In the next of our “Answer the Public” series, we respond to the hottest search terms that people are asking about flooding and flood risk affecting homes and home buying.
The aim is to help with concerns you may have if a flood risk has been identified in one of our reports and what you can do about it. Or, if you are making some early enquiries about a property and want to know how flooding could affect the insurance or mortgage availability, then this is your start point for support.
Can I get a mortgage on a flood risk property?
In the majority of cases getting a mortgage in a flood risk area is no problem at all. First of all check buildings insurance is available for the property as this is a condition of getting a mortgage.
If getting a mortgage is proving difficult, first off speak to a mortgage broker who specialises in flood risk. They often have access to mortgage products not available on the open market. They may also be able to assist with getting you insurance.
If you are declined a mortgage, first of all, before applying with a new lender, you need to fully understand why you were declined. This means ensuring the rejection was completely due to flood risk and no other factors were at play. Remember that when you apply for a mortgage, it impacts your credit rating, so re-applying in a short space of time can have negative impacts.
Can I get Insurance in a Flood Zone?
Insurers account for the risk of flooding in their premiums. Our flood risk reports also show the insurability of the property. Some properties are in such extreme risk of flooding, they are covered by a scheme called Flood Re – a reinsurance scheme to protect the most vulnerable properties that could not normally get insurance. But this tapers away by 2039 and you will need to have demonstrated that you have fitted flood resilience measures to reduce the risk of flood damage to your property.
If you are just outside flood re’s coverage, but still at significant risk, there may be no safety net – you may not get cover for flood risk or the premiums or excess may be prohibitive.
Don’t forget that if you can’t get insurance, it can significantly affect your ability to obtain a mortgage.
How do you check if a property is in a flood risk area?
The best way to find out if a property is at risk of flooding is to ensure your solicitor or conveyancer undertakes a search as part of the property buying process. Ensure the search they are buying includes full flood data as standard. All of Groundsure’s environmental reports include flood data as standard.
Whilst there are free resources available, such as the Environment Agency’s flood risk map, we would always recommend seeking professional advice, particularly during the home buying process.
How does Flood Risk affect Insurance?
The availability of affordable insurance can be affected by flood risk, but there are a few steps that can be taken. Insurers have access to their flood risk data and each insurer has their own risk appetite, so the availability of insurance does vary between providers.
Regardless of flood risk, we would always advise obtaining an insurance policy which includes flood damage and in the first instance use a comparison site to obtain a variety of quotes.
If the property is at risk of flooding, insurance may be available through the Flood Re scheme, a specialist scheme designed to cover those properties most at risk.
Secondly, find a broker that specialises in properties that are difficult to insure, the British Insurance Brokers Association is a good place to start.
Finally, the National Flood Forum may be able to advise. They are a charity designed to help, support and represent people at risk of flooding.
When do I need a flood risk report when buying a house?
As early on in the transaction as possible. Your solicitor or conveyancer will usually obtain a pack of searches once you have instructed them. We recommend a product which includes flood risk as standard, so additional searches are unnecessary. Even if the property is not near the sea or a river it can still be impacted by other sources of flooding.
Where can you find out if a property has flooded?
Major floods are recorded by the Environment Agency and will be included in all Groundsure environmental searches.
The seller also has a responsibility for completing the TA6 Property Information Form to the best of their knowledge. The TA6 is the form to give the prospective buyer detailed information about the property and contains a question on if the property has been affected by flooding.
Whilst inaccurate information could lead to a compensation claim, the UK conveyancing process works on the basis of Caveat Emptor – buyer beware, so it is always recommended to make your own thorough independent enquiries. This could be through talking with local residents and neighbours or even the local authority.
Who does a flood risk assessment?
So Groundsure provides homebuyers and business owners with flood risk assessments as part of our key environmental searches. These not only look at past flood extents and the degree of protection that comes from existing flood defences, but they also look ahead at not only planned defences, but the impact that climate change will inevitably have
With global warming comes more moisture in the atmosphere which means more rain and more storms. Properties close to rivers and even smaller streams need to account for the likely changes in flows and extents – flood maps are being re-drawn and our Climateindex analysis, included automatically in our key residential and commercial property reports, now looks up to 30 years ahead.
Here to Help
Our team of expert consultants are on hand to help support and advise you with your flood risk queries. Get in touch with us on 01273 257 755 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org