The Environment Agency (EA) estimates that over 5.5 million properties in England and Wales are vulnerable to flood risk. In Scotland, the number of at-risk properties is around 125,000 and 65,000 in Northern Ireland, respectively, according to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Northern Ireland’s Rivers Agency (RA). These numbers include properties at risk from surface water, rivers and the sea. If your property is in an area prone to flooding, make sure you have appropriate insurance and flood defences in place.
Reducing your risk
The best way to protect your home from flood damage is to plan ahead. It is impossible to completely flood-proof a property but here are some recommendations from the Environment Agency to minimise the risk if you live in an area prone to flooding:
1. Flood resistance – keep water from entering the property in the first place
• Stock up on sandbags – your local council should have a stockpile
• Consider a temporary flood guard on external doors
• Removable covers that can be fitted over ventilation bricks
• Fit non-return valves to drains and pipes to prevent water entering your house via your plumbing
• Raise damp-proof courses and seal floors
• Landscape your garden in a way that will divert water away from your property
2. Flood resilience – limit the damage when water enters your property
• Raise key electrical items such as boilers, fuse boxes and meters above the likely flood level
• In kitchens and bathrooms, use water-resistant materials such as stainless steel and plastic
• Use tiled flooring with rugs rather than fitted carpets or wood flooring on the ground floor
• Use water-resistant plaster (lime plaster or cement render)
• Fix TVs and other electrical equipment to the wall at least 1.5 m off the floor
• Put valuable items on shelves high up
You can also download a Personal Flood Plan from the Environment Agency website. This will help you think about what to do if your property does flood and also helps you keep important information in one place.
For more information about your flood risk and to view flood maps for your area, visit these websites:
• England and Wales: www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood
• Scotland: www.sepa.org.uk/flooding
• Northern Ireland: www.nidirect.gov.uk
Home insurance and flood risk
If your property has been previously flooded, or you live in an area that is deemed to be a flood risk, you will almost certainly find it difficult to get affordable home insurance cover. There is also a possibility that you might not find cover at all. At A-Plan, we can help. We have arrangements with insurers that allow us to provide insurance cover for properties that are at risk of flooding. Our specialist home insurance team understands that such properties require an individually tailored approach. Contact our team today on 01252 725725.