Two Million Homes at Risk of Flooding
Recent statistics released from the Council of Mortgage lenders suggest that as many as two million homes are at risk from coastal or inland flooding. Further, as many as 200,000 have a 1.3% chance of being deluged as the UK's climate changes. These are very worrying statistics for UK homeowners and for many there is real fear that they will be priced out of being able to buy homeowners insurance or simply will not be able to obtain cover at all. According to the council for mortgage lenders, these numbers are likely to increase as climate change will get worse before it gets better.
Homes are more at risk from flooding now than at any time in living memory, global warming is leading to weather patterns over our country becoming more unpredictable and rainfall becoming heavier. The amount of precipitation that falls within a space of time is also critical as heavy downpours in short spaces of time are overstretching our water waste disposal systems leading to flooding. Sea water is also rising although tide predictions for the next 20 years calculated by Ordnance datum newlyn do look fairly consistent. More homes are being built on flood plains this coupled with lack of statute to enforce flood protection, could see the number of homes at risk of flooding rise to 3.5 million UK properties.
In the autumn of 2000 approximately 10000 homes were flooded and homeowner claims cost upwards of 1 billion pounds, at this point the government and the Association of British insurers on behalf of it's members outlined a set of principles which would ensure continuity of cover for most households including those that live on floodplains.
However, following the recent unprecedented claims occurring during the summer months it would appear that the insurers may be thinking of changing their minds. For the moment, anyone that has an existing policy should be ok, renewal will be invited but it is of paramount importance that checks are made that cover is up to date. Homeowners are urged to check policy renewal dates and if cover is not already in force to buy cover from a reputable company as quickly as possible. For any new build property that is being built on a flood plain, insurers may only consider covers if there are defences in place or defences are planned. With the government committed to building new housing in this country including flood plain sites it will be interesting to see if they have any proposals of their own to provide building insurance UK. Insurance companies after all are in business to make money and most underwriting strategies do not include taking on risks where claims are foreseeable.
The environmental agency is advising worried homeowners to contact them for information relating the possibility of flooding in specific locations; they have good quality information on their site. Taking steps now to guard against the effects of flooding may help to reduce the stress and trauma of flooding occurring at your home.