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A storm preparation checklist for your home

Vidhu Bajaj avatar
Vidhu Bajaj
- 5 min read
A storm preparation checklist for your home

Australia is experiencing a notable shift in its weather patterns, with increased frequency and intensity of storms across the country. From heavy rainfall and powerful winds to lightning strikes and hailstorms, these severe weather events pose a significant risk to homes and properties. Therefore, it is crucial to be well-prepared to protect your home and loved ones from potential storm damage.

Here are a few things you can do before a storm to reduce the risk of damage to your property:

1. Stay informed

Keeping yourself informed about the upcoming storms in your area can give you time to prepare and take the necessary precautions. The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) provides weather forecasts and warnings for different regions in Australia. Visit the BoM website at www.bom.gov.au for the latest updates on weather conditions in your area. You could also download the BOM weather app for regular weather notifications.

2. Prepare an emergency survival kit

It could help to keep an emergency survival kit handy, especially if you live in an area prone to storms, bushfires, or floods. Here are some suggestions from the Australian Red Cross about what to include in your survival kit

  • First aid kit and necessary medication
  • Torches
  • Spare batteries
  • Bottled water
  • Non-perishable food
  • Protective clothing
  • Essential supplies, including medicines for your pets

If you're aware of a storm approaching, you should also try to ensure that your phone is fully charged and accessible. It could come in handy if you need to call for help in an emergency. Additionally, owning and keeping a fully charged power bank could help when you need to recharge your phone in an emergency.

3. Prepare your home against potential storm damage

You could reduce the risk to your property by taking a proactive approach and initiating protective measures ahead of time. According to the NSW State Emergency Service, there are some simple things you can do to reduce the potential damage to your property, including:  

Tidying up your yard

Strong winds can lift even heavy objects, like outdoor furniture, garden tools, and trampolines, that can cause immense damage to windows, roofs and vehicles. If you're expecting stormy weather, remember to secure or stow away any garden tools, outdoor furniture, and other large items. It’s also a good idea to secure these items safely when going on a holiday to prevent any potential damage.

Keeping the drains clear

Regularly clean your gutters and downpipes to prevent water from overflowing into your roof space. You could consider installing metal gutter guards, which effectively keep debris away from your gutters, avoiding blockages. Also, remember to gather fallen leaves, twigs, and debris around your property and ensure that your drains are free of any obstructions to prevent water from pooling. 

Trimming the trees and shrubs around the property

Though having trees on your property is wonderful, it's essential to periodically trim overhanging branches. Heavy winds can cause these branches to break and fall, posing a risk of significant damage to your property. It's advisable to seek professional help for proper trimming, ensuring the safety of both your property and those around it.

Checking your roof's health

It's recommended to inspect your roof regularly for signs of damage. Fix any cracked, broken, or displaced tiles and remove any dirt build-up to prevent blockages. If you spot any cracks or gaps, consider speaking to a professional for a thorough inspection and maintenance work.

4. Check your insurance coverage

As the frequency of severe weather events like storms continues to rise, ensuring your home is adequately protected becomes a priority. Storms can bring about extensive damage, and the financial burden of repairing or rebuilding your home afterwards could be significant. Thus, it's advisable to periodically review your home insurance coverage to ensure you're adequately shielded against potential threats.

Most standard home insurance policies provide some level of coverage against various natural threats and acts of theft and vandalism. However, you may need to purchase a more personalised cover to protect your home against specific events that are likely to occur where you live. For instance, if you live in an area that frequently experiences stormy weather, you may want to check what an insurer covers under storm damage. Reading the terms and conditions and the insurer's Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) could give you a better idea of the events covered by the policy.

While home insurance typically protects the structure of your house, you might also want to buy contents insurance to protect your belongings inside the house. Buying separate coverage for your house and belongings is possible. Some insurers also offer combined home and contents cover that might cost less than buying two different policies.

Once you're sure about the type and level of coverage you need, you can compare home insurance quotes online to find a suitable yet affordable deal. Besides comparing the insurance premium, consider reading the PDS for your shortlisted policies to understand the exact level of coverage offered, as well as any exclusions or additional conditions. This can help you choose an insurance policy that’s not only affordable but also provides you with the best possible value for your money.

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Product database updated 04 Mar, 2024

This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Peter Terlato before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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