There are some things in life that you can’t control and your property being subjected to a battering when a major storm hits your area is one of those natural disasters that you might not be able to prevent happening, but can at least you can use insurance to limit your losses.
There is no question that being hit by a storm can be a major shock to your system, but you need to try and keep a cool head and start to plan how you are going to recover from the situation and put everything back to how it was before.
Here is a look at how to check if your home is properly covered for natural disasters, what to do when disaster strikes, and how to make sure you get the help and support you are expecting.
Not all policies are equal
The first thing to say is that if you are specifically referring to insurance coverage in Australia for example, you will most likely encounter huge variations in terms of what insurance companies will offer their customers when it comes to compensating them for natural disasters.
Being struck by a storm or some other severe weather conditions that cause damage to your property is a nightmare in its own right, but the bad dream will continue if you subsequently discover that you are either underinsured or might not be covered for your loss at all in certain circumstances.
Floods and storms are a particular bone of contention and the level of coverage offered by insurance companies differs widely, so you should definitely check exactly what you are paying for and what sort of help to expect when a natural disaster strikes.
Storm damage specialists like National Roofing Australia can repair and restore your property to how it was before, but it is important to know just who is paying for the work that needs to be done.
The time to check you have the right insurance cover for your property and contents is obviously not when you need to make a claim but right at the beginning when you first take out the policy.
It is worth remembering that inland flooding is responsible for close to a third of insured losses in Australia, so you will need to verify exactly what your insurer defines as flooding. If they don’t offer comprehensive enough cover that you are comfortable with, shop around and try to find an insurer that does give you what you want.
It is also a good idea to get coverage for other natural disasters that could cause damage to your property.
Earthquakes are not that common in Australia but there have been four such incidents in the last four decades, which is enough to consider it as an issue. Cyclones are more prevalent in the Northern Territory and Western Australia, so you should consider this threat if you are in an area prone to this type of problem.
There are not many parts of Australia that are not under the potential threat of bushfires, so this is another threat that needs to be covered adequately by your insurance.
Don’t waste time
Having got the coverage you need, hopefully you will rest a little easier. But it can still be a considerable shock to be caught up in a natural disaster and suffer damage to your home.
It is understandable that you might be traumatised by the event but there really is no time to waste and it is best to contact your insurer and lodge a claim as quickly as you can. When there is a natural disaster in a certain area of the country there will be many households affected, which means that insurers and other remedial services will be under a lot of pressure with multiple claims to process.
It could take weeks and sometimes months to even get an assessment of the damage completed, although the Insurance Council of Australia suggest that you should not normally expect to wait any more than four months for your claim to be properly assessed.
Make it easier on yourself and for your insurer
You will want to try and get your home and your life back to some sort of normality as soon as you can, but you don’t want to compromise the prospect of a full payout on your claim by being too hasty.
You clearly want to mitigate any further damage by covering the damaged area with a tarpaulin or applying some sort of fix that will help keep your home dry and as protected as possible.
What you should do is keep your insurer informed about what you are doing and take plenty of photographic evidence so that you can produce these to verify your claim.
Being caught up in a natural disaster and suffering damage to your property is distressing, but you can at least take steps to minimise the financial loss you suffer even if you can’t do anything about the damage occurring in the first place.
About the Author
Andrew Gardiner is an entrepreneur who graduated from Westminster College. Mr Gardiner, with more than ten years experience in the building and construction industry, specialising in the roofing, reroofing and repair of residential, commercial and industrial premises. Mr Gardiner currently resides in Brisbane Australia.