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10-Point Checklist: How to prepare for bushfire season

2 November 2020

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Last summer saw some of the worst bushfires in history, with almost 1000 buildings destroyed and sadly 34 people losing their lives. Over $2.4bn  worth of claims were paid by the industry, but there were also considerable uninsured losses to add to this figure.

Even if you’re living somewhere with no bushfire history, you can be at risk – as last summer showed. So, make sure you’ve done everything in your power to prepare for whatever this summer has in store with these ten tips.

1. Make sure you have the right level of insurance cover  

Up to 40 per cent of people affected by last summer’s bushfires didn’t have enough insurance. Get your home valued at today’s rebuild costs – and make sure you include demolition and clearance, too.

2. Remember your outbuildings

Insurance can sometimes be complicated and there is more to consider than just insuring your home and contents. If you have sheds, outbuildings or other structures on your property, check with your local Elders Insurance Agent exactly what’s included in your policy and, more importantly, what’s not. Our agents are there to provide advice to ensure we have all your assets covered.

3. Make an inventory of your possessions

Go room by room, noting everything down with approximate values as well as taking pictures, if possible. Not only will this give you a good idea of your contents’ actual value, but you’ll also have a record of it too should you need it.

4. Tidy your roof!

Bushfires spread quickly, so don’t give them any unnecessary opportunities to take hold. Gutters and chimneys attract all manner of leaves and tree branches – all of which are flammable. Clear these out at least once every quarter to avoid embers sparking an unnecessary flame.

5. Cut back your trees

It’s best to cut tree branches back to at least 10m away from your home and trim back shrubs that are underneath as well.

6. Keep your grass short

Bushfires love longer grass, so cut your grass, brush and scrub so they’re no more than 10cm tall. 

7. Spot check your home for gaps

Any small gaps in your roof or your subfloor are an open invitation for flying embers. Inspect your property and fill any gaps you find.

8. Download the app

Make sure you’ve downloaded your state’s fire app, which will provide live updates of fires within a certain radius of your property. Remember to allow notifications!

9. Have your survival plan in place

Bushfire survival plan templates are available from your State Government’s website, so make a copy and fill it in. Agree on what you’ll do and when with the other members of your household.

10. Have a bag packed, just in case

Bushfires travel very quickly, and if one took hold near your property, you might not have much time to think. Have an emergency bag packed and ready to go – and have any valuables that you may be tempted to stick around for handy, too.

Remember, if you have the right level of cover, your home and contents can be replaced. Human life cannot. If in danger, the advice is always to leave – the earlier the better.

For help creating a bushfire plan and more information and resources visit your state’s Emergency or Rural Fire services website: New South Wales, QueenslandVictoriaSouth AustraliaWestern AustraliaNorthern TerritoryAustralian Capital TerritoryTasmania.    

To review your personal insurance and ensure you have the right level of cover tailored to your personal situation, contact your local Elders Insurance Agent today.

Download a copy of our Bushfire Season Checklist
and prepare your property for bushfire season.

The advice in this article is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You must decide whether or not it is appropriate, in light of your own circumstances, to act on this advice.


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