Test the wa­ters and ask the right ques­tions over flood risks

Yorkshire Post - Property - - FRONT PAGE -

of a flood dam­age in­sur­ance claim will af­fect the abil­ity to ob­tain build­ings in­sur­ance cover on nor­mal terms and at com­pet­i­tive pre­mi­ums. This will af­fect the value and saleabil­ity of the sub­ject prop­erty thus af­fect­ing the cur­rent home owner whether or not they are look­ing to sell their prop­erty.

To add to the cur­rent prob­lem, as from July 1, 2012 the build­ing in­sur­ance in­dus­try’s State­ment of Prin­ci­ples, which is es­sen­tially a gentleman’s agree­ment be­tween the As­so­ci­a­tion of Bri­tish In­sur­ers (ABI) and the gov­ern­ment, comes to an end.

This agree­ment places an obli­ga­tion on the in­sur­ance in­dus­try to pro­vide build­ings in­sur­ance cover for prop­er­ties at risk of flood­ing. The gov­ern­ment has yet to an­nounce a fu­ture pro­posal.

Ac­cord­ingly, ob­tain­ing build­ings in­sur­ance cover over prop­er­ties sus­cep­ti­ble to flood­ing may be at a costly pre­mium and, in some cases, cover may not be avail­able at all. Thus you are wise to be wary of this po­ten­tial prob­lem.

In re­spect of the prop­erty you are look­ing to buy, if it is at risk of flood­ing and con­se­quently ex­pen­sive in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums, high ex­cess obli­ga­tions or the non abil­ity to in­sure, they are all rel­e­vant is­sues.

Your con­veyancer should in­clude within their pre-con­tract en­quiries of the sell­erm ques­tions di­rectly re­lat­ing to flood­ing, for ex­am­ple :

Has the seller any knowl­edge of the flood­ing his­tory sur­round­ing the prop­erty?

Have the prop­erty and grounds ever suf­fered from any form of flood­ing, no mat­ter how slight, dur­ing their own­er­ship?

Can the seller con­firm the prop­erty is in­sured on nor­mal terms and at nor­mal high street pre­mium rates?

Can the seller con­firm if any claims have been made on their build­ings in­sur­ance dur­ing their own­er­ship?

Con­firm the date, na­ture and value of each and any claim.

In­struct your con­veyancer to carry out a flood search, widely avail­able on­line to con­veyancers. A flood search is not a stan­dard search and as such you should make a spe­cific re­quest for this search to be ob­tained. The re­sult of it should be re­ferred to your sur­veyor for their com­ment and ap­proval. Fur­ther in­for­ma­tion is avail­able via the En­vi­ron­ment Agency’s web­site and also at – www.knowyour­flood­risk.co.uk.

I would also ad­vo­cate meet­ing with your po­ten­tial new neigh­bours and ask­ing them if they know of any lo­cal flood­ing is­sues in the area. This style of en­quiry usu­ally pro­duces some in­ter­est­ing and in­for­ma­tive re­sults from non con­nected per­sons who may dis­close rel­e­vant lo­cal in­for­ma­tion.

Due to the chang­ing cli­mate we are now ex­pe­ri­enc­ing, even if the searches, in­ves­ti­ga­tions and sur­vey do not re­veal a flood­ing his­tory or prob­lem, this does not mean the prop­erty may not be at risk.

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