Flooding: Protect your family home
We investigate what you can do to protect your home from flooding and increase your chances of getting insured at a reasonable cost.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) claims that up to 200,000 households in flood risk areas will face problems getting insured altogether from next year when a government agreement with the insurance industry, under which insurers are obliged to continue offering cover for such properties while the government improves flood defences, comes to an end.
The ABI's research shows that those in this position include some 7,550 homes in the northern towns of Boston and Skegness, 7,339 properties in the Vale of Clwyd in Wales and 7,125 more in Windsor.
Its director general Otto Thoresen said: "We are running out of time to make sure that people in high risk areas are properly protected from the devastation flooding can cause and the ball is now in the Government's court.
"Insurers want to make sure that every home has access to affordable insurance, should the worst happen, and we're concerned that those people most at risk will lose out unless the Government considers a safety net."
What can I do to reduce the risk of flooding?
While the government is charged with improving flood defences for "at-risk" areas, it is sensible to take measures to improve your home's defences too.
Not only will this reduce the risk of your property being damaged by flooding, it may also encourage your insurer to offer you less costly cover.
The government's advice is to come up with an action plan that they can set in motion in the event of a flood.
Its tips include making a note of useful telephone numbers such as your insurer and utility companies as well as Floodline (0845 988 1188), ensuring that you know how to turn off your gas, electricity and water and keeping valuable items upstairs if possible.
You can also invest in flood protection products such as sand bags or flood boards to block ground floor doors and underground pumps designed to extract floodwater as it enters your basement.
There is a cost involved – the ABI reckons that protecting a property against flash floods costs anything up to £6,000 – but you may be able to negotiate a discount with your insurer if you can show that you are well prepared.