Severe weather

Make your home storm and flood ready

Heavy rain, high winds and hail can cause major damage to your home, but it's damage that can often be prevented. Maintaining your property is your first line of defence. Read our quick guides to storm and flood preparation below.

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Be bushfire prepared

We understand the dangers of bushfire season, but unfortunately people often leave it too late to make critical decisions.

Reducing risks, taking action to protect your home and family, and keeping your insurance policy up-to-date can help you be bushfire prepared, and often makes all the difference.

If you need to update your insurance policy just log in to your account anytime.

Bushfire tile

Bushfire preparation

  • Bushfires can happen at any time
  • Be extra alert during warmer weather, especially if you're away on holidays
  • Fires can jump gaps like roads, rivers and firebreaks, making your wider environment a potential hazard
  • Embers can travel many kilometres ahead of a fire - even if you're not directly threatened by a bushfire, you can still be impacted

How much would it cost to re-build my home after a bushfire?

After the 2009 Victorian bushfires, the Australian Building Codes Board setup a national bushfire standard for residential buildings. The standard:

  • Is designed to make your home safer
  • Applies if you renovate or rebuild your home
  • Sets building requirements for home design and construction based on the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) a development falls into

However, the majority of buildings in bushfire zones were built before current regulations, meaning it may cost a lot more to re-build your home.

Calculate your cost to rebuild

Our Home Buildings calculator can help you identify the cost to re-build your home.

  • Install metal gutter guards
  • Install fine metal mesh screens on windows and doors
  • Fit seals around doors and windows to eliminate gaps
  • Attach a fire sprinkler system to gutters
  • Enclose the areas under your home
  • Have hoses long enough to reach around your home
  • Ensure your fireplace chimney is clean
  • Have an electrical safety switch and only use recommended rating fuses
  • Have a non-combustible doormat
  • Check the condition of external walls and cladding, and seal any gaps
  • Remove and store flammable items (including wood piles) well away from your home
  • Keep mulch away from your home, and grass short
  • Make sure that pressure relief valves on LPG cylinders face away from your home

Have you considered bushfire clean up costs?

After a bushfire, there can be lots of dangerous material around your home.

Our Home Buildings Insurance automatically provides cover for removal of debris. This means we can organise and pay for cleaning up, securing your home, and removing toxic and flammable debris such as chemicals, metals and asbestos.

If you live near bushland or your area has a history of bushfires, creating a survival plan means you know what to do when there's a bushfire warning.

  • Understand the risk of bushfire in your area including Fire Danger Ratings
  • Know how to prepare your property, pets and livestock
  • Know where your community safe places are
  • Have a back-up plan
  • Create an easily accessible survival kit
  • Update your plan annually

For more advice on how you can create a bushfire survival plan, visit the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

Working together with your local community can make a huge difference to limiting the devastation of a bushfire.

  • If you have a pool, tank or dam, put a Static Water Supply (SWS) sign on your property entrance for firefighters to access water easily
  • Connect with your neighbours - keep each other informed on days of increased fire danger, and make sure you're aware of each other’s needs and capabilities

Storm and cyclone preparation

  • Clean gutters and downpipes and check the roof for leaks
  • Sweep debris away from drains and clear any that are blocked
  • Trim tree branches near the house (after checking with your local council)
  • In a cyclone-prone area, it's a good idea to fit permanent shutters or metal screens to glass windows and doors

Read more about how you can prepare your home for a storm on the SES website.

  • Remove loose objects that might get broken or cause damage if blown around
  • Tie down, take inside, or fill with water, large, relatively light things like garbage bins and boats to stop them being blown around
  • Shelter and secure your pets
  • Shelter vehicles or cover them with a tarpaulin or blankets - make sure you have a full tank of fuel in case you need and are able to, evacuate
  • If floods are likely move outdoor equipment, cardboard boxes, garbage, chemicals and poisons to somewhere up high
  • Fill your sinks and bath with fresh drinking water
  • Check your emergency kit (see the SES kit list)
  • If flooding is likely, put furniture, TV, rugs, books and art as high as you can

The priority is to keep yourself, your family and pets safe during the storm.

Learn more about what you can do to help protect your family on the SES website.

  • Check your home for damage to windows, walls or roof. If you need to make a claim contact us on the numbers above
  • If you need emergency assistance call your local State Emergency Service on 132 500
  • If returning to your home, make sure electricity and gas are off before going inside. If you need light, only use a torch until you're sure there's no gas around
  • Remove what excess water you can and mop waterlogged carpets
  • Throw out food that's been in contact with floodwater and boil water until supplies have been declared safe
  • Check your smoke detectors are still working
  • Don't use electrical items that got wet, have them and gas appliances professionally tested as soon as possible

Flood preparation

  • Check with your local council about flood plans or records which detail problem areas
  • If you are in a flood prone area, plant trees and shrubs around your property as that can control erosion and soften the speed of flowing water
  • Prepare an emergency kit and household flood plan (what needs to happen in the event of a flood)
  • Keep a list of emergency telephone numbers on display
  • Check your insurance policy to see if you are covered for flood damage

Inside your home

  • Keep emergency numbers and important information handy including the details of local relief centres and evacuation routes
  • Put together emergency supplies and first aid items. These can include water, canned food, can opener, battery-operated radio, flashlight and warm clothing
  • Where possible, secure hazardous items
  • Make sure everything that’s of importance to you is in a safe place and in a waterproof bag, for example: jewellery, documents, personal items, photos, medicines and other valuables
  • Move what household items you can to a higher place. Put furniture and rugs up onto beds and tables - place electrical items on top of furniture and cupboards. Be careful if you're putting things up in your roof space or on an upper level, as these areas may not be able to safely support extra weight
  • Empty your fridge and freezer and leave the doors open to stop the appliances from floating
  • Turn off the electricity, gas and water
  • Keep your mobile phone with you
  • If you have some, put sandbags in the toilet bowl and over all bathroom and laundry drain holes to stop sewage flowing back inside
  • If you have time, seal doors and windows with plastic, silicon or plywood. Also, put sandbags where you can for added support

Outside your home

  • Roll out builder's plastic around the base of your home - leaving 40cm on the ground to put the sandbags on. Tape remaining plastic to the outside walls to a height of 1.5m. Keep external downpipes on the outside of the plastic
  • Check and seal all ventilation holes, cellar doorways and points where water can get in
  • Open gates or fences to allow water to flow freely
  • Don't drive into water if you don't know how deep it is or how fast it's flowing
  • Monitor Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) forecasts and warnings online and listen to your local ABC Radio

For an emergency evacuation, there are some steps you can take to protect your family and home. Find out more on the SES website

  • Get permission from emergency services to go back inside your property
  • Keep all power and electrical appliances off until they have been checked and approved for use and the house is cleaned up
  • Don’t eat food that has been in floodwater
  • Boil tap water until supplies are declared safe
  • Take photographs and keep a record of all the damage as it may be needed for insurance claims
  • Clean everything that was affected by the flood – it may be contaminated
  • Wear gloves and mask during the clean up

Find out more about what you can do to keep safe after a flood on the SES website

The information on this website is for general guidance only and should not be relied upon as professional advice on managing specific safety risks.