Prepare your home before severe weather hits. Correct and timely maintenance can make the difference between a failed and successful claim in the event you need to make one. Check our handy guide.
Summertime in Australia means many things. Cricket, weekend BBQs, daylight savings (for most of us) and summer storms. Depending on where you live, summer storms can mean anything from a week of rain that’s more of an annoyance to torrential downpours and severe winds that can feel like tropical cyclones. La Nina has certainly had an impact on the level and frequency of rain in many parts of Australia.
Wherever you are, always follow your local directives, but here’s a few simple things you can do to help get your home ready for the Aussie summer storm season.
Keeping your gutters and downpipes free from debris is one of those ‘out of sight, out of mind’ jobs we tend to neglect. But clogged gutters can cause rainwater to overflow, damaging not only the gutters but the water can make its way into the walls and ceilings of your home as well. You may not even realise water has entered your home until you notice a watermark or, even worse, mould starts to bloom.
Blocked drains mean the water has nowhere to go and, if there’s a drain on your property, it’s there for a reason.
If you’re up on a ladder cleaning out the gutters (or someone is doing it for you) check the condition of your roof. Are all the tiles intact and in place? Are any cracked or damaged? If the roof is Colorbond, is it in good condition with no previous hail or storm damage you may have missed?
Don’t forget to check in the roof cavity to ensure the sarking (the waterproof insulation membrane) is intact and use a torch to spot anywhere daylight is getting in.
If this all sounds a bit much, contact your local qualified tradie to do it for you. Ideally, you should have you roof checked by a roofing expert every five or ten years.
Overhanging tree branches are dangerous at the best of times, let alone when high winds are swirling. Large tree branches can cause significant roof damage while smaller branches snapped off and caught in high winds can become hazardous projectiles.
However, before you rev up your chainsaw, check with your local council regarding their green guidelines. As a land lease community member, check with your admin team as well as there may be some specific rules in place.
Do you know how to quickly turn off your power, gas or the water? Some electricity providers suggest turning off the power when there’s lightning in the area. And if you have to be evacuated, turning everything off before you leave is a good idea.
This is something you only do when the storm is forecast but it won’t hurt to have a plan in place. Can you secure any outdoor furniture or is there room to move it into a shed or garage until the storm passes? If these items are heavy, is there someone you can call on to lend a helping hand?
Storm damage isn’t just structural. Many pets are terrified during storms and outdoor pets may run away, especially if there’s thunder and lightning. In fact, animals can sense an approaching storm long before their human, so take note if your pet suddenly becomes agitated or upset.
If a storm is on its way, bring your pets inside. Make sure a distressed animal has somewhere they can ‘hide’ from the storm and keep them as calm and comfortable as you can. And a few treats (for you and them) for calm behaviour won’t go astray either.
An emergency kit should contain a few essential items you may need if, for example, the power goes out or you need to leave your property (depending on the severity of the storm). Some of the items you should have on hand in a waterproof container might include:
Do you have an emergency plan in place and does everyone in your household know what the plan is? Where will you go and how will you get there?
Emergencies can happen at any time of the day or night so make sure you plan for anything.
Check out the SES emergency plan, it only takes five minutes to complete.
Whether you listen to local radio stations, watch local TV or download all the apps, having the latest weather information is important to keeping you aware and safe. Check your state SES websites and the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) for all weather updates.
Keep your phones charged and a portable radio handy as storms often cause the power to go out.
When was the last time you checked your home and contents insurance policy was current? You should check your policy at every renewal and read your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) whenever your insurer advises an update. This ensures your policy covers you for the things you need it to at the times it matters most.
If you’re already a MHIA customer, you know our policy is designed specifically for the land lease communities across Australia. And if your current home and contents insurance policy doesn’t cover you for what you need, or you’re not quite sure, contact us and one of our team will be happy to chat with you.