Tewkesbury, 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.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!
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