Preparing for a flood

A flood can happen anywhere. Even if your area is not designated “high risk”, you still need to be prepared.

Flood

Get the right protection for your home

The best time to make sure you have the right flood insurance is long before a flood is threatened. There's typically a 30-day waiting period before your policy goes into effect with flood insurance, so you need to get your coverage before you need it.

Know the signs

Pay attention to your local news reports if a flood is threatened. Here's what the different terms mean:

  • Flood watches are issued when rain is heavy enough to cause rivers to overflow.
  • Flood warnings describe the severity of the situation and indicate when and where the flood will begin.
  • Flash flood watches  are issued when heavy rain is occurring or is expected to occur.
  • Flash flood warnings  are issued when flooding is occurring suddenly. In the event of flash flooding, move immediately to high ground.

Create and practice your family's safety plan

Your family's safety depends on planning in advance. This is especially critical if you have young children, so you can make sure they will know what to do. There are helpful resources at Ready.gov/make-a-plan that we encourage you to use to make safety planning simple.