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What are flood zones?

Claim Help, Environment Agency, Flood Zones, Insurance Claims, Loss Assessor, UK flooding, water damage

The risk of flooding in the UK is continuing to increase year upon year due to the effects of climate change. As a result, the number of insurance claims from flooding are going up.

According to a report by CCRA, approximately 1.8 million homes in the UK are at significant risk of coastal, surface or river flooding. It is important to know what different flood zones mean, what flood zone your home is in, and how this could impact your home insurance.

Flood zone 1


The definition of flood zone 1 is an area that has less than 0.1% chance of flooding in a year.

On the flood zone map this is shown as clear and means that it has less than 1 in 1000 annual probability of suffering from river or sea flooding.

Flood zone 2


The definition of flood zone 2 is an area that has between 0.1% and 1% chance a year of flooding from rivers or between 0.1% and 0.5% chance a year of flooding from the sea.

This area is shown in light blue on the flood zone map. If your home is in flood zone 2, you would be required to submit a flood risk assessment when developing your property to highlight the risks of flooding to the site.

Flood zone 3a


river flood york, north yorkshire. flood zone 3 uk
YORK, NORTH YORKSHIRE - February 18, 2020

The definition of flood zone 3 is an area that has a 1% or greater chance of flooding from rivers in a year or a 0.5% or greater chance of flooding from the sea in a year.

This area is shown in dark blue on the flood zone map. Land in zone 3 also requires a flood risk assessment for planning applications and will consist of reviewing the risk of flooding to the suite as well as possible options for flood mitigation.

Flood zone 3b


Land in flood zone 3b is categorised as having a 5% or greater chance of flooding from rivers or the sea.

Areas in this zone are often where water has to flow or be stored during the event of a flood and are considered to be the most at risk areas of flooding.

Is my home at risk of flooding?

To find out if your home is at risk of flooding, you can use the Environment Agency's flood risk checker by entering your address. From here you will be able to find out the degree of long-term flood risk of any specific area in the UK.

In the results of the flood risk summary, you will find the risk levels of flooding from rivers and the sea and from surface water for the given address. You can also view a map on the page that displays the levels of flood risk. Whilst this gives good information on the possibilities of flooding, it is key to bear in mind that the flood map does not take into account climate change and the impact this may have on flooding in the future.

What is surface water flooding?

surface water flooding caused by concrete ground

Surface flooding happens following a period of heavy rain where water is unable to drain away. For example, it is more likely in areas full of harder surfaces like concrete where the water levels will just build and build without any drainage.

More people are at risk of surface flooding than any other form of flood risk with over 3 million properties believed to be at risk in England alone. It can happen anywhere - does not need to be near rivers or the sea and is harder to anticipate. It will also often have a bigger impact than other types of floods as it damages infrastructure and disrupts people's lives.

Getting home insurance for flood risk areas

flood scheme high risk zone help

Flood cover is usually part of any standard home insurance policy. In the event of a flood, whether this is from surface water, river water or sea water, your policy will protect you for any damage and losses incurred. It's always worth checking the finer details in your policy wording to see exactly what's covered in the event of a flood.

It can be harder to insure homes in high flood risk areas as insurers will need to charge higher premiums to cover the risk involved. However, thanks to the Flood Re scheme, flood cover is now more widely available in high flood risk zones, making it more affordable for households. As well as working with insurers to reduce premium prices, the scheme provides recommendations to help reduce the risk of flooding for homeowners.

Flood insurance claims

If you suffer flood damage to your home, your insurance company should cover the costs to restore your home and replace any destroyed possessions. However sometimes insurers may reject your insurance claim, leaving you to deal with the damage on your own. Whether you have your flood claim accepted or denied, we advise you have a loss assessor such as Oakleafe Claims on board who will oversee the claims process to ensure all the correct works are carried out to get your home back and that you receive a fair settlement. For more info on how we can help with your flood claim click here or get in touch if you need our help!

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