UK weather: Counting the cost of the destruction from the wettest winter in a hundred years
Tuesday 11 February 2014
People whose houses have been flooded but do not have insurance should be given money from council “hardship funds”, the Prime Minister has said.
David Cameron also warned insurance companies that they needed to “pay up the money fast” and urged people to contact their MPs if the cash was not received promptly. He spoke as the insurance industry said the cost of the recent floods could top £1.5bn and end up adding around £15 to average annual household cover.
Mr Cameron said that “every local authority affected needs to have a hardship fund”.
“If there is a need to top up those hardship funds then they can come to us and we can have a look at that,” he said. “Generally speaking, hardship funds have worked well for uninsured houses.”
A “bespoke grant system” offering several thousand pounds per household in affected areas will also be set up to enable people to improve flood defences as they rebuild, Mr Cameron added.
“We need to make sure the insurance loss adjusters get into those houses quickly, carry out the assessment, and pay up the money fast,” he said.
“In most cases, that is happening. If it isn’t happening I want local MPs to be told about it.”
An agreement between the Government and insurance industry, called Flood Re, is due to come into force next year. This will provide pay-outs on properties that insurers are unwilling to cover.
Those in flood-prone areas are expected to be hit with extra costs of £540 a year for the flood-insurance element of their buildings insurance.
Homes that get flooded can see their values fall by as much as a fifth, especially if they are hit more than once. Potential buyers are obviously deterred by the clean-up costs and soaring insurance premiums.
But there’s little evidence that floods actually make a home unsellable. Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, for instance, was hit by severe floods in 2007 but while prices took a dip, average property values in the town have held up reasonably well. It’s a similar story at Cockermouth in Cumbria, which was hit by floods in 2009.
In fact some buyers look to flood-hit areas to pick up a bargain, reckoning that then spending a few grand on decent flood protection could make the deal worthwhile.
Alex Gosling, managing director of online estate agents HouseSimple, warned: “Homeowners may not see a noticeable drop in the price of their property if the flooding is a one-off event, but those with properties that are flooding repeatedly face the biggest headache.
“If buyers are going to struggle to secure mortgages on a property that has a high risk of flooding, or insurance premiums are going to be sky high, then that will have a detrimental impact on the price of the property. Plus it’s much easier for buyers these days to identify areas of flood.”
Homes that have not been flooded but are close to flood-hit areas could also find their property values falling as buyers prove reluctant to take the risk. The Environment Agency has suggested that one in six homes in England is now at risk of flooding – which potentially leaves millions facing a hit to their home’s value.
Greenpeace comes to the aid of Britain's small fishing vessels
Frilled shark: Australian fishermen capture terrifying shark from the deep
Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
Brazil drought: It's a really dry January in the South American country, with rainfall is at its lowest level since 1930
The 10 best folding bikes
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
- 5 British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: On behalf of a successful academy i...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in providing ...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: WEST LONDON - An excellent new opportunity wit...
£8 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A Florist Shop Manager is required to m...