Flood risk management guidance

Flooding can cause damage to a business's property, contents, production and its ability to trade. Causes include surface water, drainage, sewers, groundwater, rivers and coastal flooding. It may not be possible to stop a property from flooding, but you can put measures in place to help minimise the damage and speed up recovery time. We recommend taking time to assess your property, get prepared and plan for any bad weather. Events like flooding can be traumatic enough at the time, without having to worry about what to do if a flood happens.

Chris Andrews, Director of Risk Management Solutions

"If your business is at risk of flooding, it's really important to take action now. By having a plan in place and mitigating the risk of flooding, you can help to protect your business. If a flood does happen, you'll be in a position to get your business back on the front foot as soon as possible.” 

Put a plan in place

Put together a flood emergency response plan so your business knows what to do in the event of a flood. Make sure it’s easy to access and that your staff know where it is and how to put it into operation.


Protect your premises

Before flood water presents a danger to your premises, there are a number of measures you can take now to mitigate the damage and reduce the recovery period. From using waterproof sealant, paint and materials to non-return valves in drainage pipes and wastewater systems. At Aviva, we can provide flood protection services at preferential rates through our Specialist Partners to help protect businesses against flood damage. 

Stay protected

To make it easier to prepare for the risk of flooding, take a look at the Cross-Industry Code of Practice and our Building Future Communities Report.

What to do if flooding is imminent

Step 1 of 4

Move and secure

1. Unplug all electrical items and power down machinery and plant.

2. Store furniture, tools, equipment or important documents up high or on upper floors.

3. With heavy electrical items such as fridges, raise them up on bricks.

4. Secure or remove any items outside that could float and cause impact damage to your property.

5. Move vehicles to higher ground.

6. Fuel storage tanks should be suitably anchored so they don't float away.

Step 2 of 4

Your utilities

1. Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies at the mains.

2. Close off flow valves on gas and oil tanks.

3. Fit a temporary toilet pan seal to prevent the backflow of flood water.


Step 3 of 4

Doors and windows

1. Put up your  flood barrier doors, windows and airbricks.

2. Leave internal doors open or remove them and store them on an upper floor.

3. For floods deeper than 1 metre, you should allow water to enter to prevent structural damage that could be caused by water pressure outside.

4. External doors and low-level windows - add silicone sealant then lock shut to provide a wateright joint.

Step 4 of 4


1. Make sure your neighbours know there's a flood on the way.

2. Stop any deliveries due and get your own deliveries out before the flood arrives.

Advice to follow during a flood

If the worst happens, it’s essential to make sure that everyone is safe.

  • Only authorised people should enter the premises until it's safe.
  • Make sure your employees have a safe location where they can be evacuated in good time.
  • Let any staff who are not at the site know what’s happening.
  • Don’t try to walk or drive through water – six inches of fast flowing water can knock you off your feet and one foot of water can float a car. Manhole covers may have come off or there may be other hazards you can’t see.
  • Avoid contact with flood water as it may be contaminated with sewage.
  • Follow the advice of the emergency services.

Who to contact to stay informed

If you're unsure if your property is in a flood area, you can check with the relevant agency to help you assess your flood risk and access flood warnings and advice.

You can also visit British Red Cross for more information on preparing for floods.

This page contains general information and guidance only and may be superseded and/or subject to amendment without further notice. Aviva has no liability to any third parties arising out of ARMS’ communications whatsoever (including Loss Prevention Standards), and nor shall any third party rely on them. Other than liability which cannot be excluded by law, Aviva shall not be liable to any person for any indirect, special, consequential or other losses or damages of whatsoever kind arising out of access to, or use of, or reliance on anything contained in ARMS’ communications. This page may not cover every risk, exposure or hazard that may arise and Aviva recommend that you obtain specific advice relevant to the circumstances.

Help minimise risks with our Specialist Partners

We have a wealth of experience in helping customers protect their business. As well as insurance, we provide a vast offering of other products and services to help prevent accidents and losses. As an Aviva policyholder, these products and services are available to you at preferential rates, helping you reduce risk in your business. From fire to escape of water, security to motor, health and safety to business resilience – all our partners have an established pedigree in the risk management sector.

Find out more

Need further help or assistance?

Call our Risk Help Line to speak to our Risk Management Solutions team for help and advice on

0345 366 6666

Opening times: Monday - Friday* 9:00am - 5:00pm

* Excludes Bank Holidays. The cost of calls to 03 prefixed numbers are charged at national call rates (charges may vary dependent on your network provider) and are usually included in inclusive minute plans from landlines and mobiles. For our joint protection telephone calls may be recorded and/or monitored.