Churchill magazine

What you need to know about flood damage to your home

Updated on: 26 November 2021

Two people wear wellington boots while stood in a flooded house.

Floods are natural events caused by heavy rainfall or high tides. While you might think your home won’t get flooded, an Environmental Agency report from October 2018 states that at least one in six properties is at risk of flooding in England.

Read on to find out what you can do to reduce flood damage and what to do should your home suffer damage.

How to prevent or reduce flood damage

Remember, you don’t have to live in or near a flood risk area to be affected by flooding; heavy rain can also overwhelm drainage systems. Just watch our short video or see the steps shown below.

Steps to take

  • Find out if your home is in a flood risk area. You can do that by contacting the environment agency. You can also sign up for free flood text alerts. During prolonged heavy rain listen to local radio or television for warnings.

  • Keep your important documents such as insurance policies, bank details and useful contact numbers in a dry, easy to get to place. Upstairs is best.

  • You also need to make sure you can turn off gas and electricity at short notice. Check you can get to your electricity mains or gas tap, and only turn them off if it’s safe to do so.

  • You can use sandbags to block doorways and air-bricks to help stop water getting inside. If you don’t have sandbags, you can fill heavy-duty bin bags or plastic bags with sand or earth.

  • Help reduce damage by putting things in higher places, or moving them upstairs. If there’s time, roll up rugs and put them in a dry place. Take down curtains or lift them over their curtain rails to keep them out of the way.

  • You could make a flood emergency kit. Things worth including are: key personal documents, a torch, radio – and extra batteries. Warm clothing, blankets, rubber gloves, boots, a first aid kit and cleaning equipment could also come in handy. Try to keep a stock of food, can opener and bottled water handy. And maybe have a plan in mind if you’re advised to leave your home because of flooding.

Download the flood prevention guide.

What to do after a flood

Despite your best efforts to reduce the damage of a flood, a severe flood is likely to leave behind damage to your home and possessions. Here’s what you should do after a flood.

  • Visit the Churchill claims page and get in touch as soon as you can.

  • Check with the claims team if you need to move to alternative accommodation. They will also need to know how to contact you.

  • If water has flooded wiring or electrical systems, don’t touch them before you have arranged a professional inspection. Turn off the electricity at the mains if it’s safe to do so.

  • Wash taps and run them for a few minutes before use.

  • Open doors, windows and cupboard doors to ventilate the house, but make sure your house and valuables are secure.

  • Dry out rugs and cushions but don’t lift carpets unless absolutely necessary as they may shrink.

  • Restock any supplies that you have used as soon as possible to make sure you’re prepared in the event of another flood.

  • Don’t rush to redecorate your home as it can take weeks for a flood-damaged property to fully dry out.

  • Take photographs of the damage to your building and contents as they may help with the settlement of your claim.

  • Don’t throw away ruined possessions as they’ll need to be assessed as part of any claim.

For more help and advice during a flood, call the Environment Agency’s Floodline on 0345 988 1188 and stay tuned to local radio.

Download the flood damage guide.

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