Am I at risk of flooding?

It is estimated that there are now over 5.5 million properties in England and Wales at risk of flooding. Whether from rivers, the sea or surface water, that’s one in six! There’s a high chance one of these properties is your home or business, so here are some things you can do to help yourself.

Don’t wait for the next flood

The cost, inconvenience and heartache of a flood at your home or business means it pays to prepare for flooding.

You may not be able to put preventative measures in place, but there’s still plenty you can do to reduce the impact of a flood.  Act now – you need to be prepared before the flooding starts.

There are lots of things you can do to reduce the damage.

Am I at risk of flooding?

You need to find out. It could save you money, help you protect yourself and your property – and perhaps even save your life.

Even if your home or business is not directly at risk of flooding, whether from rivers or the sea, you could still be affected by surface or groundwater flooding.

Visit or call Floodline on 0345 988 1188 to check whether your property is at risk. The service will help you find out:

  • the likelihood of a place (in England) flooding in the future;
  • what factors could cause or contribute to any potential flooding;
  • where to find more information about managing your flood risk.

The Environment Agency can provide you with a report on the flooding history of a property in England. You can also sign up for warnings.

What can I do about flooding? Protect your property and possessions

There are many things you can do to help yourself. Some are simple and temporary while others involve permanent structural work. Make improvements now, so that even if flood water does enter your property, it causes less damage and cleaning up is faster and easier. This means you could move back home or open for business far more quickly.

The most important thing is to prepare now. Don’t wait until flooding looks likely as you won’t have time to put the measures in place.

Make sure you know how to turn off your gas, electricity and water at the mains.

Try to keep flood water out:

  • Doors: install doors that are specially designed for floods or purpose-built flood boards that can be installed when flooding is predicted.  You could also raise door thresholds.
  • Walls and floors: raise the damp-proof course. Sealing floors, or tanking, can prevent water rising up through the ground.
  • Air bricks: buy specially designed covers that can be placed over ventilation bricks.
  • Drains and pipes: fit non-return valves to drains, and water inlet/outlet pipes.

Accept that flood water might get in

In the case of bigger floods, water will actually need to get in – otherwise there is a danger that the weight of the water outside might cause the building to collapse.

Consider implementing some of these changes that can reduce the damage floodwater might cause in your property:

  • Shelving: put valuable items on high-mounted shelves.
  • Home entertainment: fix your TV and hi-fi to the wall at least 1.5 metres above floor level.
  • Skirting: varnish skirting boards or fit water-resistant skirting.
  • Pump: fit a pump in a basement or under-floor void so you can extract flood water.
  • Walls: dry-line walls using horizontal plasterboard, or use lime-based plaster. Get a special draining system for cavity walls.
  • Flooring: lay tiles and use rugs, rather than fitting carpets.
  • Doors and windows: install uPVC or waxed windows and doors, or varnish.
  • Kitchen and bathroom: use materials such as stainless steel, plastic or solid wood rather than chipboard. Avoid installing built-in electrical appliances.
  • Electricals: raise telephone points, electrical sockets, fuse boxes, controls and wiring to at least 1.5 metres above floor level. Bring cables down the wall to raised sockets.

National Flood Forum

Check out the National Flood Forum’s website which provides lots of information and advice, including what to include in an Emergency Flood Kit.


Check your buildings and contents insurance policies to see what cover is provided for flood damage. If you make changes to your property so it’s more resilient to flooding – make sure you let your insurance company know. This might result in a reduction in excess charges or premiums, depending on your insurer. The Association of British Insurers has more information about resilient repair.

Sign up for warnings

You need to know when to put temporary flood protection measures in place. The Environment Agency’s free Floodline Warnings Direct service can tell you when to do this.

Sign up for Floodline Warnings Direct online at or call Floodline on 0345 988 1188.

Seek professional advice

If you’re going to make permanent changes to protect your property against flooding, we recommended that you first seek professional advice from an Independent Chartered Surveyor.

Contact for further advice and information.