“Winter is Coming”: Uncovering the Realities of Climate Change for Welsh Households

As the extreme winter weather approaches, and COP26 brings to the fore issues around climate change, it’s crucial that people begin to consider the realities of changing weather patterns on their everyday lives. New research from Quotezone.co.uk shows that the impacts of climate change could have very real consequences for many households across Wales and across the UK as a whole.

As the frequency of flooding and storms increases with the effects of climate change, it is possible that more residential areas could be classified as residing within Flood Zone 3, which means the Environment Agency classifies those areas as ‘land having a 1 in 100 or greater annual probability of river flooding; or ‘land having a 1 in 200 or greater annual probability of sea flooding’. If a home is classified as residing within Flood Zone 3 there’s a strong probability its home insurance premiums will start to increase.

In fact, new data from Quotezone.co.uk, based on a sample size of more than 350,000 home insurance policies, reveals that on average, insurance premiums increase by 128% if there is a history of flooding. Moreover, the data reveals that if the property is within 200m of a river, insurance premiums will on average increase by 38%.  With 14% of the national population living within one kilometre of a waterway, this has the potential to impact 8 million households in England and Wales alone.

Landlords will also need to consider additional and potentially surprising costs imposed by the government’s focus on helping to reduce climate change. For example, Boris Johnson has promised to start enforcing the Minimum Energy Efficiency more forcefully with more fines – currently set at a hefty £5,000 – likely to be issued to landlords who fail to comply.

Another issue, flying under the radar for many, is that homes may become harder to sell. Data from the British Geological Survey (BGS) suggests that the growing climate crisis is very likely to put millions of homes at increased risk of subsidence – making many houses in the UK much more difficult to sell.

Buyers are likely to become more particular when it comes to assessing whether houses are adequately equipped to meet the challenges of climate change – including, ample insulation, low-carbon heating, high energy efficient appliances, and flood resistance.  Without appropriate and potentially costly measures put in place, many homes may become less desirable to potential buyers.

Greg Wilson, Founder of home insurance comparison website Quotezone.co.uk comments:  “The heightened awareness of climate issues as a result of COP26 is hugely positive.  However, while the bigger impacts have been well documented, the effect of climate change on the day-to-day cost of living on households across the UK has flown relatively under the radar.

“As winter approaches, in more than one sense of the word as a seasonal change and the reality of a serious climate crisis intensifies, the immediate risk of flooding and storms continues to grow year on year. If homeowners are already living in areas susceptible to flooding, they can shop around for insurance quotes by using a comparison website, it may still be possible to find a suitable home insurance policy that will pay out if the house suffers flood damage – especially if homeowners install preventative measures.”

There are quick and cost-effective options to help protect your home from flooding, including placing valuables in special waterproof bags, or ensuring that they are placed high within a room. For homeowners looking for preventative methods, installing water sensors to detect rising water is also a relatively inexpensive step to mitigating the impact of flooding.

Particularly as the harsh winter weather approaches, it is worth considering the impacts of storms. Making sure that any nearby trees are well maintained and cut back, as well as ensuring that roof tiles are sturdy, will help avoid any of the usual damage caused by storms. The same can be said for loose fences, and any other objects in the garden like barbecues, garden gnomes and children’s toys.

Quotezone.co.uk helps around 3 million users every year, with over 400 insurance brands across 60 different products including niche items such as flat roof home insurance, flood risk home insurance and subsidence home insurance.