Flooding this winter: What you need to know to prevent floods in your home

23 Feb 2024
3 min read
Wellingtons in flood water

Flood season is upon us and while September might have been the warmest on record, we’re now looking at cold, wet and windy weather.

One in six homes in the UK are at risk from flooding

The Met Office are working their way through the annual alphabet of storm names and they’re set to increase in frequency as we get further into winter.

A staggering one in six homes in the UK are at risk from flooding – that’s around 5 million people who live in flood risk homes.

It may come as a shock to most people but you’re more likely to get flooded than you are burgled. However, while loads of us have locks on our windows and doors and invest in security measures such as video doorbells, people are surprisingly in the dark about protecting their home from the very real risk of flooding.

Sign up for flood warnings

It’s staggering to think, but only 41 per cent of people eligible for free flood warnings from the Environment Agency are signed up to them. In an emergency situation, time is everything so having advanced notice of danger saves money, stress and lives.

There’s a misconception that you’re only at risk from floods if you live beside the water but the reality is you can be far away from water and still be at risk of inundation due to surface or ground water flooding .

Check your risks

Flooded land and houses

25 per cent of flooding occurs in areas that are formally designated as being outside of flood risk zones.

A massive 25 per cent of flooding occurs in areas that are formally designated as being outside of flood risk zones.

If you want to equip yourself with essential knowledge you can log onto https://www.gov.uk/check-long-term-flood-risk which will tell you your long term flood risk in England.

Wales has: https://naturalresources.wales/flooding/check-your-flood-risk-by-postcode/?lang=en and Scotland has https://map.sepa.org.uk/floodmaps

Don’t just check for yourself though. Elderly relatives or neighbours may not know how to check for themselves so while you’re on the sites, help other members of your family assess their risk too and for where you work.

Knowledge is power when it comes to protecting your home

Surveys suggest that less than a third of people know what to do to make their homes more resilient to flooding.

There’s plenty of flood advice here: https://onehome.org.uk/?s=flood both on how to prepare beforehand and what you can do afterwards too.

Check your policy to make sure your home insurance is watertight – pun intended. You want to make sure you’re covered for all types of flooding, these include: River, coastal, surface water, sewer and ground water flooding. The last occurs when the water table – all the water in the ground – rises and floods from underneath properties.

If you are in a high risk zone, insurance, including for contents, can be hard to find but a scheme called FloodRe exists to make sure every home, built before 1990, can be insured.

Come up with a plan

Make sure you have a plan for people and pets too – flood water moves fast and you may have very little time after being alerted to leave your home. It’s worth letting everyone know what your ideas are and giving the adults in your home roles you want them to do should the worst happen.

Storm season is getting worse due to climate change and brings increased risks to people and properties. Being prepared and thinking about what you’ll do will make a huge difference should the worst happen.

Also invest in property flood equipment. You can find suppliers here


Keeping the water out when the heavens open requires forward thinking and small purchases such as covers for air bricks, toilet bungs and door barriers. Sandbags are unlikely to keep the water out as you weather the storm.


The information in this article was correct at the time of writing and is provided for guidance only. Please see the full disclaimer in our terms and conditions.

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