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Moving to a floodplain - what about house insurance?

Living in a flood risk area may pose an insurance risk. What protection is available?

Moving to a floodplain - what about house insurance?

Figures from the Environment Agency show that approximately one in six homes across England run the risk of being flooded. The number of new homes being built on flood plains is increasing and with flooding becoming a growing risk throughout the UK, if you think you may be at risk because you own such a property or are about to buy one, it pays to do some research.  

In April 2016, the Law Society introduced a practice note to advise solicitors of the issues involved with clients looking to buy or sell a property that is situated in a flood risk area. These issues include:

  • Problems getting a mortgage

  • Difficulties finding suitable insurance

  • Damage caused by flooding

  • Complications when reselling your property

Your conveyancing solicitor will recommend flood searches and any other suitable searches which will need to be completed. Your solicitor will also help ensure that you receive suitable insurance cover before you agree to enter a contract.

Flood RE

The previous ‘ABI Statement of Principles’ drawn up between the Association of British Insurers and the Government has now been replaced with a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ and in April 2016, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) introduced Flood Re.

Food Re is a not-for-profit insurance scheme that works with a range of insurers and has been set up to help anyone that lives in a flood risk area receive reasonable home insurance. The scheme will also make it easier for people to replace or repair their property if it is damaged by flooding. 

You are eligible for the scheme if:

  • Your property was built before 1st January 2009
  • The property is situated in council tax bands A to H
  • The property is used for residential purposes
  • ​The insurance holder or family must live in the property

You cannot apply for the scheme if:

  • Your property is a business or Buy to Let
  • It is a leasehold block of flats with more than four properties
  • The property has been built after 1st January 2009

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI) approximately 350,000 houses in the UK currently qualify.

There are also insurance brokers who specialise in properties that are difficult to insure. However, these are likely to be expensive, so it pays to shop around and discuss your situation with them. Similarly, you may have to shop around to find the right mortgage.

For further information:

Updated February 2022

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