The summer of 2019/2020 brought with it some of the worst bushfires and hailstorms I have ever experienced as a manager for personal clients. Events such as these have significant impacts, even with the very best insurance policy in place. As I say to my clients, risk mitigation is key and actions can be taken to reduce the physical risks posed by these occurrences. Following these very basic steps can assist greatly in preventing or minimising losses.
BASIC HOME MAINTENANCE IS VITAL
Stormwater ingress is more likely to impact you during heavy rain events if your gutters and downpipes are blocked with leaves and debris. Ensuring these are both free from obstruction will limit stormwater build up, back fill and flooding through your roof cavity. If you live in a leafy suburb, gutter guards are a great option to consider.
Further to this, check your roof and windows are in good condition on a regular basis. Your home’s roof and windows are the only barrier between you and the elements. Melbourne in particular has experienced extreme hail events in the last 18 months – I would highly encourage any clients that have not engaged in roof maintenance over the last 2 years do so before the upcoming storm season. Small holes, cracks and deterioration in roofing or windows can lead to stormwater ingress over time (which can cause mould issues) or during heavy rainfall events.
ATTEND TO IMMEDIATE RISKS
Whether you live in the suburbs or in regional areas, removing imposing risks near your home or permanent structures (such as sheds and fencing) is important. Here are some considerations:
- trim back any trees that may be too close or hanging over your home and structures
- ensure you have adequate clearance around your property (if you are in a bushfire area)
- remove any debris that may be a fire risk
- store outdoor furniture and other items (e.g. BBQs) in a safe place, such as an undercover area or pack them away if not in regular use.
PREPARE FOR FLOODING
Flash flooding has become a much more common occurrence in metropolitan areas over the last decade. I would always encourage individuals to speak to their brokers to find out if their home is a pluvial flood risk. Homeowners who may be at risk of flash flooding can prepare for these events by:
- storing sandbags in their garage for a worst-case scenario situation.
- ensuring there is adequate drainage and flood protection measures (dual sump pumps, adequate waterproofing) in low lying areas of your home such as basements and cellars
- checking all contents in low lying areas (e.g. basements and cellars) are stored off the ground.
PROTECT YOUR VEHICLE
It might make for great viewing on the news but do not attempt to drive through flood waters. In the event of extreme weather forecasts, I would encourage those living in apartments or complexes with car stackers to move their car to a covered multilevel carpark above ground.
AND LASTLY, TALK TO YOUR BROKER!
Your Insurance Manager has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to risk mitigation and can often engage with the relevant Risk Mangers at insurance companies if you have particular areas of concern.
Engaging with your insurance broker about any renovations (in progress, completed or planned) as well as improvements made to your property (e.g. solar panels, a new shed, fencing or the addition of a rare outdoor sculpture) is imperative in ensuring that the right insurance program is in place for you if something does go wrong.
WE’RE WITH YOU ALL THE WAY
Feel free to reach out to discuss your situation at any time – we’d love to hear from you.
Client Manager – Private Client Group
+61 499 081 139