Flood risk is on an upward trajectory for British homeowners, with the most recent report from the Environment Agency putting the number of properties at risk at around 5.2 million. The most recent big floods, in 2007, cost the country £3 billion, and led to the commissioning of the Pitt review, which aimed to ensure Brits were better equipped to deal with the increased risk of flooding in a changing climate.
For their part, the Labour government (who also commissioned the Pitt review) invested £629 million in flood risk management. Unsurprisingly, that figure has been significantly reduced under the coalition, with government spending cut by 27% – against the advice of the Environment Agency. Not only is this a backward step for the country’s flood defences, but it has serious implications on insurance.
Flooding in Tewkesbury, 2007
The agreement struck between the Labour government and the insurance industry (that the former would increase flood defences while the latter offered coverage to those at risk) is coming to an end this year. When that happens, the availability of flood insurance will, at best, be hard to afford for many, and at worst non-existent.
The reality of removing or reducing government involvement in such a pressing – and growing – problem is that the most vulnerable members of society in flood-risk areas will suffer most when premiums soar. Flood investments need to be made, and insurance needs to be made affordable for all.
Above all, if you’re in a flood risk area, obtaining adequate insurance is of paramount importance. Santander currently offers some of the most comprehensive coverage on the market; it’s worth paying a quick visit to the website for insurance quotes. Depending on the sum insured, they will cover up to three quarters of a million pounds worth of damage, protecting against floods, as well as vandalism, fire damage, storms and subsidence. To learn more about how to protect yourself, follow the link for a government directive on flood protection.