« back to news

Head for Higher Ground

Head for Higher Ground

Flood insurance is something we would rather not think about. However these days it is rarely out of the news. Whether as a result of Global Warming or not, floods do appear to be much more prevalent recently. Accordingly, those people whose houses are located in high-risk flood areas pay higher premiums on their insurance and higher excesses on flood-related claims compared to those whose houses are in low-risk areas. Premiums on a house in a high-risk area may differ by around 20 -30% than one in a low-risk area, and this can add up to a tidy sum.

In the UK, more than two million properties are located in flood risk areas! When you seek the services of a flood insurance provider, they have their own maps to determine whether you live in a high-risk or low-risk area. Although a proper insurance plan should pay for all flood damage, your insurer will expect you to take necessary precautions to protect your properties in case of flood.

Although each case is judged on its merits, some insurance providers may refuse flood cover to people in high-risk areas. You cannot expect insurance providers to give cover on a house which is expected to flood regularly! If the insurance company believes your property is in a high-risk area, they may even resort to obtaining a surveyor's report before agreeing to cover you. This protects not only them but also keeps the costs of premiums at a lower rate all round – if there is a claim, someone has to pay to for it and this results in higher premiums for one and all.

In 2004 the Government carried out a Foresight Future Flooding report which showed that the annual average flood damage could increase by up to 20 times by the end of the century – a result of climate change, so it is a small comfort that it is not just the UK who is suffering this problem. However, is it worth the risk of living in an area which may flood? Well, the two million dwellers of such areas obviously think so, and without recourse to heading for the high ground find ways to protect their home – finding a sympathetic and professional insurance company helps.

Floods cannot always be prevented, although there has been a lot of work carried out on coastal defences and river protection in recent times, but people can take measures to protect themselves.

Here are a few things you can do to protect your property from the worst aspects of flooding:

> Chipboard on kitchen and bathroom units can be replaced with plastic equivalents
> Concrete floors can be replaced with wood and covered with tiles
> Gypsum plaster can be replaced with more water resistant materials – such as lime plaster or cement render.
> Move service meters, boiler and electrical points to areas above the likely flood level.
> Install one-way valves into drainage pipes to prevent sewage backing up into the property

These simple measures can help greatly should the worst happen.

Check carefully if you suspect your dream property may be on a flood plain, this information is readily available on the internet and on official Government websites. Ask the residents in the area too, they will have first-hand knowledge. There really is not excuse for not knowing your home could be at risk – and you can bet your bottom dollar that your insurance company will know! Take good advice - with proper guidance you may find your property can be fully insured. Talk to Westhill Insurance Services and find out how you can protect your property – without having to build an ark!

Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.

Posted on 14th September, 2010