How many homes are at risk of flooding in the UK?


Flood warnings being issued and sandbags being handed out are becoming an increasingly common occurrence in the UK.
Data from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) reveals that the UK experienced some of its wettest weather in a century in 2012. In that year alone, extensive flooding affected more than 8,000 properties and caused around £400 million worth of damage. Three years later, storm Desmond caused significant flooding in Cumbria despite flood defences being in place when 34cm of rain fell in 24 hours.
And it’s a similar story in 2019. Earlier this year, the north of England suffered serious flooding, while Whaley Bridge, a town in Derbyshire had to be evacuated when a dam threatened to burst after severe rainfall.
Currently, the UK spends around £4.4 billion on flood defence measures, with regions including the East Midlands, South East and Central London getting the most money to fund their flood protection.

How much of a problem is flooding in the UK?

The risk of homes flooding in the UK is more of a problem than many of us realise. According to the Environment Agency, around one in six properties in the UK is at some risk of flooding. While 2.4 million people live in immediate flood risk areas, with a further 2.8 million UK properties susceptible to surface water flooding.
The increase in the number of flooding incidents has been caused by climate change, land management practices and rapid urbanisation due to a growing population. This has led to more impermeable surfaces in built-up areas and drainage systems struggling to cope with rising volumes of rainwater.
There is also the issue of more floodplains being used for residential dwellings (despite the associated risks). These floodplains are seen as attractive options by developers due to their flat topography. However, the nature of these areas of land make them more prone to flooding – along with any homes built on top of them.

Which areas in the UK are most at risk of flooding?

All areas of the UK experience rain – but some experience more rain than others. So, what UK regions are most at risk of flooding?
A study by flooding restoration company Rainbow International has pinpointed the areas of the UK most at risk of flooding this year.
The areas at greatest risk are: Yorkshire, Cumbria, Cornwall, Skegness, Hull, Merseyside, Great Yarmouth, Kent, and coastal areas of Sussex. Other high-risk areas include: Peterborough, Holbeach, Knottingley, Somerset, Burnham-on-Crouch, Woodhall Spa, Boston, Scunthorpe, Sandtoft, Buckinghamshire, Wiltshire, Lincoln, Gainsborough and Cleethorpes.
A river near a row of houses that has burst it's banks with water getting closer'

How can I tell if my home is at risk of flooding?

If you are concerned that your home is in a flood zone, you can quickly find out if your home is at risk of flooding on All you need to do is enter your postcode and the results will categorise that area as anything from ‘very low’ to ‘high’ risk. There are separate flood information websites for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
If bad weather is forecast, you can also check the government’s live flood warning map to see if your area is affected.
You can also find out information from local estate agents, and if you are planning to buy a home, the current owner and conveyancing solicitor.

How does living in a flood risk zone affect my home insurance?

If your home is in an area of very high risk or has been flooded in the past, you will find the process of finding the right mortgage both long and frustrating. Not only will providers want a lot of information from you, the quotes they come back with can be extremely costly.
However, finding affordable home flood risk insurance that meets your needs doesn’t have to be a headache. By speaking with an insurance specialist such as Insurance Choice, we can do the hard work for you. We can compare different policies by the level and amount of cover, minimum excess, inclusions and extras.

What does home flood risk insurance cover? And what does it not?

According to Rainbow International, around £266 billion worth of possessions in UK households have absolutely no insurance against flooding. Home flood risk insurance covers the costs of flood-related damage, including:
·         Drying out your home
·         Repairing or replacing fixtures and fittings
·         Removing debris left by flood water
·         Fees for legal services, property conveyancing or architecture fees

If flooding causes damage to any of your belongings (such as furniture, electrical goods and jewellery) you may need to claim for these on your contents insurance.
There are some features that may not be covered as part of a standard home flood risk insurance policy, but can be added as additional extras. These include:
·Alternative accommodation costs: If your home becomes uninhabitable following a flood, you may need to find alternative accommodation. If this is covered,   make sure you know how much a provider is willing to pay while your home is being repaired.

·Escape of water: Any damage to your home caused by leaking pipes will fall under the ‘escape of water’ section of the policy, rather than flooding section.

·Fences, hedges and gates: Standard flood insurance may not cover damage to these things.
Always be sure to read through the policy documents carefully so you understand exactly what is covered under the policy – and what is not. Anything that is not included can be added as additional cover.

Finding the right home flood risk insurance for your home

According to the ABI, it can take a year after a flood for your home to be restored and habitable again. It is important to start the process of assessing the damage as soon as possible – and making sure you have the right home flood risk insurance cover in the first place.
If you’re planning to let your home or are living abroad for any length of time, knowing you have comprehensive home flood risk insurance in place is just as essential as if you live in the house yourself.
To make the process of finding the right home flood risk insurance more straightforward, you can speak with an insurance specialist. At Insurance Choice, we can help you get a more competitive premium and excess for your home – whatever the flood risk.
Contact the team today to find out more.