To tell if your property is at risk before you buy it, do a flood risk assessment before putting in a bid.

Is my house at risk of flooding?

If the recent flooding has left you worried that the home you have your heart set on might be at risk here is what you need to do.

Check flood risk maps

Perhaps the quickest and easiest way to find out if a property is at risk of flood is to use a flood risk map. Different government agencies are responsible for issuing flood maps depending on where you live;

  • England and Wales: The Environment Agency maintains a detailed flood risk map.

  • Scotland: The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) publishes a selection of flood maps.

  • Northern Ireland: The Department of the Environment (DOE) maintains a strategic flood map.

Each of the environment agency flood risk assessments is slightly different, but all are designed to show parts of the country which are at risk of flooding, now and in the future - they're a must use tool if you're buying a new home.

As well as checking the flood maps you can request a Land Registry report if you live in England or Wales, which gives a more detailed risk analysis for every registered property. There is a small cost for this and it is included in the house buying process anyway, but by requesting it early you'll be ahead of the game.

Speak with the locals

While online flood maps are a great way to check if an area is at risk at flooding they do not always apply to individual homes.

If you are still worried the house you want to buy could be susceptible to flooding local knowledge and council records could give you a more detailed assessment.

Speak with the owners of neighbouring properties to find out if there have been any problems with flooding in the past and contact the local authority to check if they hold council records relating to flooding in the area.

Consult a flood risk consultant

If, after checking flood maps and carrying out your own research at a local level, you still have further questions or concerns regarding flood risk at your dream home it could be time to hire the help of a specialist flood risk consultant.

They should be able to:

  • give you a more accurate indication of the risk of flooding

  • advise the likelihood of the different types of flooding

  • from which direction the water would come

  • the probable timescale of any flooding in your area

You have pay several hundreds of pounds for their services but if you are worried about whether the property you're buying is at risk of flooding it may be worth it. Search online for a flood risk consultant operating in your area and compare prices before you proceed.

Buying a house in a flood risk area

If you've found your must have home in a flood risk area and are determined to press ahead with the purchase you will need to check you can get suitable flood insurance before you sign on the dotted line.

Insurance in flood risk areas

Although home insurance will be more expensive if the property you are buying is in a high risk area there are government flood insurance schemes in place to help make cover more affordable - exactly how much you will pay will depend on the location and value of your property.

Did you know?

In the US they have a dedicated Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) to help homebuyers find out the likely cost of flood insurance before they buy.

High house insurance flood risk prices could put you off taking out cover but remember; if a flood did hit your home the cost of repairs could easily run into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds.

To find an affordable quote, use our flood insurance comparison because that lists companies that will actually cover properties that are at risk of flooding or have a history of flooding and may give you cover for a better price than a standard insurer.

How to claim for flooding

Address any emergencies first

If flooding has left your home in need of structural work that will protect the rest of the property, or caused dangers such as gas leaks, your insurer will understand if you arrange immediate repairs yourself.

You should still try to tell your insurer exactly what you intend to do, but you will not usually need to wait for a loss adjuster's visit before you act. Even if you cannot get through, they should accept any emergency work you book in.

Questions to ask your insurer

  • WHEN the loss adjuster will come to survey your property

  • WHETHER the insurance company will organise and pay for cleaning and redecorating

  • WHO will be the insurance company's point-of-contact for your claim

  • WHERE to find alternative accommodation, and your budget, if you've been evacuated

  • WHAT you should and shouldn't do with regard to cleaning your property

If you rent your home, make sure your landlord contacts their buildings insurance provider to get things in motion for you.

Claiming for damaged contents

If you have standalone contents insurance, or if you rent the property and have a contents-only policy, contact their helpline separately to lodge your flood damage insurance claim.

Do not remove or replace any items in your home until your insurer gives the go-ahead.

Work methodically, marking the highest point the water reached in every room before you take photos/videos. Write a list of all the flood damage caused. Remember - every bit of evidence you gather will support your claim and help push your payout even higher.