Prepare for flooding

We recommend that you find out the potential risk of flooding for where you live, and look at ways in which you can reduce this risk for you and your household.

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How to make your property more resilient

There are many ways you can become more resilient to flooding.

Prepare action plans, contact lists and flood kits  

There is a lot of guidance on how to prepare for a flood, so that you and your family can protect yourselves, the building and contents of your home, and the land around you.   

Creating a flood plan for your household is a very effective and simple way to ensure that you and your family are prepared and know what to do in the event of a flood.  

Here are some resources to help you:

Don’t forget, if you have any questions, you can always contact us.

Property flood resilience (PFR)

Property flood resilience (PFR) is the term used to describe measures that can be fitted to your property or surrounding land or buildings that will help protect it from flooding.  

PFR comes in two forms; 

  •  resistance measures - things that try to prevent water getting into your home, or 

  •  resilience measures - things that allow you to recover from flooding more quickly.   

Examples of PFR include:

  • flood barriers
  • flood doors
  • air brick covers and
  • non-return valves for toilets and wastewater pipes. 

Almost every property in the UK can benefit from PFR to some degree. For more information visit the property flood resilience pages on the Flood Hub.

Flood resilience measures can be expensive to install. However, there are cheap and simple steps that can be taken to help protect your property and contents.  

Equipment

You can find out what equipment may be available to you with some initial estimates of the costs involved, using the National Flood Forum's Protection Advisor’s ready recknor tool.

Blue Pages is a directory of property flood products and services put together to advise and inform you of what’s available to help reduce the risk of flooding to your home.

Sandbags

You'll need to contact your local authority directly to find out if they hold sand bags.

However, they are offered on a first come, first served basis and may not be enough to protect your property.  Councils will become quickly overwhelmed with demand during a flood, so you'll most likely need to collect them yourself.

In some cases, parish councils and community resilience groups may also hold a supply of sandbags. Please check your local flood plan or your parish council for more information.  

Flooding often happens very quickly and we strongly recommend that you do not rely on this service. If you think you may need sandbags, it could be worth considering getting them from a DIY store in advance.  

    Check drainage around your property 

    You should regularly inspect any drainage that might impact your property to make sure that it is clear and running fine.

    This can be any of the following directly on your property:

    • gutters
    • drains
    • downpipes
    • soakaways
    • ditches, and
    • watercourses.

    It can also include the following that might not be on your property but will still impact you if they don’t work properly:

    • highway drains
    • watercourses etc.,

    Visit the Flood Hub’s blog on how to reduce flood risk from autumn leaves and the Environment Agency's Reduce the impact of groundwater on your property pages.

    Taking some time to inspect these assets (where practical) and arranging for them to be cleared (if they are your responsibility to maintain) or reporting them (if they are not your responsibility to maintain), will help ensure your property can drain effectively in a flood. 

    If you would like to report an issue with a third-party asset such as a drain or watercourse etc., please see our who to contact on our Report a flood page.  

    Responsibilities of living next to a watercourse  

    You are a riparian landowner if you own a stretch of watercourse that runs on or under your land or on the boundary of your land up to its centre.   

    Find out about your responsibilities and rules for watercourses on or near your property on our Regulation of activities on watercourses page

    Insurance  

    Regardless of whether you have protections in place, there is always a chance they can fail or a flood is great enough to overwhelm them.

    Flooding to a property is not only devastating, but extremely expensive, as often the fabric of the property, such as plaster, dry walls, brick courses, flooring etc., need to be repaired or replaced. This is especially true if the water is contaminated. You should always ensure you have adequate flood cover in place through insurance.   

    For further expert advice on flood insurance, how to ensure you have the best insurance, and what to do if it becomes too expensive, we would recommend you visit one of our partner pages below.  

    • The Flood Hub 
    • The National Flood Forum  (a charity organisation that supports people and communities at risk of flooding)
    • ABI The Association of British Insurers, is the UK's leading insurance industry body -  a useful source of information to include how flooding/flood risk can affect your premiums.  

    Flood RE 

    Flood RE was created in 2016 as a collaboration between the insurance industry and the UK government to make flood cover more widely available and affordable as part of your home insurance.

    It is designed to make reinsurance for properties affected by flooding much more affordable, but also makes it available to households that might otherwise be unable to get insurance.

    Flood RE also includes the ‘Build Back Better’ scheme, participating insurers can now offer reimbursement costs of up to £10,000 over and above the cost of flood repairs and losses to allow homeowners to install property flood resilience (PFR) measures. This means that flooded properties can get measures installed to help prevent another event. PFR can also help reduce the cost of your insurance premiums going forward.  

    Flood RE is a passive scheme that is applied automatically to participating insurers quotes and premiums. You do not need to apply for it or ask for it specifically from insurers.  

    For more information on Flood RE or to find the list of participating insurers, please visit the Flood RE website.  

    Who to contact for support if I’m at risk  

    You can contact flood risk management agencies listed on our Report a flood page 

    Further reading