You might be surprised to know that taking photographs of your home and belongings now is just as important as 'battening down the hatches' before cyclone season hits.
Insurance claims during cyclone season
The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting up to 13 cyclones could threaten the Australian coastline this year, with at least four forming off Queensland and one predicted to make landfall. These cyclones can have devastating and far-reaching impacts. The level of destruction can wipe out entire communities.
When it comes to making insurance claims, many people document damage after the storm but it's only your word that things were in good working order before the weather event. That's why taking photos of what you own now - including your house and garden - will allow a better comparison for insurance assessors.
A good tip is also to email the photos to yourself, rather than download them to your computer. This means you'll be able to access them even if your computer is destroyed.
Top tips for cyclone season
Some other good tips to remember before storm season include:
- Update your insurance - Check your home and contents insurance is paid and the details are up to date
- Check if you're covered - Find out if your insurance includes flood and storm cover. Flood cover is not mandatory and you should closely check the fine print. Insurers should provide you with a Key Fact Sheet to explain your level of cover.
- Photograph documents and damage - Take photos and email yourself copies of insurance documents so you can access them easily if you need to make a claim. In the event of a cyclone, take photos of the damage before you clean up. You'd be surprised how often we forget this in the trauma of a cyclone.
- Asbestos dangers - Be on the look out for damaged asbestos sheeting when you clean up. Many Queensland homes contain asbestos, which is safe if left undisturbed. Any exposure to asbestos dust, no matter how small, is considered dangerous.
Tips for business owners
Business owners should also remember to check their public liability insurance is up to date and that they have a safety plan in place for staff. If staff are injured or traumatised during a major incident because you expected them to stay in the office, or sent them out in the storm, you may be found liable.
In the legal industry, we know people who years later, are still seeking help with claims from Cyclone Yasi and Cyclone Larry. This is why a review of your insurance policy is a priority, and should be on your cyclone safety checklist.
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: October 31, 2018.