If you live in the UK, then you are probably not used to having to worry about extreme weather, but over the last few years more and more areas have seen flooding, with rivers bursting their banks, extreme winds causing floods in coastal regions, and torrential downpours hitting parts of the country causing flash floods.
If you are considering buying a new property then you will need to think hard about where the property is located, and make sure that you are not investing in somewhere that could end up almost literally floating away when the next downpour hits the area.
Flood risks are so bad that the government actually asks about them when people apply for planning permission – whether that’s change of use permission to use a property as a business, or permission to build or alter an existing property. They offer an online tool that can be used to identify the flood risk of a particular area, and there is plenty of short-term information available too. The met office website has a section where you can look at the weather in a specific area, and get warnings about everything from high winds to flooding. There is also the Environment Agency website which provides up to date information regarding flood risk.
If you use the internet to research flood risks, and find that you are in an area that is at risk, do not panic. Make sure that you understand whether the risk is short-term or imminent, and think about how you could prepare for it. Be sure to look at ways of securing your property, and think about exit routes too, if you have a plan, you can make structured preparations.
If extreme weather is coming your way, consider whether you want to use flood defences and sandbags, or whether you want to just ‘move upstairs’ in your home, or get out entirely. Have a plan for the most likely scenarios, and stay informed about the weather.
If you are planning on staying, long term, somewhere that has issues with flooding, then you might need to think about insurance – the main insurance companies are starting to charge people more and more for food and other environmental damage. Over the last few years storms and extreme weather have caused a huge amount of damage not just in the UK but also in the USA, and premiums have increased to cope with that. Make sure that the insurance policy that you have is good enough to cover any likely damage, and that your policy is up to date. Keep a copy of your insurance records somewhere safe, so that if you need to claim you will be able to do so. This is well worth a read if you are interesting in knowing more about floods in the UK.
Most people in the UK have nothing to worry about, but there are some areas that are particularly high risk – especially on the coast and near rivers or in valleys. Do your homework before you buy somewhere, so that you don’t get caught out and find that you are stuck with a property you can’t sell because of floods or increasing issues with erosion and subsidence or soil instability.