How to plan and prepare for flooding

A plan will help you prepare for the worst of our weather

Up to one in six of our homes are at risk from flooding according to government experts , bringing disruption to many  living in home insurance flood risk areas. A plan will help you know what to do if you’re at risk of:

  • Surface floods from heavy rainfall
  • Burst water mains
  • An inland waterway such as a river or canal bursting its banks
  • Seawater overwhelming nearby coastal defences

What steps can you take before a flood?

1) Keep a flood plan in a safe place

Your plan will help you to act quickly and in an organised way. It should include contact details for organisations like Floodline and your flood risk home insurance and utility companies. Keep a copy in a waterproof bag where you can easily find it if the worst happens.

Download your Personal Flood Plan (PDF, 57KB).pdf - opens in a new tab

2) Check your flood risk and register for warnings

As a first step you can check flood maps for your area:

England or Wales, see the Environment Agency website

Scotland, see the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency website

Northern Ireland, see the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development website

You can also register for free 24-hour flood warnings for your area, by phone, text or email. Register by calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188, or going online to the Environment Agency service.

Check that your insurer provides house insurance for flood risk areas.

3) Keep an emergency kit in a safe place

Check that it includes contact numbers for your electricity, gas, and water suppliers and your provider of flood risk insurance. It should also include essential items such as:

  • Emergency money
  • Your flood risk home insurance documents
  • A first aid kit
  • A battery-powered torch and radio

4) Install flood protection products

There are many products designed to repel floodwater, such as flood boards and airbrick covers, for example. Non-return valves and toilet bungs can help to prevent flooding from sewer backflow. An independent directory of flood protection products and services is available at the National Flood Forum.

5) Make sure you know how to turn off your electricity, gas, and water supplies

If you’re not sure, ask your supplier for advice.

What steps can you take during a flood?

1) If it’s safe to do so turn off your electricity and gas supply. Never touch the electricity supply if you’re standing in water.

2) Turn off all your water pipes using non-return valves if you have them fitted, or by plugging the pipes with towels or cloths. Disconnect any equipment taking water from the mains supply, like dishwashers, washing machines and fridges with drinking water dispensers.

3) If it’s safe to do so move your valuable items upstairs, or to a high point in your property, and make sure you know the safest route to leave the building.

4) If you must evacuate your home, pack spare clothing, make sure you have your emergency kit and follow any advice given to you by the emergency services.

What steps should you take after a flood?

1) Only re-enter your home when it’s safe to do so. The emergency services will advise you.

2) Contact your gas, electricity and water suppliers to confirm if your area has been reconnected.

3) Before you use them your gas and electric systems should be inspected by qualified engineers because:

  • Gas pipes may be blocked.
  • Flues and ventilation systems may be damaged or blocked
  • Your main fuse system may have been flooded
  • Your trip switch may be out of action 

4) Remove items that are damaged beyond repair, but don’t throw anything away just yet. Keep samples of carpets or rugs that have been damaged.

5) Take photographs of damaged items and areas to help support your claim from your provider of flood risk home insurance.

6) If it’s practical and safe to do so, open windows so the property can begin to dry out

7) Your home should be professionally assessed – possibly by engineers and surveyors – before you move back in

Help and guidance

Insuring your home can sometimes feel overwhelming, so we're here to help make things as simple as possible.

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How to check if you’re covered

If you’re an existing home insurance customer, here’s a link to our policy booklets so that you can check what’s covered, what’s available as additional cover, as well as advice on making claims and frequently asked questions.

View your policy booklets Policy booklets.