Guide to preparing your home for floods in New South Wales

Tips for preparing early for a flood

Many of us Australians live in flood-prone areas so it’s sometimes a question of ‘when’, not ‘if’, a flood will occur. In some areas of New South Wales, floods are part of life, and locals know they must prepare their homes well before the first signs of high water.

These tips could be helpful even if you don’t live in an area that experiences regular flooding, but you want to be prepared.

Tips for preparing early for a flood (months or years in advance)

  • Consider raising power outlets above estimated flood levels.
  • Install a safety switch and test it regularly.
  • Prepare an emergency kit with items including first aid materials, medications, torches, batteries, water, and a spare mobile phone. Keep the kit in a waterproof container.
  • Prepare an evacuation plan for your home or property and review it annually.
  • Buy what you need for a flood. If you wait until water is rising to try and buy things like sand bags, torches, or batteries, there’s a good chance your local shops will be sold out.
  • Think about what information you would need if you lost your paperwork and documents. Back up important documents with electronic versions by scanning or photographing them. If you can do so safely, electronically store information such as passwords, usernames, or policy/serial numbers. For example, you could email these documents to yourself.
  • If you don’t feel safe storing information online, you could save it on a password-protected USB and make sure to take it with you if you evacuate.
  • Another option is to store important documents in water-proof containers (or do both).
  • Consider if taking out flood insurance is right for you.

Tips to prepare your home for floods (in the lead up to the flood)

  • Store any poisons or chemicals above ground level and away from children. 
  • Where safe, position any household items higher up, such as on benches, tables, or beds.
  • Tie down outdoor equipment or place it in a shed, garage, or indoors.
  • Consider placing sandbags around doors and entrances (but plan how you would remove water that could become trapped between sandbags and your property).
  • Turn off your power, gas, and water where safe to do so.
  • Unplug appliances (when safe to do so) to reduce the chance of an electrical shock when the power is turned back on.

Always having preparations in place could be helpful if your home or property is ever affected by flood. If flood warnings are issued in your area, instead of rushing out at the last minute to buy sandbags, or darting around trying to find important documents, you can instead focus on the steps you can only complete last minute, like putting out sand bags, or placing household items above flood level.

Tips for preparing for floods in New South Wales

The NSW SES  says that understanding the risk of a flood in your area is a good first step, including how past flood events have impacted your property. Investigating where evacuation centres will be set up is also important. For emergency help in floods and storms, NSW residents can call the NSW SES on 132 500. NSW SES have also provided Emergency Plan templates, which NSW residents can use to help prepare for floods to their home or businesses.

Check you’re covered

It could be the most important tip of all: check your insurance cover! It’s important to know what is and isn’t covered when it comes to your home and floods. It’s also a good idea for you to ensure your level of insurance will adequately cover your home and contents should they be affected by flood. Peace of mind might be a better option than taking a risk, especially with Australia’s unpredictable climate.

Explore Home and Contents Insurance  

Find out more about flood safety.

Insurance issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as GIO. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement  before buying this insurance.


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