Does insurance cover flood water damage? An emergency guide

An insurance agent evaluates a flooded yard

For three years in a row, Australians on the east and north coasts have been deluged with unprecedented rainfall – mostly due to La Niña weather patterns and worsening climate change. This is especially impactful for the nearly one in five Australians at risk of flood damage.

Here’s our resource roundup of all things flood insurance and disaster relief in case of emergency.

For Immediate Assistance

  • For life-threatening situations, please contact Triple Zero (000).
  • NSW SES and Queensland SES both have information on severe weather events and can be contacted for emergency assistance. 
  • BOM Weather radar will have government information on weather events that can be used in insurance claims.
  • Major banks have announced support packages for flood victims. If you bank with NAB, Westpac, ANZ, CBA, or St. George, there are customer assistance payments available. Here’s a complete list of options, including how to contact.
  • The Insurance Council of Australia has declared the February 2022 flooding in Southeast Queensland to be a catastrophe. This means the insurance industry will prioritise and escalate its responses to affected policyholders in the area. NOTE: In order to make a claim on your home flood insurance, you need to have had a policy in place for at least 72 hours prior to the floods.
Emergency flood warning signs on a road

FAQ - Everything you need to know about home flood insurance

Does home insurance cover flooding?

Absolutely – though it’s usually an ‘opt-in’ cover. Here’s our quick guide to home flood insurance to get you started.

What’s covered by flood insurance?

Generally, flood insurance will cover things like the cost of repairs or replacement if your home and valuables are damaged in a flood, as well as temporary accommodation if your home is uninhabitable. 

If you’re unsure about what’s covered in your policy, check your provider’s relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). 

We’ve also got a handy jargon buster for home and content insurance if you’re unsure what the terms mean, and some tips for avoiding traps in your insurance policy. Beware of these common exclusions in your home insurance policy, too.

What’s the best home flood insurance?

You can compare home insurances here to help find the right cover for your needs. Keep in mind flood insurance tends to be optional, and different policies will cover different kinds of water damage.

For example, providers will often differentiate between storm and flood damage. You may also need different coverage depending on if you’re at risk from the ocean (tidal waves and surges) or inland water (rivers and creeks). Here are some common definitions to watch out for:

  • Storm surge: damage caused by waves or rising seawater due to a weather event.
  • Storm damage: damage caused by high winds or heavy rain.
  • Flood damage: damage caused by overflowing water from a river, dam, or ocean.
  • Floodwater: escaping water from rivers, lakes, channels, dams, or canals that covers normally dry land.
  • Rainwater: water falling from the skies that runs over the surface of the land (including overflowing stormwater drains).

Take your property’s unique situation, risks, and needs into account when deciding on a policy.

Can I get insurance after my home has already flooded?

You won’t receive a payout on home flood insurance unless you’ve had a policy for at least 72 hour prior to the floods. Insurance is a preemptive solution, so be sure to purchase a policy well before disaster strikes.

What evidence do I need for a home flood insurance claim?

If it is safe to do so, you can collect evidence of flood damage in the form of photos/videos, news footage, maps, eyewitness accounts, or written damage reports. This applies for all affected belongings covered by your insurance policy, including your house, valuables, and car. Here’s a government primer on how to make a flood insurance claim.

Does car insurance cover flood or storm water damage?

Most comprehensive car insurances provide coverage in the event of flood damage. 

Here’s a quick guide to navigating car insurance claims during a flood, including what can be claimed and what to do if your vehicle is immediately impacted.

Will contents insurance cover my belongings in case of flood damage?

Likely yes, depending on your policy. Check out our complete guide to home and content insurance to see what’s available and how to make a claim.

How do you prepare your home for floods?

Here’s our guide on practical tips for safeguarding your home against floods.