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Flood Plains

There is little doubt that global warming is changing the face of our weather. There are those who argue against this, but for now, opinion seems to be weighted in the direction of us paying for what we have had so far. Across the world the global weather pattern is changing: it would appear that Mother Nature is not too happy with us and is expressing her opinion with a show of extreme weather conditions.

For the majority of us here in the UK there seems little to worry about, when it comes to our property, belongings or even personal well-being (compared to the global scale). However, for a small minority there are considerations to be taken into account – those who own property in and around flood risk areas. Although floods have been a natural occurrence in the UK for centuries, storms now have a greater intensity and are of a higher frequency, thus causing more chaos and damage.

Other than water damage, one of the main concerns facing homeowners with a property on a flood plain is home insurance. A staggering 5 million people (approx) in the UK live in a flood risk area and can see their properties tumble by as much as 15% in value in these locations – even more so if the house is thought to be unsaleable due to insurance difficulties. Mortgage providers always require building insurance before offering a mortgage, so the inability to obtain house insurance could make purchase impractical.

Some homes in a flood plain area may just be too much of a risk for an insurance company to contemplate. Even if you do manage to get insurance to cover the property you will possibly pay more than 60% more for your premium. Add to that the higher excess levels (often in the thousands) and you get a clear picture of the possible difficulties of properties in flood plains.

However, there is good news. Go to a reputable insurance broker and talk it through. Most companies used to base insurance premiums on postcodes – but now they have much more accurate data on which to base their premiums. Using new technology, the environmental agency was able to draw-up a flood risk map for England Wales. Using this map, insurance companies can now pinpoint with greater accuracy the flood risk attached to individual properties. Using this data, 100,000 homes in the UK had their 'at risk' status removed – thus allowing them access to much cheaper insurance!

Shop around for quotes, be honest about the property you are buying and do as much as you can to help yourself: you can purchase personal flood water defence systems that protect doors and openings for your property. Check for yourself your property on line at www.environment-agency.gov.uk and see just how vulnerable your property is (or not) by accessing their flood risk map. If you have set your heart on a property, do your research thoroughly before dismissing it out of hand – insurance can be sorted out with a helping hand from a good advisor – turning your grey skies blue.

Posted on 8th March, 2010