New Study Suggests UK Unprepared for Floods

December 17, 2012

A new survey undertaken by online flood report provider,, reveals that despite the UK suffering some of its most severe floods this year, over a third of homeowners admit that they aren’t prepared for dealing with flooding to their home. Furthermore, it highlights that nearly a quarter of homeowners have left themselves exposed with no home insurance to protect them from flooding.

Homeowners are not researching flood risk when they move into a new home – 72 percent report that they don’t bother to find out if an area is at risk of flooding.

The study suggests that lack of awareness and access to good information is a key factor in people’s attitudes to flood risk. Over half of homebuyers that were actually concerned about flooding reported that they struggled to find the information they needed.

Of those currently insured, 41 percent reported the cost of insurance had increased which suggests that the number of homeowners with no home insurance may well increase in the future, placing more people at risk. The survey findings and data are available to download here.

Dr. Justin Butler, managing director of Ambiental, a flood data provider which powers the RiskCentral service said: “54 percent of respondents to the study reported that they had not become more concerned about flood risk, despite the severe flooding this year. A key reason for this may be lack of understanding of the risk of surface water flooding. Prioritizing, and improving access to, flood risk information could avoid this. Recently, the UK suffered some of its most severe flooding but worryingly the national picture suggests that homebuyers are still not taking flood risk seriously.”

As part of their study, the RiskCentral team approached several survey respondents for further insight into their attitudes. Anita Grover, from Sheffield, witnessed the major 2007 floods in her town. “10 years ago, the dangers of flooding wouldn’t have crossed my mind,” says Anita. “Now, I would advise everyone to be cautious and to understand the potential that floods can have on the value of your property.”

There is growing uncertainty as to whether home insurers will continue to offer standard flood cover for properties in flood risk areas. The existing Statement of Principles between the UK Government and the Association of British Insurers (ABI), which guarantees that the majority of homes in the UK would be insurable at a reasonable cost, expires in June 2013. Data published by the ABI in 2011 estimates that of those properties in areas of significant flood risk that are insured, 78 percent pay less than they would if flood risk were properly reflected in the price.

Dr Butler went on to say: “The likely changes to insurance premiums for properties at a high risk of flood highlights how important it is that homeowners and buyers are better informed. Homeowners in high flood risk areas may find their property un-mortgagable so, it’s important to understand the risks. Our study also shows that we need to work harder to raise awareness about flood risk. I hope that RiskCentral can help people to make the right property decisions, reduce costs and, most importantly, limit their risk to flooding.”


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