Flooding? What You Should Do


The UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs reports that the risk of flooding affects 5.2 million properties in England. This total estimate is broken down into 2.8 million at risk from surface water floods, 1.4 million from the sea or rivers, and 1 million from these combined causes.

Find out if your property is located in a flood risk area by referring to the Flood Map. The Environment Agency provides information about the probability of flooding from the sea and rivers in specific areas, taking flood defences into consideration. It is crucial to take into account other causes of flooding, including reservoir failure and groundwater or surface water floods. Flood risk data from various sources of flooding are available online and regularly updated. Sign up to receive the latest alerts, such as the Floodline Warnings Direct issued by the Environment Agency.

If your home or property is located in one of the risk areas, flood insurance coverage is essential. In a majority of cases, flood insurance should be a component of your house and house contents insurance. Property insurance protects your house and contents, in case of damages caused by sudden calamities such as storms, floods or fires.

House insurance typically takes care of the expenses of debris removal, drying, repair and restoration, including fittings and fixtures. It may also cover related costs incurred due to flood damage, such as legal fees and professional services of surveyors and architects. The building policy may also reimburse you for temporary accommodations during the period that your property is being fixed. Contents insurance pays for damaged furniture and other belongings to be repaired or replaced, as necessary.

The degree of flooding risk may have an impact on your home insurance.
Consult your current home insurer for any issues or concerns that may arise. The insurance company may require an Insurance Related Request (IRR) to help them determine whether to renew your existing policy or give you a revised home insurance quote.
The IRR is a standard letter furnishing details such as:
§ whether your property is within an area of flood risk
§ the chances of flooding (significant, moderate or low), taking flood defence and other risk management measures into account
§ the presence of flood defences in your area and their standard of protection
§ information about any planned defences and risk management in your area
§ previous flood records in your locality.

The IRR may be obtained free of charge from the Environment Agency by sending them your property’s address, phone number and a map if possible.

If it’s your first time buying home insurance, get quotes from several insurers. Compare their respective policies, terms and conditions. Higher premiums will be charged for areas with higher likelihood and severity of flooding, along with any excess amounts a policyholder contributes for repair. Risk assessments may change; when this happens, premiums and excesses are revised accordingly.

Insurance coverage is not guaranteed in all circumstances. Some insurance companies may decline an application as an unacceptable risk. In case you cannot secure an affordable policy from a standard insurance provider, you can have recourse to an insurance broker or professional intermediary. These insurance specialists are able to negotiate terms and coverage with insurance companies for out of the ordinary cases. They may charge for their services, but they’ll let you know their fees upfront. You can find a flood insurance broker in your area from the British Insurance Brokers Association’s directory. You may also avail of independent advice about flood risk insurance from the National Flood Forum.

It’s smart to take all necessary precautions. Use flood products and apply flood resilience measures to reinforce your property’s flood resistance. Join the Facebook page of Flood Group UK or participate in the activities of your community’s flood action group.
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