Check for flooding in your area and see flood warnings.
The Environment Agency estimates that over 5.5 million properties in England and Wales are at risk of flooding. If your home is flooded, this can be costly and damaging both in terms of money and to you personally.
The Environment Agency provides information on all types of flooding and the risk level for all properties in England and Wales.
You can check the flood risk for your property. You will also be able to find information about your Local Lead Flood Authority.
If you live in a high risk property or neighbourhood, we will write and tell you to ensure you are aware of this when you move in.
Flood water is often dangerous, due to its speed, depth, hidden obstacles or contamination in the water.
The most important thing to do is to make sure that you and your family remain safe.
Either move upstairs if you are able to and call for assistance, or leave the property by a safe, dry route.
If anyone remains in the flooded property and the mains electricity supply was not turned off before the flood, do not touch any electrical appliances until you are told it is safe to do so and stay out of floodwater.
You should let us know and your contents insurance company that your home has been flooded.
Other things to consider:
- Make sure that you let your family know where you are and that you are safe, so they don’t worry. They may be able to help.
- Find your local flood action group or flood warden. If there’s been a serious flood, your local authority may have chosen a place like the town hall as a ‘flood hub’ from which to organise recovery efforts. You may also have a nearby flood warden or flood action group.
- You may want to notify your employer what has happened as your activities are likely to be disrupted initially.
If you rent your home, in the event of flooding Stonewater will work with our insurers to ensure that you have alternative accommodation if you are unable to stay in your home or we will support you to stay with friends or relatives.
We will work with our contractors or one appointed by our insurer to dry out and carry out the necessary repairs to the structure of your home.
Stonewater will not replace any damaged personal possessions, so it's important that you have adequate contents insurance.
What causes flooding?
Flooding has a number of causes and is broken down into four types:
Coastal – this occurs when low lying coastal land is flooded by seawater from heavy storms and extreme weather conditions that cause a higher tide.
River – this is caused when rivers overflow due to high rainfall and spill onto the flood plain.
Surface water – this is also known as flash flooding. It is usually unexpected and caused by sudden heavy rainfall or melting snow where water that has fallen onto a hard surface cannot roll away or find a drain. It also happens when water falls onto a vegetated or soft surface that is already saturated so it can’t soak up any more water.
Groundwater – this is caused by prolonged periods of rainfall when underground water levels rise above their normal levels and reach the surface.
What can I do to protect my family and belongings?
We’ve put together a full page of information on protecting your family and belongings from flooding.
How do I return home safely after a flood?
It is important that you do not return to your home until you are told it is safe to do so by the emergency services or Local Lead Flood Authority.
When safe to do so, remember:
- Do not walk or drive through floodwater unless instructed by emergency services.
- Stay out of water unless it is unavoidable. There are often hidden dangers below the surface which can entangle you and drag you under. Moving flood water is even more dangerous, even shallow depths can pull you over.
- Do not turn on the mains services to your property. If these were turned off before you left your property, check with your utility service provider that it is safe to do so. They may need to inspect your property before you can safely turn on and use these services.
- Wear suitable protective clothing (face mask and gloves as a minimum) and footwear. Flood water may contain harmful substances like sewage, chemicals and animal waste which could make you unwell. If you come into contact with flood water, wash your hands thoroughly.
- Always have a means of communications. Make sure you have a working mobile phone with you so you can call for help. As the electricity may remain turned off, you may have to rely on the phone, rather than your computer, to contact necessary organisations such as Stonewater or your contents insurer.
- Take photos of everything that is damaged – furniture, carpets, curtains, and possessions. They may help as part of any insurance claim.
- Don’t eat food that’s touched flood water. If your electricity is off, don’t eat fresh food from a fridge after 4 hours or from a freezer after 24 hours. The Food Standards Agency offers detailed food safety advice for flood victims.
You can find general advice about staying safe and healthy after a flood at Public Health England.
You can get also support from your local health protection team to prevent and reduce the effect of diseases.