The Association of British Insurers (ABI) is warning that 200,000 homes could be left uninsured after June 2013. This is the expiry date of their agreement with the government which obliges ABI members to provide cover for high-risk homes and small businesses while the government improves flood defences.

The ABI wants the government to share the financial risk beyond this date and discussions have been ongoing for the last two years without a solution.

New properties built after 1 January 2009 and large businesses are outside this agreement and their insurance may be very expensive, or only available on onerous terms if in high risk areas.

Previously, flood searches have been neither standard nor particularly useful, as they only assessed coastal and river flooding. Modern searches take into account all sources of flooding, combined with more accurate mapping, and insurers are now using this same data to refine the price of cover.