Flood Mapping and Insurance Premiums

Flood mapping is a multi-layered map that shows the overflowing or rivers and seas in England and Wales. It allows homeowners and potential insurers to see which area is most at risk of flooding. If you planning on buying a home, you may benefit from using flood mapping to reduce your insurance premiums and avoid high risk flooding areas. The map also shows what kind of flood defences are in place for certain areas.

How does a flood map work?

Flood mapping shows several figures, mainly:

  • Flooding that occurs from seas and rivers without natural defences or artificial defences, such as flood plains. It shows the extent of a flood with 1% chance of happening each year (for rivers) and 0.5% for seas;
  • The extent of an extreme flood and which areas it could cover with a 0.1% chance of happening each year;
  • Flood defences, such as walls or embankments, natural defences and artificial flood defences;
  • Main rivers, or any river at risk of a potential flood that has not yet caused serious damage or issues in the area.

Who uses flood mapping?

Flood maps are used by anyone who needs them - researchers, geographers, the public, insurance companies, land owners looking for planning permission .etc. In terms of insurance, a flood map will be used by insurance companies to calculate the premium you pay on home insurance. How at risk your home is from flooding and the flood defences in place will effect how much insurance you're likely to pay.

Will the map ever be updated?

The map is updated for new defences quarterly and 3-monthly for new information regarding floods or river changes. If you are at high risk of flood and expect to pay a high premium, but are aware of new defences and action being taken in your area, you can wait for the new flood map to be updated and see if your premiums are reduced.

Can I still get insurance?

An agreement made between the Association of British Insurers and the Government in 2002 means that insurers will offer coverage to many homes, including those at risk of flooding. The Environment Agency has released a Flood Risk assessment in conjunction with its flood mapping tools to help homeowners and insurance companies calculate the cost of insurance and the risk to the home, which is more accurate than most flood mapping techniques as it is compromised of data over 50 years old and incorporates new defences, trends and weather predictions.

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