Flood Prevention and Safety

Almost anywhere it rains, it can flood. Even if you live in an area of that you think isn’t at risk, preparation is just as critical as with other types of emergencies.

Before we get into how you can prevent, limit or react to flooding, it’s important to note that flood damage is typically not covered by your homeowners or renters insurance. There are specialized flood insurance programs that we at Carriage Insurance Agency can discuss with you. Just contact us at 425-888-5066 or jody@carriageagency.com for more information if you live in Washington.


The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends a number of steps to stay safe during emergencies and limit damage from flooding. 


  • Avoid building in high-risk flood plain areas to minimize your exposure.
  • Know the elevation of your property in relation to nearby bodies of water.  If your home is not on high ground, know how to get to high ground quickly.
  • Be aware of flood watches and warnings.  If a flood watch or warning has been issued, move your family to high ground. In some cases, flood insurance will reimburse you for the cost of moving and temporarily storing the contents of your home.
  • REMEMBER: YOUR HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE POLICY DOES NOT COVER FLOOD DAMAGE.  If you decide to buy flood insurance, consider insuring your home for 100% of the replacement cost and be sure to buy coverage to cover the contents of your home.
  • Stay informed about weather conditions both where you are and upstream.  Distant rain or snowmelt can cause a flood headed in your direction in minutes
  • Elevate your furnace and water heater so that they are less likely to be affected in a flood.
  • Consider installing “check valves” to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home.
  • Seal your basement walls with waterproof material to help protect your home.
  • Construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering your home
  • Build an emergency kit for your family containing such items as drinking water and nonperishable food for each member of your family (two-week supply), flashlights,  a radio, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, necessary medications, personal hygiene items and copies of important documents.
  • Create a communication plan so family members can reach one another.


If a flood is likely in your area, quick action may be necessary to protect your family and property. You should:

  • Get information from the radio or television.
  • Move immediately to higher ground if there is any possibility of a flash flood. Do not wait for instructions to move.
  • If you need to evacuate, secure your home and move essential items to an upper floor.
  • Turn off utilities if instructed to do so, and disconnect electrical appliances. However, do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
  • Do not walk through moving water if it is above your knees— it can make you fall. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas.  If the vehicle stalls, you and the vehicle may be swept away.  If you are caught in your vehicle in floodwater, abandon your car immediately and climb to higher ground.
  • Be aware that flood water may be contaminated by oil, chemicals, gasoline or sewage.  
  • If you have evacuated your home, do not return until authorities tell you it is safe.


Flooding can cause emotional stress along with physical hazards, so be mindful of the well-being of you and your family during the aftermath.

  • If you have flood insurance, contact your insurance company as soon as possible.
  • Make sure your city’s water supply is safe to drink.  If not, drink only boiled water.
  • Discard any fresh food that may be contaminated by floodwaters.
  • Clean and disinfect everything that was in contact with floodwater.
  • Floodwater can be contaminated by oil, gasoline or sewage, so avoid contact as much as possible.
  • Stay away from disaster areas so your do not impede rescue efforts or other emergency efforts.

The Red Cross has a free book available called “Repairing Your Flooded Home,” which contains useful information as you clean up. It’s available at www.redcross.org. Of course, don’t hesitate to contact Carriage Insurance as well — we’re ready to help!

Flooding is one of the most common hazards in the U.S. Being prepared for any emergency is crucial for the safety of you and your family. Don’t be caught off guard!