Plymouth flooding victim hit with £10,000 insurance excess
A WOMAN whose house flooded three times last year has been told she will have to pay out £10,000 if it happens again.
Most recently Janet Luke, 61, was forced out of her cottage in Colebrook Road on December 22 last year when flood water swept through the village.
Mrs Luke was initially told her insurance company, Canopius, would refuse to cover her for flooding in the future.
She said: "I was in a panic so I got hold of my MP, Gary Streeter, and he has been ever so good phoning and writing them e-mails."
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The firm relaxed its position and allowed Mrs Luke to renew her policy – but has told her she faces an excess of £10,000 if the house is flooded again, despite having paid just £100 for her most recent claim.
She said: "I couldn't believe it. I was expecting it to be something in the region of £1,000. I had to ask my son if it really said £10,000. They might as well have said £10 million. I can't afford that."
Mrs Luke, who works as a cleaner at Ridgeway School, is staying with her son in Plympton while her house dries out, and she hopes to return within the next few months.
She said: "Ever since I was flooded it's always been a worry, just how long it's going to last, and that was when I was insured. Now I'm just living off my nerves.
"It's fine staying with family but it's not home. I have lived there for 38 years. It's home; I brought up my three children there. It's horrendous."
A Canopius spokeswoman said: "As Mrs Luke's insurer, Canopius has paid four flood claims since 2009 totalling almost £40,000. After careful consideration, Canopius continues to provide home insurance for Mrs Luke's property, with a £10,000 excess for each and every loss in respect of flood and a premium increase of less than 2.5 per cent. These renewal terms follow the Association of British Insurers' statement of principles, together with advice regarding flood protection developments in the area from Mrs Luke's MP, Gary Streeter."
On Thursday The Herald reported that every household in Plymouth faces having to pay £8 on their insurance to ensure homes at risk of flooding can continue to get affordable cover under industry proposals.