As summer approaches, the Insurance Council of Australia is stressing the importance of early bushfire preparedness for property owners and tenants to proactively mitigate risks and protect their homes and assets.
Following three consecutive years of La Niña, the Bureau of Meteorology has officially declared the onset of an El Niño event, coinciding with severe weather warnings and alerts covering extensive areas of Australia's southeastern region.
The onset of an El Niño event heightens the likelihood of record-high temperatures and extreme weather patterns over the next year, with a particular focus on eastern Australia. Historically, El Niño has contributed to more frequent and intense heatwaves, increased bushfire risks, and exacerbation of drought conditions, as observed in the lead-up to the devastating 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires.
During that catastrophic event, the total insurance damage amounted to $2.32 billion, with nearly 39,000 claims filed. Since the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires, insurers have disbursed over $16.8 billion in claims resulting from 13 officially declared catastrophes and five significant events.
PREPARING FOR BUSHFIRES
Property owners and tenants can take the following proactive measures now to minimise the potential impact of bushfires on their property, finances, and well-being.
1. Conduct a thorough property inspection and implement risk-reduction measures. This includes things like cleaning gutters, maintaining lawns and gardens, and clearing green waste from the premises.
2. Utilise a building and contents insurance calculator to ensure your insurance coverage adequately addresses estimated costs for repairing, rebuilding, or replacing your home, its contents, vehicles, and any additional structures in the event of a disaster.
3. Prepare a detailed inventory of the contents in each room of your home. This inventory assists in evaluating whether your assets are adequately safeguarded and can expedite the claims process.
4. Review all building, contents, and landlord insurance policies, comprehending the extent of coverage, as well as any exclusions or limitations within your policy. It's crucial to understand these exclusions and seek clarification from your insurer regarding any aspects of your policy that may be unclear.
5. Verify your insurance coverage now, well in advance of heightened bushfire threats, as some insurers may temporarily restrict the issuance of new policies when bushfires are imminent.
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