House purchase - searches and flood insurability(15 Posts)
We've just had our searches for a new property purchases come back and our house has flooded in the past I.e. 1940s. It's in less than a 1 in 100 and so I'm not overly concerned about it actually flooding, but the legal environmental searches have come back with a further investigation needed for insurability. So I don't think it will flood but will we struggle to get insurance or pay ridiculous premiums?
Anyone legal know the next steps? I'm thinking of asking estate agent to see who vendor is insured with and cost of premiums. Any other questions or lines on enquiry I should think about?
Which flood zone is it on 2 or 3? there's quite a difference in terms 1 in 100 depending on zone.
I live on a food zone 2, I would not buy on a 3.
What type of flooding? River or surface water?
Do not underestimate the heartbreak of flooding, the national flood forum can advise on insurance.
It's flood zone 2 from river. Which is the same as we are now.
You could ask the vendor for who's insured them for the past 3 years, if they had to declare historic flooding and if they if to declare location to water source/flood zone. Plus I would also ask their premiums.
Some insurers ask vacuous questions regarding flooding so it's gotten around easily.
Also if they've flooded from any ingress of water (surface or river), and if not how close the last instance reached to the house.
You need to speak to a pso officer in the environment agency office covering the area. Insurance isn't based on flood zones, it uses nafra... They will explain this too you.
Flood zones are generated as if there are no flood defences and are a town and country planning prioritisation tool.
Insurance may not be aimed at flood zones, but some insurers do ask you whether you are based in a FZ. So important to know.
Flood zones are also used for response procedures for an area in terms of multi agency major incident, plus adequate defences can lead to changes in flood zones as had just happened in the NW with Pee Holdings.
They are super-sensitive about this now IME. There are two types of flooding, it does sound as if yours has actually flooded in the past.
Our house showed up as being at risk of (I think it was pluvial) flooding. It has never flooded. Someone else in the same road who has purchased their property just months before we did didn't have it show up in their survey! So we are not convinced tbh. I did declare it to the insurance but they seemed unruffled about it.
Good luck with the house purchase!
Do a compare the market or similar insurance quote. See how many insurers will insure the property. If it comes back with only one or two insurers I'd be worried. Your solicitor should be able to do more advanced flood searches and I would be requesting that.
Ask your solicitor for advice, that is their job.
What are your long term plans for the house? If you might sell in a few years, flood risks look pretty bad to buyers, is it worth buying a house that might be difficult to shift?
We nearly bought a house where we thought the flood risk was just because it was near a river. Solicitor told us to read the report again and although the river was a flood risk more alarming was the surface water flooding risk. Long story short it would have been a nightmare to insure and we nearly dismissed it. So read the reports very carefully and check with insurers.
1 in 100 is quite high.
If it's risk from river flooding, I would want to know what flood protection measures are in place. Then what would happen if they were breached, not maintained or withdrawn.
Yy to asking what is the closest water has been recently. What measures (if any) has the vendor taken to protect their property.
A property difficult to insure is worth less.
We had some stuff about possible pluvial (surface water) flooding on our searches. We spoke to a friend who is a hydrological modeller who had a look at all the data for us. He said it was fine and that the pluvial models are not currently great because it's all so micro-localised.
However, he did he wouldn't trust a house with a fluvial (river) flood risk with a barge pole. Those models are good and it will flood.
Don't trust a compare the market type quote as they often won't take flood history into account until you drill into the individual quotes and see what has 'been assumed'
We bought a house that had flooded within the past 10 years (this appeared to be the key date for insurers) and used a broker who specialised in flood risk properties
We have since changed insurers to NFU and what they said was they use local knowledge to provide a quote rather than using blanket data - costs are coming down, still high but the house is worth it
It's worth shopping around and having conversations with different companies and getting as much data from environmental agency's as possible, I got a SEPA report plus information from the water board in regards to remedial action as the blocked sewers couldn't cope with high rainfall which caused the flooding in our case
Yy Grin agree... But if you do a compare the market quote and only one insurer comes up and they want premiums 10x over what you're paying for a comparable property it's a fairly clear warning bell.
It's all we needed to do to realise the flood risk was more hassle than we were willing to take on.
I'd look at the actual nature of the site. My mum's house is classed as being in a high risk of river flooding - the access road to the house floods as far as the bottom of the garden whenever there's a really high tide (they live on a riverbank) but it's short-term and you just go get a coffee or go to the pub if you're at the other end trying to get home and wait it out for an hour.
Although searches show it as high risk - the actual house itself is at minimal risk because the site is on such a slope the house is really elevated up. They've lived there years, through some of the really bad tidal surges and have never had any problems at all.
They do have to do some hunting around for insurance and do it via a broker - but that's the only issue they've ever really hard regarding it and that's only in recent years as insurers have got more jittery regarding flooding.
Thanks everyone. We've asked vendor and her premiums are pretty low and got company details of who insures house currently, but I'm not sure what exactly has been declared.
It does look on the modelling maps as tho the land flooded in 1940s together with a large swathe around it covering lots of other houses, but the house wasn't built until 1960s. So technically the house has never flooded, but I'd hate that technicality to be our undoing. It's less than 1 in 100.
So my actions are to go to existing insurer, go back to solicitors and poss Envt Agency. Thank you hydrology people!
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