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    Floodplain Living: House Insurance Guide

    By The reallymoving Team Updated 28th May, 2024

    Reviewed by Em Smith

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

    Floodplain Living: House Insurance Guide

    What are floodplains?

    Floodplains are a flat area of land alongside a river that are prone to flooding.

    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 floodplains is increasing. 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.  

    Does living on a floodplain impact home insurance?

    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 risk searches

    A flood risk search or flood risk report is a conveyancing search that identifies if the property is at risk of flooding. These searches are not mandatory but are advised for properties in areas at risk for flooding.
    Flood risk reports will usually include:
    • Flood risk including river, coastal, surface water, groundwater, and sewer flooding
    • Protective measures and advice
    • Property flood history

    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.

    Flood 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.

    How to protect yourself against flooding

    When getting a flood risk report, your surveyor should be able to offer you advice regarding flood proofing your property.

    If you are in an area that you know is at risk of flooding you might want to invest in flood protection products or take measures to protect your belongings such as installing barriers, using flood gates, keeping important items upstairs, or use solid flooring instead of carpeting.

    For further information about flood risk:

    Floodplain living FAQs

    What are the advantages and disadvantages of living on a flood plain?

    Floodplains are often beautiful areas and the land on floodplains is often very fertile. Prices of houses may be lower due to the risk of flooding. However, properties built on floodplains can be harder or more expensive to insure.  

    Does flooding affect house prices? 

    Flooding can lower the value of a property, especially if it is at high risk of repeated flooding. This can be due to water damage to the property and the financial and safety risks associated with flooding.

    Can you get a mortgage on a flood risk property?

    Even with a property at risk of flooding you should be able to take out a mortgage. However, many mortgage lenders will require you to have the suitable insurance to cover this added risk.
    There are some lenders that may not be willing to offer mortgages for properties that are at particularly high risk of flooding.

    Updated May 2024

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