How to check for the likelihood of flooding in your home

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Flooding in the homeTewkesbury, Windsor, Bocastle, Richmond, Cockermouth – the list of places prone to flooding in the UK is long and, with the impact of climate change, ever growing.

For both financial and safety reasons, if you own a home or are thinking of buying one, it’s vital to know the likelihood of it flooding.

If you don’t, you might find you’re uninsured, or possibly can’t even sell your property.

What’s the risk? Are you insured?

The number of homes affected is high; according to Craig Woolhouse of the Environment Agency, as many as “one in six properties in England and Wales is at flood risk.”

Insurers will cover properties in high risk areas that have flood defences guarding against a one-in-75 year event. Cover can still be found if there aren’t any such defences, but premiums are usually higher than for those areas with greater protection.

And the number of insurers expecting the home owner to pay the first £5,000 to £10,000 of flood damage is increasing; another good reason to find the best policy.

Checking is easy

Fortunately, it’s much easier to check if your home is at risk than in the past. There’s even a mobile phone app that provides instant flood warnings, as well as text, telephone and email services.

Here are a number of ways to find out:

Check the flood map

You can search via postcode or place name to see if you live in a high-risk area. The map also indicates if flood defences are in place.

For the England and Wales: You can see the flood map here

For Scotland: visit http://www.sepa.org.uk/

Detailed property reports

For a relatively small charge (£6.50), you can get a report based on your individual property (including any land and gardens) from the Land Registry’s Flood Risk Indicator service

Warnings direct by phone

Sign up to register your home or business for flood warnings. They are called directly through to you.

For England and Wales: https://fwd.environment-agency.gov.uk/app/olr/register

For Scotland: http://floodline.sepa.org.uk/floodingsignup/

Three-day forecast charts

Check the charts to keep ahead of any flooding in your area.

For England and Wales: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/3days/125305.aspx

Mobile phone app

Download the smartphone app to get instant flood updates: http://www.halcrow.com/floodalert

Speak to someone

If you’d like to speak to someone to discover if your home is at risk, or discuss flood warnings and get emergency advice, call the Environment Agency’s 24-hour Floodline service.

For England, Wales and Scotland: 0845 988 1188

For Northern Ireland: 0300 2000 100.

Tips for improving flood defences

Here are some sites with useful information on how to improve your home’s defences:

http://www.floodresilienthome.com/

http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/31644.aspx

http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/31626.aspx (specifically for riverside home owners)

So now you’re ready for natural floods, but please bear in mind that any home is at risk from ‘man-made’ flooding such as burst water pipes and sewer overflows!

Policy Expert 

We carefully select the insurers on our panel for their home insurance cover levels, price and claims service; to make sure you get the best possible quality for less. What you see is what you get – no hidden excesses or excessive fees. To speak to one of our experts, call 0203 014 9300 or email ask@policyexpert.co.uk

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Policy Expert.