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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Things you should know

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 Insurance and Car Insurance are provided and issued by Hollard Insurance Partners Limited ABN 96 067 524 216, AFSL 235030 (Hollard) and distributed by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124, AFSL 234945 (CBA). Hollard is not part of the CBA Group. CBA and its related entities do not sell, issue or guarantee the obligations or performance of Hollard or the products Hollard offers and these insurance products do not represent a deposit with or liability of either CBA or any of its related bodies corporate. If you purchase a Home Insurance and/or Car Insurance policy, CBA is paid a commission which is a percentage of your premium.

For products issued by Hollard, information about the target market can be found within the product’s Target Market Determination available here.

This information has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs.  You should, before acting on this, consider the appropriateness of the product to your circumstances. A Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) 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 this product. You should also read the Premium, Excess and Discount Guide (PEDG), Key Facts Sheets (KFS), and Financial Services Guide (FSG) by clicking on the links, or by calling 13 2423 for a paper copy.