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5 things to consider before Australia's third La Nina

Mark Bristow avatar
Mark Bristow
- 4 min read
5 things to consider before Australia's third La Nina

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has forecasted that for the third year in a row, Australia will experience a La Nina weather system. With Australia’s eastern states likely to cop an absolute drenching over the summer months, there are a few steps you could consider taking to get ready for La Nina sooner rather than later.

1.    Do you have the right kind of insurance? 

Your home and/or contents insurance policy may already cover you for water damage, including damage caused by storms and floods. But not every policy may provide the level of cover you expect, and the exception in some policies could see you missing out on coverage when you need it most. For example, some insurers may define damage caused by flooding, storms, rainwater, run-off differently, and may cover some but not all of these damage types.

If you have a Sum Insured insurance policy for your home or contents, make sure that the amount will be enough to cover potential repairs or replacements. It could cost more than you expect to rebuild a home that’s damaged or destroyed by floods.

It’s also important to keep in mind that insurance premiums in parts of Australia that are particularly prone to flooding and other natural disasters may be more expensive than they are elsewhere.

2.    Have you fixed any small leaks before they become a bigger issue? 

If you’ve been putting off patching up the small cracks and leaks around your property, it may be worth acting sooner rather than later. When storms and flooding rains are beating down, little issues can quickly turn into big problems that require immediate and expensive attention. Plus, most insurance policies expect you to keep up with basic maintenance around the home as an eligibility requirement.

If you can’t fix the small stuff yourself, you may want to consider professional help from tradies, even if it costs a bit more time and money. Following storms and floods, these tradies could be overwhelmed with job requests, which could make it even harder to get your necessary home repairs.

3.    Make an evacuation plan 

Even if your home is at relatively low risk of storm or flood damage, it doesn’t hurt to have a plan in place for if you need to vacate the property in a hurry. This could include:

  • Packing bags for all of the home’s inhabitants, including children and pets.
  • Keeping phones charged and fuel in the car
  • Working out the best routes between your home and the nearest safe zones
  • Stocking up on non-perishable food and bottled water

Once you're safe, you can look into filing a flood insurance claim

4.    Check gutters and drains 

It’s easy to forget about the home’s hardworking gutters, until a mighty rainstorm overwhelms them with more water than they can handle. It doesn’t need to take a lot of work to make sure that water can properly flow off your home’s roof and away from your property via drains.

Consider getting up on a ladder a couple of times a year to remove any leaves, twigs, dirt or other debris from your gutters, which often collects at corners and bends. As for your drains, you may want to contact a plumber for advice if they’re draining slowly or backing up, in case clearing any blockages requires special tools and expertise.

5.    Move valuables to higher ground 

It’s often easy to store some of your possessions at ground level in your home or even underground, such as in a basement, cellar or other spaces under the house. These could include bulky or seasonal items, family keepsakes such as documents and photo albums, or other items that you feel are worth hanging onto even if you don’t have an everyday use for them. 

But all too often, these low-lying spaces are vulnerable to flooding and water damage. Even if you’re insured, you may not easily be able to replace all of these contents, especially if their value is more sentimental than monetary. Reorganising your home’s storage to keep important documents and the like on higher ground could be worth considering.

Extra bonus tip – Prepare to do extra pool maintenance 

If you have a backyard swimming pool, you’re probably already familiar with how much work is involved in keeping it well-maintained. If you’re likely to see a lot of rainfall or even floods over the summer, you may need to perform some extra pool maintenance to ensure the water stays clean and free from algae, so you can put it to good use when the sun is shining.

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Product database updated 21 Jul, 2024

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