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What Flooding Really Costs

By July 22, 2015Flood Protection News

The True Cost of Flood Damage to Your Home

A flood in the home is an extremely distressing situation to live through. The initial fear of the water entering the property, not knowing how high the level will reach, trying to protect the building,  the emotional upset at the loss or damage to items of sentimental value and the often time-consuming clear up operation.

In the UK, flood warnings are divided into three categories:

  • Flood alert: This is a warning to be prepared as there could be a flood
  • Flood warning: A flood is expected. Take action now
  • Severe flood warning: Flooding will be severe, there is a danger to life

Along with flooding comes the need to put businesses and homes back together after they have been ravaged by the waters. This all comes at a financial cost and when floods hit hard, the figures are astronomical.

National cost of flooding

In 2014, flooding cost the UK over £1.1 billion; over £630 million was incurred across the first two months of the year alone. This was largely due to massive rainfall during the winter which caused rivers to swell and burst and ground to become waterlogged to the point it was unable to take more. Standing water covered many miles of the UK and many people had to leave their homes for a number of weeks.

Whilst these costs meant a very expensive year for all involved, the figure for last year pales into insignificance when compared against the cost to the UK of flooding during 2007. Huge swathes of the UK were devastated over a relatively short period of time and the total cost was an incredible £4 billion.

With climatologists in Oxford evidencing that climate change made the 2014 floods 25% more likely to happen, there is now an urgent need to look at how flooding affects families, the costs involved and the way to be prepared for the future.


Individual households

When flooding occurs it can affect part or the entire home, including the garden and any vehicles owned.

The average household insurance claim following a flood ranges from £30,000 to £40,000 and whilst money can replace items such as electrical goods and cars, a cash pay-out can’t replace items of sentimental value such as photographs, unique collectible items which perished or items passed on by loved ones who are no longer with us.

The figures involved for the UK in 2014 are still huge when analysed further.

  • Amount paid for home insurance claims: £276 million
  • Amount paid for vehicle insurance claims: £22 million
  • Emergency payments made during the flooding: £27 million
  • Cost of temporary accommodation: £24 million

To cover the task of visiting properties to help to organise temporary housing and to assist with the drying-out process, there was a need for 6,500 visits by loss adjustors.domestic flooding

The cost to insurance premiums

Flooding affects everyone; not just those who suffer at the hands of the rising tides. Insurance companies need to balance out the payments made to claimants through the cost of premiums and prices on average rise 5% the year following a large period of flooding. This means £10-£15 added to each household which whilst not a huge amount as a one-off, it is an extra expense every year.

How the figures add up

The £1.1 billion bill was made up of a number of elements:

  1. Insurance claims : £451 million

Initial figures from the Association of British Insurers reported that the insurance claims totalled £446 million. As 2014 progressed however, the final sum was a staggering £451 million.

  1. Uninsured costs: £130 million

Uninsured costs cover a number of areas such as costs to the economy, the price of damage to specific industries such as farming and those households which have no home contents insurance policy in place.

  1. Government support , repairs and grants: over £540 million

Grants for homes, businesses and farmers were put in place by the government. The money released was also used for repairing flood defences and to try to keep public transport moving such as bus replacement services for cancelled trains. It was also used for major crisis situations such as pumping out the Somerset Levels.

  1. Cost to local government: at least £6.6 million

Councils were left with bills totalling over £6.6 million. Some of this could be claimed back through a central government scheme, but almost half was non-recoverable. The recouping of this money was then down to individual authorities as to how they could claw it back over a long or short term strategy.

Costs which will never be known

Situations such as travel delays, businesses closing whilst clearing up and power failures make it impossible to know how much this costs the UK during and after a flood. There’s a financial cost at the time but there’s also the emotional cost due to the stress of not being able to undertake an important journey, or being elderly and the vulnerability of having no power. It’s not only small businesses which are affected; during the 2014 floods, the construction industry suffered massively due to lack of time on-site and damage to on-going projects.

Long term costs

Predicting the future is impossible. With 7,800 homes flooded in 2014 though, one definite outcome will be a rise in insurance premiums over the coming year.

In Somerset, the fertility of the land is now feared to be damaged due to many hectares being underwater for a number of months. Forecasters say this could have a long term impact on the value of the land.

Future prevention is better than leaving it to fate

With the cost of mopping up after a flood expected to reach the phenomenal figure of £20 billion every year by 2050, there is no better time to start looking at flood prevention than today.

Climate change and socio-economics are behind the predictions, but being proactive by having flood protection ready now could really bring the figure down.

If households are prepared for a flood with a system which will stop water ingress, they can protect items of value, move safely to higher ground and not need to make claims on their insurance policies.

The FloodBlock system is one which can be stored in a small area of the home, in a garage or even outside. The unique system is quick and easy to deploy and unlike other flood protection such as sandbags, is reusable. Whilst there is obviously an upfront cost to buy the units, they are incredibly cost effective if you have a flood. Sold in 1 metre lengths, they easily protect doorways and driveways as well as larger areas such as river edges and vulnerable jetties.

With just one simple connection key to attach to the next modular unit, FloodBlock can be used by anyone in the family; no training needed and no requirement for particular physical strength.

If faced with the choice of claiming for £40,000 worth of damaged goods to the home along with the cost of paying an excess which can’t be recovered, or the relatively small cost of ordering FloodBlock, there really is no question about it; be prepared for a flood tomorrow by buying today.