Preparing for floods in Australia

Significant floods occur in parts of Australia each year despite the fact that it is such a dry continent and is often affected by serious drought. These floods cause extensive damage and, sadly, fatalities. However, you can take action before, during and after a flood to mitigate the impact of the flood on your home and family.

When floods occur, your family’s safety comes first. Contact 000 in any emergency, or your local state emergency service.

Precautions you can take ahead of floods

  • Evaluate your flood risk. Find out if your home has ever been flooded, and find out from your local council or state emergency service if you live in a flood-prone area.
  • Change your landscaping. Trees and shrubs planted around your home can help mitigate erosion, slow down fast-flowing water and divert water away from your home.
  • Draw up a Home Emergency Plan that includes where you and your family will go if you have to evacuate your home and how you will contact each other if separated.
  • Keep a list of emergency telephone numbers within easy reach – local/state emergency service, police, ambulance, hospital, gas and electricity – plus details of local relief centres and evacuation routes.
  • Put together an “emergency pack” containing tinned food, a tin-opener, water, a first-aid kit, blankets, warm clothing, spare batteries, matches and gloves.
  • Equip yourself with a battery-powered portable radio and torch so that you can stay updated on power restoration and evacuation alerts if the power is cut.
  • Gather sentimental, important and valuable items, documents and photos that you can take with you should you need to evacuate. Place them in waterproof bags.

Precautions you can take as flooding threatens

  • Monitor weather forecasts and emergency alerts.
  • Carry your mobile phone with you.
  • Secure potentially hazardous items that could move around in floodwaters, such as outdoor furniture and fuel tanks.
  • Open gates so that flood water can flow freely through them.
  • Move household and electrical items to a higher place. Place furniture on beds and personal items on furniture. Roof spaces can be used if they can support the weight of the items placed within.
  • Remove wood drawers from built-ins, cabinets and furniture. Wood swells when wet.
  • Switch off utilities: electricity, gas and water. Disconnect electrical appliances.
  • Empty and leave open fridges and freezers to prevent floatation.
  • Install a sewage water backstop, or place a strong plastic bag full of sand or earth in the toilet bowl and over drainage holes in the bathroom and laundry to prevent sewage from flowing back into your home.
  • Ensure that doors and windows are shut tightly. You can seal doors and windows with plywood, plastic, silicon or duct tape.
  • Seal the points round your home where water can get in, such as ventilation holes and basement entry points.
  • Place heavy duty plastic around the base of your home on the outside, tape the plastic to the walls, and place sandbags on the plastic.
  • Do not drive into flood water and avoid driving at night.
  • Do not swim in floodwater.

What to do after a flood

  • Return home only when authorities indicate that it is safe.
  • Wear rubber boots and rubber or leather gloves.
  • Check for gas or water leaks.
  • Check with electricity, gas and water authorities to determine if supply has been interrupted or is safe to be turned on.
  • Do not switch on power and electrical appliances until they have been checked and approved for use.
  • Clean and disinfect everything that got wet because it may be contaminated by sewage or chemicals in the floodwater. When cleaning, wear protective gloves and a mask.
  • Do not eat food that has been in floodwater because it may be contaminated.
  • Do not drink water straight from a tap until authorities declare it safe. Until then, boil the water before drinking it.
  • Take photos and record all damage in case the photos and records are needed to support insurance claims.

Ensure you have the right cover for your circumstances

At Allianz, we’ve been helping Australians get back on their feet after adverse events for over 100 years.

But, you should always check that your insurance policy has the right level of cover for you.

We offer cover for a range of insured events such as storm and cyclone. If available, flood can be added as an optional cover to your home or landlord policy. Please note, a 72 hour exclusion period may apply.

For full details about what is and isn’t covered, check your Product Disclosure Statement, Policy Schedule or Certificate of Insurance.

Not yet with Allianz?

Check out our range of insurance policies here.

How to lodge a claim

Our first priority is your safety. Please keep yourself and your family out of harm’s way until the danger is over. Then, when it’s safe to do so, contact us when possible.

The Allianz Claims Services Team will be ready to assist with enquiries and lodging claims to ensure you receive prompt, expert assistance and support.

If your property and/or motor vehicles are damaged as a result of cyclones, flooding, storms or bushfires, it’s best to lodge a claim online here to minimise delays. A Claims Team consultant will contact you as soon as possible.

Or, call us on 13 10 13, or contact your broker.

Our Claims Team is here to help you. You don’t need your policy documents. Our Claims Team can locate these details for you.