As the winter starts to close in on us, bringing storms and lots of heavy rain with it, we can think back to the flooding crisis in the UK last year. When it comes to insuring against flooding, you don’t need to be by a river or the sea to be affected, and the events of last year shows more than ever the need to consider flood risk when purchasing a property.
The issue of insurability of properties is now a high profile issue which can potentially affect the cost you must pay to insure your home.
The Environmental Agency assess that 1 in 6 properties in the UK are at risk of flooding and so it makes sense to check the insurability of your new home as part of the conveyancing process. This will ensure you don’t encounter any nasty surprises after having committed legally to purchasing a property.
The most common types of flooding are recognised to be:
- Surface water flooding – occurs when heavy rainfall overwhelms the drainage capacity of an area.
- Sewer flooding – occurs when sewers are overwhelmed by heavy rainfall or when they become blocked.
- Groundwater flooding – occurs when underground water levels rise above surface level. This is most likely to occur in low lying areas underlain by permeable rocks.
- River flooding – occurs when a watercourse cannot cope with the water draining into it from the surrounding land.
- Coastal flooding – results from a combination of high tides, low lying land and, sometimes, stormy conditions.
ORJ Solicitors recommend that, as part of the conveyancing process, a Flood Risk Search is obtained when purchasing your property. This report will give details as to the insurability of a property, based on the level of flood risk. This search will also assess the risk of flooding from river, coastal, groundwater and surface water sources and will determine whether the property is in or within:
- 250m of an area affected by flooding (Zone 3) or extreme flooding (Zone 2)
- 250m of flood defences or area defences
- National Flood risk assessment (NaFRA)
Furthermore, the report will identify where groundwater flooding could potentially occur based on the underlying geological conditions.
We also recommend that you sign up for flood warnings at http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/31618.aspx
Finally, we would strongly recommend that you always make enquiries with insurance companies as to cost and insurability of your prospective new home before you legally commit yourself to your purchase.