Ever since the dramatic scenes in the Cornish town of Boscastle where houses were wrecked by flash floods in 2004, many of us have growing concerns about our house insurance. But if we live in an area at risk of flooding, what can we do? And will we get adequate house insurance?

Am I vulnerable?

If you are unsure if your home is at risk from flooding, The Environment Agency has published a flood map of the UK on its website. Although it is not a definitive map, it will indicate whether or not you are at risk. Even if you live in a fifth floor apartment in an area prone to flooding, you still need to be prepared – it only takes two feet of water to float a car.

How will it affect my house insurance?

The Environment Agency have supplied the Association of British Insurers member companies with the flood probability data they have. Insurers often supplement this with more detailed investigations. This information allows insurers to identify whether flooding is a real risk.

Will I be eligible for house insurance if I live in flood risk area?

There are three categories of insurance provision based on the likelihood of flooding in a given area taking into account the local flood defence schemes or investment plans. These are:

• Low – A 0.5% or 1 in 200 chance or less of flooding each year.

• Moderate – A 1.3% or 1 in 75 chance or less.

• Significant – The chance of flooding in any year is greater than 1.3% or greater than a 1 in 75 chance each year.

If you are in a low or moderate category, flood cover should be offered on buildings and contents house insurance policies. However, in significant risk areas insurers will not guarantee cover in all cases.

What is the future for flood risk homes?

Research and reports are on-going in how to build flood resilient homes and using flood protection products, all of which can help when obtaining adequate house insurance.

The Facts

• Across the UK , ever year, up to five million people are vulnerable to flooding.

• Around 400,000 homes are at very high risk of flooding (a one in 75 chance).

• It is predicted by scientists that climate change could lead to more frequent flooding in years to come, as winter rainfall increases and sea levels and storms surges rise.

Six inches of fast flowing water can knock you off your feet.