Britain has experienced several years of above average rainfall that many scientists attribute to climate change.
In 2007, for example, the country was 20 percent wetter during the winter than any other year since records began in 1879.
Some studies have suggested that flooding is in part due to the development of towns, cities and farmland, preventing natural drainage from taking place.
Are you ready for the rain? This article is a quick guide to the likely risks of flooding and the steps that you can take to make your home safe from the high waters, or insured against them.
Towns like Boscastle in Cornwall that was virtually swept away by flooding in 2004, or Hebden Bridge in 2012, are reminders to Britain and to the insurance industry, that some areas pose higher risks of flooding than others.
Insurers pay a great deal of attention to scientific information on flooding and calculate insurance premiums accordingly. As risks change, so the insurance industry devises new products to insure against them.
There are two types of flood risk insurance: buildings flood insurance that covers structural damage to your home, and home contents flood insurance that covers your belongings and furnishings.
If you have standard buildings and home contents insurance but you live in a high risk flooding area, you will need to change your policies to specific flood risk cover.
If you don’t have flood insurance and your home is damaged by flooding, there is a chance that your insurer will not pay out on a standard insurance claim.
The Environment Agency has some sound advice about how to prepare for the possibility of flooding. It is important to visit the agency’s flood risk map to see if your home is likely to be affected.
The agency suggests that homeowners and business owners should create a flood plan before bad weather begins.
In addition to this, it is advised that you prepare your property’s flood defences in advance.
This could involve investing in a consultation with a surveyor or an architect to assess your property’s flooding needs.
A flood protection advisor can also be contacted, who will give an assessment of the costs involved in protecting your property from flooding.
If you find that insurance costs for your property are high, or that the level of risk to insurers is so great that they will not insure you at all, there are still options.
You might want to consider consulting a mortgage broker who can help secure a policy from specialist insurers who offer policies on higher risk homes.
There is also help and advice available at the National Flood Forum, who have a list of insurers who have signed up to the forum’s Charter for Flood Friendly Insurance.
Insurance Against Flood
As with most potential disasters, nine tenths of the solution lies in pre-emptive action. It is important that you identify your level of risk and work with the official and industry bodies that exist in order to limit it.
Insurers will tend to look more favourably on claimants who have done whatever they can to limit the risks and prepare for the potential deluge.
The alternative is a large clean up bill and an unsympathetic insurer.
During a crisis, when there are numerous claims being made against insurance policies, and shareholder profits to protect, insurers will create their own criteria about who they consider to be worthy of a pay out.
By prudent action now you can get yourself on that list.