With the holiday season tantalisingly close, it won’t be long before many of us flock to the beach, regional Australia…or even overseas for a well-earned break! Unfortunately, Australia’s summer months mark the height of natural disaster season. Adding another layer of complexity, the Bureau of Meteorology has announced La Niña weather conditions are already underway, signalling the potential for higher-than-average rainfall over the months ahead.
While the potential wrath of Mother Nature can leave us feeling powerless at times, whether you are an owner-occupier, an investment property, or holiday home owner, there are simple things you can do now to help minimise risk and key steps to take in the event of damage.
BASIC MAINTENANCE IS VITAL
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 or vegetation that may be too close or hanging over your home and structures. Also check for dead or diseased trees – strong winds can uproot trees and cause branches to fall, leading to property damage and injury.
- Remove debris that may be a fire or stormwater ingress risk (including guttering and roofing. If you live in a leafy area, gutter guards are a great option to consider.
- Ensure propane tanks, propane BBQs and household combustibles are stored away from structures and do not store flammable items outside.
- Test your smoke alarms. Smoke alarms can save your life and they may reduce the risk of further damage if the fire can be extinguished before it spreads.
- Check your roof and windows are in good condition on a regular basis. Your home’s roof and windows are the only barriers between you and the elements. Small holes, cracks, and deterioration in roofing or windows can lead to stormwater ingress over time (which can cause mould) or during heavy rainfall events.
- Identify any dark or wet spots, cracking, bubbling, or flaking of paint or plaster on your property. A damp, musty, or mouldy smell can indicate a problem. Inspect the foundations – check for any cracks or gaps.
- 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.
- Ensure there is adequate drainage and flood protection measures (dual sump pumps, adequate waterproofing) in low-lying areas of your property, such as basements and cellars. Check all contents in low-lying areas are stored off the ground.
- Store sandbags in your garage for a worst-case scenario flooding situation.
- If you live in a cyclone-prone area, ensure you have an emergency plan in place and familiarise your household with the plan. Regularly monitor weather and associated alerts.
PROTECT YOUR VEHICLE
It might make for great viewing on the news but do not attempt to drive through flood waters. If you live in an apartment or complex with car stackers, consider moving your car to a covered multilevel carpark above ground.
IF YOU’RE GOING AWAY
Don’t forget to ensure gas appliances, heaters, and stoves are switched off and turn gas off at the mains if you’re away for an extended period.
Disconnect non-essential electrical appliances & IT equipment – check power boards too.
IN THE EVENT OF DAMAGE TO YOUR PROPERTY
Despite having minimised all physical risks, damage incurred by natural catastrophes is unavoidable. If your property requires an ‘emergency make-safe’, please contact the Honan Helpdesk. A make-safe involves temporary repairs to ensure the property is watertight and to minimise or prevent further damage.
If the emergency occurs outside business hours, please contact a contractor to undertake an ‘emergency make-safe’. You can contact the SES for emergency assistance or one of our make-safe Partners and Emergency Repairers below:
Johns Lyng Group
1300736 000 (24hrs)
1300 729 239 (24hrs)
TIPS TO MINIMISE LOSSES IF YOUR PROPERTY HAS BEEN DAMAGED
In the aftermath of a bushfire, cyclone, storm, or flooding, we encourage you to call the Honan Helpdesk (+61 3 9947 4333) or the above make-safe Partners and Emergency Repairers ASAP, and take the following steps:
BE VIGILANT and if in doubt, wait for emergency services to attend the property.
IF WATER HAS ENTERED THE PROPERTY do not switch on the electricity until an electrician has undertaken checks.
AVOID BLACK WATER – this is unsafe, contaminated water and must be left to experts.
DO NOT MOVE FALLEN TREES/BRANCHES – fallen branches or trees could be hiding live wires.
LIVE WIRES – if live wires are present, maintain a safe distance and wait for an electrician or your power company to attend and make safe.
IF YOU BELIEVE YOU MAY HAVE AN INSURANCE CLAIM
CONTACT US – please contact the Honan Helpdesk on +61 3 9947 4333.
PREPARE AN ITEMISED LIST of damage and take photographs to support your claims process.
DISPOSE OF SPOILT AND DESTROYED ITEMS – again, it’s important to take photographs.
KEEP ANY ITEMS THAT CAN BE REPAIRED. If in doubt, speak to your broker.
WITH YOU ALL THE WAY
Travis Wendt : Head of Placement
Christie Mitsas : Account Manager – Private Client Group
Megan Peacock : Team Leader – Risksmart Property