With one of the wettest summers on record we thought we would look into the impact this has on landlords and tenants in relation to the cost of insuring properties against flood damage, how to minimise the impact of flooding and what to do if you are struggling to get insurance because of where you live.
Around 5 million people in the UK live in areas that are at risk of flooding.The environment agency publishes a flood map showing the areas that are most at risk so you can check out the likelihood of having a problem before you rent or buy. They also run an alert service that direct to your phone, mobile, email, SMS text or fax by calling 0845 988 1188 or visiting the Floodline website.
Some insurances have increased by by five times the original premium and some policies have an excess of £5,000 for incidences of flooding. Figures from the AA show the average buildings insurance bill is currently £176, this follows rises of 7% and 12% in the previous two years.
Because so many households are affected the government is in talks with the insurance industry to agree a levy on all insurance in order to provide cover for those most t risk of their homes flooding. This could add an extra 10% to the average householder’s insurance bill, as typical flood claims are between £20-£40K
The government has budgeted £2.1 billion to spend on flood defences and other flood measures.
If you live in property in areas liable to flooding remember that your personal safety should take priority over protecting your belongings, however there are some precautions you can take.
Roll up rugs and remove curtains from downstairs rooms.
Place antique and valuable furniture in upstairs rooms.
Unplug electrical items if flooding is imminent and where possible move them to upstairs rooms.
Take a moment to consider items that are outside – can bikes, ladders and other garden equipment be stored in the rafters of a garage or shed? In any case they should be secured to prevent them causing damage if floods hit and start to carry off loose items.
Sandbags may prevent water getting into the property – or minimise the impact.
If a flood hits your property advise your insurer immediately
Ask your insurer what they expect you to do with any items that are flood damaged, as they may want to assess them before agreeing payment.
The charity nationalfloodforum.co.uk has lots of advice on their website and they continue to lobby the government on improving measures for those at risk of flooding.