Homes and businesses in flood risk areas are drowning under red tape

If you live in a flood risk area, it’s likely you are drowning under a deluge of red tape as well as at risk from water. Homeowners and businesses in flood risk areas pay more for their insurance – but could benefit from lower insurance premiums if they time their renewals right.

Insurance companies base their premiums on information from the government’s Environment Agency that plots sea and flood defences.

The problem for home and business owners in areas likely to end up under water in severe weather is these maps are only updated quarterly and national flood risk assessments are reviewed once a year– and even then, the Environment Agency does not have the resources to include the latest information.

That means anyone taking out insurance could be paying a premium rated on out-of-date mapping that assesses them at risk from flooding that is unlikely to ever happen.

Thousands of homes and businesses all over the UK pay more for insurance in flood risk areas – especially if they are in vulnerable low-lying areas along the east coast.

Hull and towns along the estuary of the River Ouse and East Anglia are particular black spots. Other areas are not safe from flooding – Carlisle, along the River Severn and London are among other ‘at risk’ places.

If you think you are paying too much for house or business insurance in a flood risk area, speak to your local Environment Agency office.

They may help you supply specific flood risk information about your property to your insurer rather than the general information on the maps.

This could include topographical data showing your premises are above the predicted water levels if floods strike.

Check out if the Environment Agency is charging for this information before you go ahead – an administration cost is billed for some inquiries that can wipe out any savings on insurance.

You might also prove that adequate flood measures that reduce the insurer’s risk are already in place even though they are not yet listed on the official maps.

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