Homeowners assess flooding risks

No-one likes the thought of their property being under feet of water, but recent years have proven homeowners need to have an adequate home insurance policy to safeguard against flooding.

Worried homeowners all over the UK will be assessing the risk of flooding, especially following the recent scenes in Cornwall.

Insurance companies and local authorities have warned that more needs to be done to prepare for what could lie ahead, because of climate change.

After Cumbria was hit by severe flooding in 2005, £38 million was spent on flood defences - a move that now looks like a wise investment.

Damage that could have cost £50 million was prevented by the flood defences when rains returned to Cumbria last year.

The Environment Agency has carried out emergency works to reinstate the level of flood protection before the floods in Keswick and these are also nearing completion in Cockermouth.

After the deluge hit, emergency plans put in place were "robust", according to Cumbria County Council, but the sheer scale of the flooding was beyond what was expected.

Despite the Association of British Insurers (ABI) claiming their members acted swiftly, insurance issues are still cited as a major problem and have the potential to cause as much distress as the flooding itself, with claimants facing wrangling with loss adjusters.

Nick Starling, the ABI's director of general insurance and health, said: "The Government needs to implement a long-term flood management strategy.

"Managing the flood threat better will reduce the risk of devastating floods, like those that hit Cumbria last year, from happening again."

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