Protecting your home and contents from total financial loss by bushfire
You don’t need to live in the country and rural areas to be at risk of bushfires. Coastal areas with dry scrubland and long grass are also at bushfire risk. With predictions of a hot, dry summer ahead it’s important that households in fire zones prepare for a high risk of bushfire this season.
How can I protect my home and contents from bushfire?
Familiarise yourself with the advice of your local fire authority, and have a bushfire plan in place. Your plan should include simple steps on how to reduce your bushfire risk (ie. trim grass, shrubs leaves and clear gutters) and how and when you will leave your home if you are under threat.
Make sure you have adequate insurance cover to avoid severe financial loss in the event your home or contents are destroyed by bushfire. This means understanding the ‘fine print’ on your insurance policy (PDS) and reviewing your ‘sum insured’ amounts so that they match the current value of your assets. Also note any ‘exclusions’ and make sure your properly understand what they mean as these could result in you being uncovered.
Consider what you would do if your vehicle was damaged by fire. Will your insurer provide an interim replacement vehicle if required?
Take steps now to prepare for any insurance claims you may need to make
Prepare an inventory of your contents. List your items and describe them in as much detail as possible (brand, make, model etc) and take photos.
Use an online building and contents calculator to determine the approximate value of your assets, and help you ensure you have the right amount of insurance cover.
If you are concerned about the potential total loss of your property, speak to a reputable builder and get a quote for the cost of a complete rebuild. Once you have this, speak to your insurer and make sure your sum insured covers this cost.
What to do if bushfire strikes and you need to make a claim
Contact your insurance company or broker as soon as possible after the event.
If possible take photographs of damaged items to show your insurer as evidence for your claim, and prepare an inventory.
Don’t undertake any major repairs without speaking to your insurer.
Provide your insurer with as much information as possible about your claim – remember they are there to help you.
For further information on how to prepare and act if your home is threatened by a bushfire, contact the relevant fire services authority in your state or territory.
For more information visit http://www.insurancecouncil.com.au/for-consumers/consumer-tips/bushfire-preparation