Understanding Brisbane’s Flood Risks: A Car Owner’s Guide

This guide offers essential advice for car owners in Brisbane on how to prepare for and respond to flood risks. It emphasizes the importance of knowing flood-prone areas, understanding local weather alerts, and taking proactive steps such as parking in safe locations and sealing vehicle doors. The guide strongly advises against driving through floodwaters and outlines steps to take in an emergency, including how to safely abandon a vehicle. After a flood, it provides tips on assessing damage and contacting insurance for coverage. By staying informed and prepared, Brisbane car owners can significantly reduce the risk of flood damage and ensure their safety.

Brisbane, with its beautiful river and variable weather patterns, can sometimes present challenging conditions for car owners, particularly when it comes to flooding. Whether it's due to seasonal storms or occasional intense rainfalls, knowing how to protect your car from flood damage is essential. This guide provides practical advice and preventive measures to help you safeguard your vehicle during the flood season.

Know Your Risk

Flood-Prone Areas: Brisbane has several areas that are more susceptible to flooding. It’s important to know these zones, especially if you live or work in or near them. The Brisbane City Council provides flood maps that can help you determine if you’re in a high-risk area.

Understanding Weather Alerts: Stay informed about local weather forecasts and warnings. Services like the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) offer updates and alerts that can help you prepare for incoming heavy rains or potential flooding.

Brisbane City Council publicly available flood information map

Preventive Measures

Parking Safely: Whenever possible, park your vehicle in high-ground areas, especially during flood warnings. Multi-story parking garages can be ideal during heavy rains. Avoid parking near rivers, creeks, or drainage systems that are likely to overflow.

Preparing Your Vehicle:

  • Sealant: Consider applying a rubber sealant around doors and windows to help prevent water from entering your vehicle.
  • Important Documents: Keep important documents, such as your insurance policy and registration, in a waterproof bag inside your car.
  • Emergency Kit: Equip your car with an emergency kit that includes a first aid kit, a flashlight, batteries, and basic tools.

During a Flood

Do Not Drive Through Floodwaters: This cannot be overstressed. It takes only a small amount of water to sweep a car away, regardless of its size. Even if the water appears shallow, it can hide road damages, debris, or other hazards.

Brisbane City Council flood warning marketing material

Escape Plan: If you find yourself unexpectedly in a flooding situation while driving, know how to quickly and safely abandon your vehicle. It’s critical to prioritise your safety over attempting to save your car.

After the Flood

Assessing Damage:Once it's safe, check your vehicle for any signs of flood damage. Look for:

  • Water Lines: Any lines on the car’s body, engine, or interior that might indicate water levels.
  • Engine and Electrical Systems: Do not start the car if you suspect it has been flooded. Starting a flooded engine can cause more damage. Call a professional to inspect the vehicle.

Contact Insurance: Get in touch with your insurance company as soon as possible. Most comprehensive car insurance policies cover flood damage, but it's good to confirm and understand your coverage. Document the damage with photos and videos as they can help with your insurance claim.

Audi Q7 stranded in Brisbane flood water


Understanding and preparing for Brisbane’s flood risks can significantly reduce the potential damage to your vehicle and ensure your safety. By staying informed, taking preventive measures, and knowing how to react when a flood occurs, you can protect both yourself and your car from the unexpected challenges posed by nature.


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