Rising flood waters threaten homes in Gloucestershire in the UK

Should I Buy Home in a Flood Risk Area?

As a company much of our time is spent doing Flood Risk Assessments and Drainage Strategies for commercial planning and developments. However, we are also acutely aware of how flooding and the potential of flooding can effect residential property. We are often asked about the risks of buying a home in a flood risk area so we felt it might be useful to look at some of the major points.

Buying a Home is a Personal Choice

There is no doubt many house purchases are done with the heart and not the head. This, in itself, isn’t a problem and we all need to love where we live. That being said buying in a high risk area does come with potential issues. There is nothing to say do not buy the home of your dreams in a high risk area, after all you may get a great deal but it is something that should be done with all the knowledge and planning possible to avoid any nasty problems.

How At Risk is the Property?

There are a number of ways to assess flood risk. Of course, you can get a FRA done to give you a full insight into the potential. But you can also ask the vendor, you could ask neighbours and search locally for any history of flooding in the news. Environment Agency flood maps have sometimes been called into question because they work on where might be at risk and some people feel flood history is more useful. It is also fair to say that somewhere that flooded once may not be flooded again, there may have been local flood mitigation work done by the council or other drainage strategies put in place further up the water course.


Getting insurance is a complex issue and one that should be looked into before any purchase. If the purchase doesn’t involve a mortgage technically insurance is not mandatory but it is critical to be aware of the potential repairs costs if the property was flooded. Be aware that insurance premiums could rise after a flood event so while the initial rates may be affordable it is worth considering budgeting for an increase. It is also worth looking at https://www.floodre.co.uk/can-flood-re-help-me/

Mitigation and Flood Proofing

There are a number of things that can be done to a property to help prevent flood damage. These can range from creating drainage areas in the garden to creating a water garden to help absorb and hold the flood water while it dissipates. Other methods include getting flood proof doors or flood boards that can be lowered during a flood event. Looking at the surface materials used on driveways can have a big effect and choosing ones that allow water to soak through rather than run off can make a big difference.

As with everything, knowledge is power, and understanding the risk, putting in things to help mitigate, insurance against and deflect flooding can make all the difference. Ultimately it is a risky business but not one that is totally insurmountable.