- More than a third of UK adults (37%) think that their home is at risk of flooding.1
- But two thirds (67%) haven’t put any measures in place to make their homes more resilient to flooding.
- 80% feel it is important (50% “very important”) to make sure properties are built to be resilient to flooding.
- 59% say flooding is the biggest climate change consideration when selecting a new home.
- 55% are worried about the financial impacts of extreme weather but one in five (21%) say they do not have home insurance (buildings or contents).
More than a third (37%) of UK adults believe their homes are at risk of flooding yet two-thirds (67%) haven’t put any flood resilience measures in place, research from Aviva’s second Building Future Communities Report shows.
Flooding is the biggest climate change consideration when selecting a new home – more than half (59%) of UK adults are most concerned about this, compared to subsidence (40%) and excess heat (31%).
Meanwhile, the majority (80%) of UK residents feel it is important (50% “very important”) to make sure properties are built to be resilient to flooding.
One in five properties in England are currently at risk of flooding1, with flood impacts likely to increase in future. The Environment Agency has predicted a 59% increase in winter rainfall by 2050 and that once-a-century sea level flooding events could become annual by 2100.2
Analysis in Aviva’s new Building Future Communities report found that a flood event could lead to 750mm of flood water in a home without resilience measures, which would cause homeowners to move out for a considerable period. The analysis, conducted with Aviva’s claims data, looked at two 1930s homes, one with resilience measures and the other without.
With simple flood resilience measures in place, the depth of flood water reduced by 64% to just 20-30mm – which in many cases is the difference between having to move out or being able to stay in a home.
Building Future Communities also found that failing to protect a house from flooding could have an enormous carbon footprint when restoring the property: 13.9 tonnes of CO2 emissions, equivalent to six and a half return transatlantic flights.
Financially unprepared for climate change
The research also uncovered the extent to which a large proportion of UK adults are financially unprepared for the impact of climate change on their home.
Although 55% of people are worried about the financial impacts of extreme weather (e.g. property damage), one in five (21%) UK adults say they do not have home insurance (buildings or contents).
This is significantly higher among private renters (38%) and those in social housing (44%). Only 4% of those who own their home outright say the same.
Simple flood resilience measures can have an enormous, beneficial impact and can mean the difference between having to move out or being able to stay in your home.
Households do recognise the long-term effects of climate change. Two thirds (65%) of UK adults believe that climate change will have an impact on their home in the next 10 years – and nearly half (45%) said there will be an impact in the next 12 months.
Adam Winslow, Chief Executive Officer of Aviva UK & Ireland General Insurance, said: “When a home floods, there’s not just a financial cost for the people who live there. There is also an emotional cost that comes with seeing treasured possessions being damanged by flood water, as well as living in temporary accommodation while the home is being restored.
“Some people worry that flood resilience measures may to be too obvious or unsightly, but most are unobtrusive and easy to action.
“Simple flood resilience measures can have an enormous, beneficial impact and can mean the difference between having to move out or being able to stay in your home.
“Installing property flood resilience measures such as fitting non-return valves on toilets, raising electrical sockets and raising up appliances such as TV’s, fridges and cookers can all help to protect homes and possessions.
“It’s also essential that we take action to make properties more climate-ready to ensure that we minimise the carbon impact of a restoring a home, which is an essential part of how we respond to climate change.”
Top tips for householders to help them minimise flood damage to their homes:
- Keep important or sentimental items upstairs
- Store items on low shelves in baskets that can be easily moved
- Move electrical items upstairs or as high as you can get so they don’t get damaged by flood water or become an electrocution risk
- Carpets can be expensive to repair, consider replacing them with tiles, solid wood, or concrete flooring instead
- If you are replacing your kitchen, one with free-standing kitchen units on legs could stay safe from floodwater
- Floodgates can be designed to fit your doors and windows, and provide an air-tight barrier against flood water. They are often quick and easy to install, but can be expensive
- If you are considering changing your driveway, consider porous materials like gravel or grass
- Replace airbricks with self-closing airbricks
- Have a plumber add a non-return valve to your toilets and sinks
Aviva’s calls for change
In the second Building Future Communities report, Aviva has issued Seven Calls for Change to help tackle the risks of climate change. More information and a copy of Aviva’s second ‘Building Future Communities’ report can be found at Building Future Communities report 2023 - Aviva
1. Aviva Flood Mapping Data, 2021
2. Environment Agency, ‘Planning for Flood-Resilient Places’, 2021
General Insurance Lead
Protection, Health and Regulation
Notes to editors:
- We are one of the UK’s leading Insurance, Wealth & Retirement businesses and we operate in the UK, Ireland and Canada. We also have international investments in India, China and Singapore.
- We help our 18.7 million customers make the most out of life, plan for the future, and have the confidence that if things go wrong we’ll be there to put it right.
- We have been taking care of people for more than 325 years, in line with our purpose of being ‘with you today, for a better tomorrow’. In 2022, we paid £23.2 billion in claims and benefits to our customers.
- Aviva is a market leader in sustainability. In 2021, we announced our plan to become Net Zero by 2040, the first major insurance company in the world to do so. This plan means Net Zero carbon emissions from our investments by 2040; setting out a clear pathway to get there with a cut of 25% in the carbon intensity of our investments by 2025 and of 60% by 2030; and Net Zero carbon emissions from our own operations and supply chain by 2030. Find out more about our climate goals at www.aviva.com/climate-goals and our sustainability ambition and action at www.aviva.com/sustainability
- While we are working towards our sustainability ambitions, we acknowledge that we have relationships with businesses and existing assets that may be associated with significant emissions. More information can be found at www.aviva.com/sustainability/climate/
- Aviva is a Living Wage and Living Hours employer and provides market-leading benefits for our people, including flexible working, paid carers leave and equal parental leave. Find out more at https://www.aviva.com/about-us/our-people/
- As at 31 December 2022, total Group assets under management at Aviva Group were £352 billion and our estimated Solvency II shareholder surplus is £8.7 billion. Our shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and we are a member of the FTSE 100 index.
- For more details on what we do, our business and how we help our customers, visit www.aviva.com/about-us
- The Aviva newsroom at www.aviva.com/newsroom includes links to our spokespeople images, podcasts, research reports and our news release archive. Sign up to get the latest news from Aviva by email.
- You can follow us on:
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/avivaplc/
- LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/aviva-plc
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/avivaplc
- For the latest corporate films from around our business, subscribe to our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/aviva