Approximately two million homes are at risk from coastal or inland flood with some 200,000 properties having a 1.3% annual probability of being deluged as the UK climate worsens.
According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the situation will only worsen over time as climate changes begin to increase both the amount and frequency of winter rainfall. Add this to the rising sea levels, the new homes being built on flood plains and the lack of enforceable government policy and the risk of flooding could increase for around 3.5 million UK properties.
Following the widespread flooding in autumn 2000, when around 10,000 properties were deluged at a cost in excess if £1 billion to the insurance industry, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the government outlined a statement of principles for the UK insurance industry which stated that they would continue to provide cover for the vast majority of households in the country and insurance customers living in the floodplain should be reassured about the continued availability of insurance in future.
However, since the summer flooding, householders are a being advised to check their insurance policies are up to date after it was announced that many insurers will be blacklisting up to a million homes that are built on flood plains.
“For now, insurers say they will still abide by the terms of a deal they reached with the government in 2002. This states that insurers will continue to offer cover for those already insured and take on new business where defences are in place or planned,” said Richard Mason, director of insurance at moneysupermarket.com. “I would strongly urge any homeowners whose properties are on flood plains to buy good-quality home insurance immediately. Doing so ensures they will continue to be covered regardless of what happens in the future.”
The Environment Agency has released a Floodline for concerned householders living in affected areas to call for information about how to prepare for a flood and how to deal with the aftermath.
Barbara Young, Chief Executive at the Environment Agency, said: "If your property has been affected by flooding you should talk to your insurance company before arranging for clearance and the Association of British Insurers website has helpful advice. You should check out the advice being given by the Health Protection Agency on how to protect yourself during any clean-up.”
Residents in England or Wales are being urged to call Floodline on 0845 988 1188 or log on to the Environment Agency website www.environment-ageny.gov.uk to see whether they are in a flood risk area. Scottish householders can contact Floodline on 0845 988 1188.
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