Property and insurance

This page provides information and advice to anyone who thinks that their property may be at risk from flooding.

Flood Maps (NI) indicates that my property is located in an area at risk, what should I do?

It is important to remember that the actual risk of flooding has not changed just because the maps have been published, but there are a number of steps you can take:

  • find out if there is any history of your area/property flooding. You may find the Historical Flood Map useful in this respect
  • check if flood defences has been constructed in your area and the level of protection that they provide by viewing the Flood Hazard Maps
  • check the nidirect website for advice on flooding
  • consider if you have adequate flood insurance
  • keep a list of useful telephone numbers to hand that you may need in a flood emergency eg insurance company, Flooding Incident Line, local DfI Rivers' office, local council etc
  • consider modifying your property to make it more resistant and/or resilient to flooding
  • consult the DfI Rivers' Flood emergency telephone numbers and useful advice leaflet

Will Flood Maps (NI) be used by insurance companies?

DfI Rivers on behalf of the NI Government has worked closely with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) to help ensure that flood insurance remains widely available to the vast majority of homes and businesses in flood risk areas. Flood Maps (NI) may be licensed by insurers for commercial purposes.

Getting insurance in an area indicated to be at risk of flooding 

The decision to offer flood insurance rests with individual insurance companies, however, if you are concerned about the impact of any flood risk information on your ability to get property insurance you should contact your insurer.

Flood Re is a flood re-insurance scheme, launched on the 4 April 2016, that potentially enables insurers to offer competitive premiums to homeowners in high flood risk areas across the UK. Flood Re makes no difference to how you purchase your home insurance, whether that’s through a price comparison site, directly from an insurer or through a broker. Once you have purchased your policy you will always deal with your own insurer even if you need to make a claim.

For further information please see:

Buying property in an area shown in the flood maps to be at risk of flooding 

If you are concerned about a property purchase you may wish to seek the advice of a surveyor or other qualified professional to assess the actual flood risk to the property.  Their assessment may take into consideration such factors as the design of the property, the local ground levels, the flood history and the presence and effectiveness of existing flood defences.

If not in an area shown to be at risk can I assume that my property will not flood?

No, the flood maps only provide an indication of whether a general area or property is likely to flood from rivers, the sea and surface water. Although areas outside of the illustrated flood plains and inundation areas are in general, less likely to be susceptible to flooding than those located within them, it would not be correct to assume that there is no risk of flooding.  

As there is a degree of uncertainty associated with the methodologies used for the production of the flood maps they should not be viewed as definitive or completely accurate.  Also, Flood Maps (NI) does not identify areas that are prone to flooding caused by blockages to culvert inlet grilles, deficiencies or system failures in local sewer systems or from small watercourses with catchments less than 3km².  

My property is in an area shown at risk - will this affect its value?

There is some evidence to indicate that within the rest of the UK the increase in flooding and flood risk to residential property has had a marginal adverse affect on property values. This is most evident in relation to property that has been affected by a recent flood event or for which building flood insurance cannot be easily obtained (as this is usually a necessary requirement for mortgage lending on the property.)

However it is important to note that in comparison with the rest of the UK the general situation in NI with to respect to flood risk from rivers and the sea is different.  In Northern Ireland there are far fewer properties located within the flood plain and many flood alleviation schemes have already been undertaken to defend those local communities that have had a history of significant flooding from rivers and the sea in the past.  Therefore in NI there are very few properties that suffer from frequently occurring flooding from rivers or the sea.

It is important to note that publication of the flood maps has not in any way, changed the risk of flooding to any individual property or location. However, if you wish to find out more about any potential impact on property values in your area you may wish to seek the views of a surveyor or other qualified professional in this respect.

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