It’s Storm Season Again.
Cyclone Debbie has left a trail of destruction on the Queensland coast.
Have you been maintaining your property to ensure you are covered by insurance after a storm event? I will go further into depth on this in a minute….
I have family who lived in Airlie Beach for 10 years and own a home up there that has been damaged.
I have friends who luckily got away from Hamilton island by cutting their honeymoon short!
It affects everyone in Australia for one reason or another. Even if it is only the price of fruit and veg skyrocketing. (In 2011 bananas cost $15/kg)
Newcastle suffered major storms in 2007 (Pasha Bulker) and again in April 2015. Tens of thousands of homes were damaged and more left without electricity for weeks.
We were heavily involved in the insurance work after the 2015 storm, completing over 90 projects that year for different insurance companies.
Seeing the damage to some homes was extremely devastating. Even the minor damage sometimes ended up causing the owner so much distress as they were not fixed until late in the year due to the influx of work and insurance companies having to prioritize the works.
Did you know that as a home owner you have a responsibility for maintaining your home to reasonable condition, to be covered by insurance?
This was one of the many things I learnt that year. Not all policies are the same so you must read yours thoroughly!
Maintenance issues are noted as things such as:
Keeping your roof in good condition to prevent water entry, including no damaged roof sheets, tiles, flashings, or cement pointing on a tiled roof.
Keeping your gutters and drains clear so water can get away
Making sure your downpipes are attached correctly and supported with brackets
Flat roofs are more prone to leaking especially in heavy downpours so make sure you check the flashings thoroughly.
Installing a “Rain Head” can also limit the possibility for damage. (See link below for more info). The rain head allows the gutters to remove greater volumes of water faster and minimises the risk of your gutter overflowing at the back and rushing into places it shouldn’t be.
Picture- Rain Heads
The rain head also increases the pressure that the water flows out to the street. So if you are on a block where your stormwater line is “charged” – which means it runs uphill and always holds water – the extra pressure can help push water uphill to the street
The excess water can overflow into the eave or even the internal walls depending on the design of your home. This is why on new homes, gutters have little slots at the front so when the gutter fills, the water flows out the front of the gutter, not the back.
Picture- Typical Slotted Gutter
These minor maintenance items are the ones that could end up costing you 10s of thousands of dollars if they are not checked regularly. Especially before the storm season.
I have seen insurance companies knock back claims from maintenance issues. So check them and write down in your diary when you performed the maintenance work and exactly what you did! Keep any invoices from people who did the work for you, and take photos! Keep all the supporting evidence you can.
Water causes all sorts of problems, it can sink foundations, causes mildew and mould which in turn attracts termites, so it is imperative that you do everything you can to keep your home dry!
As the old saying goes “Do something today, that your future self will thank you for!”
For more pictures on the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie visit: