Current approaches for assessing large‐scale flood risks contravene the fundamental principles of the flood risk system functioning because they largely ignore basic interactions and feedbacks between atmosphere, catchments, river‐floodplain systems, and socioeconomic processes. As a consequence, risk analyses are uncertain and might be biased. However, reliable risk estimates are required for prioritizing national investments in flood risk mitigation or for appraisal and management of insurance portfolios. We review several examples of process interactions and highlight their importance in shaping spatiotemporal risk patterns. We call for a fundamental redesign of the approaches used for large‐scale flood risk assessment. They need to be capable to form a basis for large‐scale flood risk management and insurance policies worldwide facing the challenge of increasing risks due to climate and global change. In particular, implementation of the European Flood Directive needs to be adjusted for the next round of flood risk mapping and development of flood risk management plans focusing on methods accounting for more process interactions in flood risk systems.