Hereford & Worcester

Insurance rise warning for homes at risk of flooding

A Worcestershire-based flood campaign group has warned that house insurance premiums could rise in the next year.

A government agreement with insurers is due to end in June 2013 that currently guarantees vulnerable homes are covered.

Worcester campaigner Mary Donhau said some excesses were now more than £5,000, but could rise further.

The Know Your Flood Risk group launched its national awareness campaign in Bodenham, Herefordshire.

Ms Donhau, from the group, said: "There are 8,000 homes at risk of flooding in Herefordshire alone.

"One in four homes [nationally] is deemed at risk of flooding, taking into account all forms of flooding - river flooding, ground water flooding, surface water, sewage and run-off.

"I'm not on an official flood plain and I didn't know I was at risk until I went downstairs and found three foot of sewage in my home [in 2007]."

Flood defences

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), damage caused by floods in summer 2007 cost the industry £3bn.

A recent report by the National Audit Office revealed a 10% cut in government funding for flood defences.

It said the Environment Agency would need an additional £20m a year to invest in flood defences.

The Know Your Flood Risk group warned that some particularly vulnerable homes might struggle to obtain insurance at any price from next year.

Ms Donhau added: "The way to keep insurance companies sweet is to protect your own property."

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it was working with insurers and expected reach a decision on the way forward by the spring.

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