Many households in the UK are at risk of flooding. By planning, preparing, and making your property more resistant and resilient, you can aim to reduce the impact of flooding to yourself and your property. From creating a flood plan to dealing with insurance, there are many resources available to help you plan and prepare for flooding to your home, and ease the recovery process that follows.
Planning ahead for flooding will ensure that you can respond to the incident in the most efficient way. You can do this by creating a basic plan of action, checking your insurance covers flooding, signing up to receive flood alerts and warnings, and understanding your responsibilities.
When buying a house, you should always consider the flood risk to the area and to the property. If you are unsure whether the property is located in a flood risk area, you can check the property’s long term risk of flooding using this map.
It is always a good idea to create a household flood plan if you live in a flood risk area, even if you have never been flooded before. It ensures that when receiving a flood alert or warning you know what actions to take, you can deploy any temporary flood resistance measures efficiently, and you are best prepared to protect your property and belongings from the impacts of flooding.
You can download a printable version of a flood plan here. You can complete this yourself and keep it in a suitable, easy-to-see place in case a friend, relative or neighbour may need to find it in your absence. Take a look at our household flood plan template for ideas of steps to consider.
As part of your flood plan it is a good idea to sign up for free flood alerts and warnings from the Environment Agency which can be received by call, text or email by more than one individual for the household. It is important to understand what the different warnings mean as you can use them as a trigger to put your plan into place at the right time. Aside from Environment Agency warnings, you can also use alternative flood warnings.
Flooding to low lying land and roads is possible – Stay vigilant and make early preparations for a potential flood. Prepare to act on your flood plan.
Actions to consider at a flood alert stage:
Flooding is expected – Immediate action is required to protect yourself and your property. Put your flood plan into action.
Actions to consider at a flood warning stage:
Severe flooding is expected – Significant risk to life and property. Prepare to evacuate and cooperate with emergency services. Evacuate.
At severe flood warning stage:
For more ideas on what you can add to your step-by-step plan of action, download our Household Flood Planning Guide here.
A plan of what to do if you need to evacuate should be included in your flood plan. You should follow local news or contact your local council to find the nearest emergency assistance centre. You can prepare a flood kit containing essential items you would need if you have to leave your house.
It is important that your flood plan is reviewed regularly to ensure that contact details are up to date. You should create a maintenance schedule to check that property flood resilience measures still function correctly, and practice installing them periodically.
Keep important documents in waterproof storage or saved on a memory stick and stored upstairs.
Create a checklist to make sure you have taken all the measures you can to plan and prepare for potential flooding in the future. You can tailor the checklist to suit the specific needs of your household, and it can include points such as:
It is good practice to fully test your flood plan once finished, and run a ‘flood drill’ so everyone in the house knows what to do and what to expect if you ever have to put your plan into place.
Flooding to a household can cause serious damage if you don’t have any flood protection in place, or if the protection you have has failed or is overwhelmed. You should ensure that you have adequate cover for both your buildings and contents. If you live in a flood risk area you will want to be insured for flood risk, however insurance for households in flood risk areas has often been very expensive or even unaffordable.
In 2016 the Flood Re scheme was developed from collaboration between the insurance industry and the Government, and enables householders in flood risk areas to purchase affordable flood insurance. Please be aware that any households built after 2009 are not eligible for the Flood Re scheme, so make sure you are eligible first.
For more information on how Flood Re works, download our ‘Flood Insurance: Flood Re’ resource here.
Only a landlord can insure the building itself. If you live in rented accommodation you may be able to insure your contents for flood risk through Flood Re if you qualify for the scheme. The Flood Re website outlines the conditions under which they will cover a tenant’s contents in a rented or leasehold property, and states the types of properties that are not eligible.
As a landlord you are not eligible to insure the building through Flood Re, as leasing a property is classed as a business. See our section on business flood insurance for more information on how to insure your building.
For information on how to deal with flood insurance when flooding has occurred, see our ‘Handling your Insurance’ section here.