the country might be more vulnerable to the possibility of flooding than others – even where there has been no apparent problem in the past;
- if you want to investigate the risks in any part of the country where your favoured static caravan park may be situated, a helpful and detailed resource is the scalable online map produced by the Environment Agency, showing risks to every part of the country from flooding either by rising sea levels or from rivers bursting their banks;
Is your static caravan park prepared?
- when choosing the site for your static caravan, you might want to investigate the extent to which the park’s management might be prepared for the risk of flooding;
- the government has published quite detailed guidance for static caravan park owners where there is any likelihood of flooding;
- in areas of known risk, for example, the park’s local authority licence might make specific provision for the management of flood risks, including the formulation of a flood plan and the display of flood warning notices at strategic points around the park;
- any such flood plan also needs to be incorporated into the management’s overall site plan, so as to show such important information as gas and electricity isolation points (so they can be turned off in an emergency), assembly points and evacuation routes, the location of life-rings and the formulation of traffic management plans;
- on vulnerable sites, static caravans need to be located on the highest ground possible, fitted with flotation devices on the underside, raised by approximately 0.5 metres above ground on axle stands and firmly anchored into position.
Although the risk of flooding is likely to be a particular worry for the owners of static caravans sited in vulnerable areas, caravan insurance is by no means out of the question, provided certain basic considerations are taken into account.