FLOOD RISK: IS MY HOUSE AT RISK OF FLOODING?
The Government has a standard, four-level classification that it uses to describe long-term flood risk both from rivers and the sea, and from surface water. These are:
- High risk (over 3.3%).
- Medium risk (1-3.3%).
- Low risk (0.1-1%)
- Very low risk (under 0.1%).
These levels take into account existing flood defences, but also recognise that these can fail or be overwhelmed.
How to find out a property’s long-term flood risk level
For homes in England, this can be done instantly and free simply by entering property’s postcode and house number on the Government’s long term flood risk assessment page which also includes links to flood risk information and maps for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. This tells you how likely it is that the specific location is to flood in the future, and the factors that could cause or contribute to flooding there, as well as where to get information on preparing for a flood and how to sign up for flood warnings.
The Government portal also provides a map where you can enter your postcode to see a map showing the flood risk from rivers or the sea, or the flood risk from surface water. Use it’s ‘detailed view’ option to see depth, flow speed and flow direction estimates.
Buying a house? Find out its flood risk
Research carried out by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) found that fewer than a third of house hunters research the flood risk of a property before buying. And this is despite one in six homes in England and Wales being considered at risk of flooding.
The ABI created a set of red/amber/green ‘traffic light’ flood risk symbols that it encourages estate agents to include on property listings to indicate flood risk. There has been little uptake of these at least partly because of a perception in the property industry that they could discourage buyers from even considering high risk properties.
So if you’re thinking of buying a property, you need to take responsibility for checking its flood risk yourself.
Flood risk from reservoirs
Flooding from an uncontrolled release of water from a reservoir is considered by the Government to be extremely unlikely. No one has died in the UK from reservoir flooding since 1925, and the owners or operators of all reservoirs have a legal obligation to meet various design, monitoring and safety planning standards.
You can see a map of the areas that could be affected by an uncontrolled release of water caused by a dam or reservoir failure here.
Note: At Homeprotect we use other data in addition to the Government flood risk information when calculating premiums.