1. Be informed

Your local radio station, State Emergency Service, and the Bureau of Meteorology website usually share upcoming weather forecasts and flood warnings. Check in with your local council for local information, advice and updates.

2. Save important contact details

Write a list of emergency phone numbers, including local emergency services, hospitals and essential services providers, like gas, electricity and telecommunications. You may need to contact these providers if your home is impacted by flood.

3. Turn off power and gas

When dealing with potential flooding, the NSW State Emergency Service suggests to immediately disconnect your electricity, gas and water for safety reasons. Check with your electricity, water and gas providers on their recommended action plan.

4. Take steps to minimise damage

If a flood warning is issued, you can reduce the amount of damage to your belongings by rolling up rugs/carpet, move furniture, electrical items and valuables to a higher level, as summarised by Department of Fire & Emergency Services - Prepare for flooding.

To help prevent a backflow of sewage, you could place a strong bag filled with sand or earth in toilet bowls and over shower and bath drains.

5. Make an evacuation plan

Check with your local council about safe routes and evacuation centres – so you know where to go if your home is no longer safe. It’s a good idea for all family members to be aware of the evacuation plan, and how you will find each other if you become separated.

6. Decide what to take

Where possible, you can prepare an emergency kit in advance, including first aid and medications, a torch, food and water, blankets and dry clothing, and important documents. Store any documents or photographs in a waterproof bag to help protect them from water damage.

7. Protect your car

Your car is a valuable asset, and even more important if you need it to get away following a disaster. In a flood, consider where your car will be safest – whether it’s on high ground or in a garage.

And of course, remember it is not considered safe to attempt to drive in floodwaters – just 15cm of water can cause you to lose control.

8. Stay safe

Your safety is paramount and it’s important not to compromise this at any time. While you may want to protect your home and belongings, consider what you need to prioritise if the flood is advancing.

As advised by the NSW State Emergency Services, it’s not considered safe to walk or drive in floodwaters. As well as hidden hazards and contamination, there’s the risk of being swept away.

9. Check your insurance

Check your home and car insurance regularly and ensure your cover is adequate and up to date. This can include checking if your insurance policy includes flood or understanding the inclusions and exclusions of flood cover in case you need to make a claim. For instance, does your policy cover loss or damage to retaining walls or pool and spa liners?

Generally, there’s a 48-hour waiting period after starting a policy before you can claim on flood damage. Check your policy, as waiting periods vary with each insurer.

You can get help estimating the replacement cost of your building and contents using the Building Insurance Calculator or Contents Insurance Calculator as a guide.

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This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice.

Home and Car Insurance is provided by CommInsure, a registered business name of Commonwealth Insurance Limited ABN 96 067 524 216 AFSL 235030 (CIL). CIL is a wholly owned non-guaranteed subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 (The Bank). The Bank does not guarantee the obligations or performance of CIL or the products it offers. As this information has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this you should consider the appropriateness to your circumstances.

A Product Disclosure Statement is available at all Commonwealth Bank branches, by downloading them from commbank.com.au or by calling 13 2423 and should be considered before making any decisions about these products. You should also read the Home Insurance Key Fact Sheet, Financial Services Guide and Privacy Policy which are also available by calling 13 2423. The target market for this product will be found within the product’s Target Market Determination, available at commbank.com.au/tmd.