Properties to become uninsurable from flood
Around £214bn worth of property is at risk from flood damage, much of which could become uninsurable as early as this summer, says Richard Hinton, business development director of SearchFlow.
The warning comes after Britain has been lashed by rain storms and the Environment Agency issued over 25 warnings of localised flooding in the South West, Midlands, North East and East of England.
Thousands of homes in south Wales, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Somerset have been left without electricity.
The Environment Agency said soil affected by prolonged dry weather increases the risk of flash floods because heavy rain quickly runs off hard, compacted ground.
Meanwhile Hinton warned that properties will face greater uncertainty and prohibitively expensive insurance premiums due to the end of an agreement between government and insurers that provides a near universal provision of flood cover.
The existing Association of British Insurers / government statement of principles is due to end in June 2013 with no alternative in place.
The British Property Federation has called for urgent action to create a new settlement between government and insurers.
The BPF said that the uncertain future of flood insurance will hit businesses and homeowners from July 2012.
Hinton added that those who couldn't insure their properties face breaching their mortgage agreements and rapid falls in the value of their properties.
Hinton said: "The government's agreement with the Association of British insurers which ensures universal flood cover is set to expire in June next year, meaning annual renewals for cover beyond that date may become unobtainable in only a few weeks' time.
"The problem is that years of underinvestment in flood defences means insurers cannot guarantee the open market can maintain universal flood cover. Those who cannot insure their properties face breaching their mortgage agreements and rapid falls in value of their properties.
"Anyone today who is buying a house should make certain their conveyancer undertakes the necessary flood checks to protect their interests."
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