If a cyclone hit, is your cover enough?

If a cyclone hit, is your cover enough?

With the Bureau of Meteorology predicting more cyclones than average for Australia this summer, now is the time to review your insurance to make sure you have enough to cover your home or business.

It’s easy to underestimate the value of your home and contents, as well as the cost of property improvements you’ve made.  Make sure you’ll have enough cover to fully rebuild your home and replace your furnishings.  The cost of rebuilding has changed overtime, and many people make improvements to their property over the years so make sure the amount you’re insured for reflects those improvements and costs.

CGU provides calculators to help you determine how much insurance you may need to rebuild your home and replace your contents. You can use these calculators to make sure you’re insured for the right amount in the event of a cyclone.

Before a cyclone hits, you can take some precautions to prepare your property for extreme weather.

Steps to prepare your property

  • Tidy up all loose objects in the open air and store inside, as these objects can be picked up by the strong winds and cause property damage or bodily injury.
  • Check roofing and ensure it is secure. In particular, ensure all roof gutters are clear as heavy torrential rains can cause gutters to overflow and back up, causing water to enter the interior of the building.
  • Where a metal roof has already been subject to cyclone wind loads, the fasteners can exhibit weakening – consider replacing the fastening screws to ensure they won’t fail when the next cyclone hits.
  • Check walling panels (for steel frame buildings) in addition to roof panels, as these can also fail due to pressures generated in a cyclone.
  • Placing plywood in front of large windows, particularly on the windward side, can help avert a broken window but can also result in an overpressure of the building interior that can increase the damage to walls and roof.
  • Ensure there are no obstructions to storm water drains and pits to the heavy volumes of storm water expected during a cyclone.
  • Ensure that vegetation, in particular trees and large branches, are trimmed so there is less likelihood that these branches can impact and damage your buildings.
  • Secure the perimeter of the building by ensuring all doors are closed and locked and, where practicable, by boarding up windows.
  • Vehicles should be parked in a garage rather than a carport. If none of these are available, the vehicle should be parked away from trees
  • Understand the geography of your area, taking into consideration flood risks, the highest (and closest) safe zone and evacuation areas (as designated by authorities).
  • Prepare a folder with all relevant emergency documents and emergency numbers that will be safe, secure and accessible at a moment’s notice.