23 Sep 2017, 1:59am
Direct Line, why has my home insurance gone up by 442% in one year?
The firm’s new tool for assessing flood risk could see home premiums soar, as one reader with a £1,000 policy discoveredWhen Paul Barlow from south London opened his latest home insurance renewal quote from Direct Line, he was staggered by the increase in the premium. The year before the insurer had charged just £189 for his property: a ground-floor, two-bed flat he rents out in Bermondsey, near Tower Bridge. But this year it wanted £1,025 – an increase of 442%. When he rang, thinking it must be some sort of mistake, the representative said he was lucky because if he had been a new customer the insurer would have turned him down entirely. Barlow’s home is not in some hell-hole location where burglary is rife; he has not been making large claims for subsidence or other matters that usually make insurers hike premiums. What Barlow has fallen victim to is a new flood-mapping tool used by Direct Line called geospatial analysis, which attempts to assess flood risk with pinpoint accuracy and could see huge premium increases for thousands of other homes, not just in the capital but all over the UK. Like