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PROTECTING YOUR PROPERTY

The record temperatures that hit the Eastern Coast of Australia over the weekend sadly resulted in bushfires which destroyed homes, property and livestock. Whilst we can be very grateful that no lives were lost, it was not long before the news channels were reporting on the unfortunate victims who had not insured their homes. Their future plans in ruins. But it didn’t need to be this way.

Protect your business with Gow-Gates

Australia is a fantastic place to live, but bushfires and ferocious storms and floods are part of life here. Loss of property, be business or homes, will happen. It’s important for you and your business livelihood to insure your property.

It is very straightforward:

1) Insure your property for how much it would cost to rebuild / replace
2) Have a plan in place of what to do if disaster strikes
3) Maintain your property

Insure

If you don’t have insurance in place, contact a broker and obtain the correct advice. Do not wait until there is a fire warning or a flood warning – it is too late to get cover at that point.

You need to insure your property for its full replacement value. If the cost has been holding you back, there may be ways to reduce the cost by accepting higher excesses or putting additional security in place. It is really different for everyone, but it is so important to make the effort to have your assets insured, and insured properly.

Have a Plan

When looking at the suggestions for a Bushfire Survival Plan these can easily apply to other emergencies that could occur. Below is an extract from the Rural Fire Service website in relation to preparation for Bushfires and it is not difficult to see how this important advice can apply in many different circumstances such as cyclones, storms and floods.

Do you live within a few streets of the bush?
You don't need to live right on the bush to be at risk from bush fires. Burning embers can travel some distance, setting fire to homes that are well away from the bush. In fact, the majority of homes destroyed in bush fires are because of what's called "ember attack".

Does your area have a history of bush fires?
Think about the area you live in. If fires have happened there before, they will almost certainly happen again. Know the fire risk in your area and prepare for it.

Do you have many trees or shrubs around your home?
It's a fact that a well prepared property is more likely to survive a bush fire. A well prepared property includes trees and shrubs that have been trimmed, and a cleared area where you and firefighters can protect your home if needed.

  • Maintain your yard and balcony, secure or store items that could blow around in strong winds
  • Gutters, downpipes and drains regularly cleared (anything to do with heights, roofs and trees can be dangerous, so it may be prudent to enlist the assistance of a qualified tradesperson).

Useful home emergency planning (which can also be used in your business) can be found on the websites below:-

www.stormsafe.com.au
www.floodsafe.com.au
www.rfs.nsw.gov.au


Maintain your Property

Also equally important is properly maintaining your property – if you do not, it may affect your insurance. It is your responsibility to make sure your home or business is well maintained and is in good repair. Aside from obvious safety and visual appeal reasons, a poorly maintained property can have major insurance implications should something go wrong.

  • Check roof for cracks, leaks and damage
  • Clear gutters regularly to prevent water damage – also check gutters and drainpipes are attached properly
  • Inspect walls and timber for signs of water damage, decay or dry rot
  • Check ceilings and cornices for mould or blistering paint – this could indicate a leak in your roof
  • Ensure your fences are maintained and repair if they are starting to shift or fall
  • Keep an eye on trees growing next to fences, foundations or power lines
  • Where possible, try not to let bushes or shrubs build up too close to external walls
  • Check power points, light switches and smoke detectors are working properly
  • Always remember to use a qualified tradesperson if any work is required

If you believe that this issue is relevant to your business, please feel free to contact Rebecca Fleming, Account Manager of our Travel Industry Division at Gow-Gates Insurance Brokers on (02) 8267 9919 or rfleming@gowates.com.au to discuss your circumstances or to obtain a quotation.

Protect your business with Gow-Gates

Gow-Gates Insurance Brokers advises that persons should not act on the material contained in this article as the items are of a general nature only and may be misinterpreted. We therefore recommend that advice be sought before acting in these areas.