Storm damage risk hots up

Victoria has entered the storm season and RACV is warning householders to be vigilant to reduce the risk of damage around the home.

Almost 60 per cent of all storm-related RACV home insurance claims in the past three years resulted from incidents in spring and summer.

RACV General Manager Insurance, Mark Geraghty said history shows that unstable weather patterns in the warmer months can bring damaging wind, hail and flash flooding, posing a risk to properties.

“Weather events such as we experienced in September this year are becoming more frequent and extreme and the resulting storms and floods are a major cause of costly damage.”

New RACV Insurance data shows that storm-related claims in 2015-16 cost more than $30 million, with most property damage claims lodged in January. The average cost of claims was $3,786; 28 per cent higher than the previous year.

Mr Geraghty said the statistics highlighted the volatility of weather in Victoria during spring and summer.

“The unpredictability was demonstrated in January when Geelong was struck by a freak thunderstorm which according to the Bureau of Meteorology dumped 42.4mm - almost double the city’s January rainfall, in about an hour,” he said.

“In that month, RACV received 2,040 storm-related insurance claims from across Victoria. Greater Geelong went on to register 874 storm-related claims in 2015-16, more than double the next highest local council area, Casey in Melbourne’s South East.”

Mr Geraghty said during the danger period there are several basic actions residents can take to reduce the risk of storm or flood damage.

These include securing loose objects around the property, keep gutters, downpipes and drains clear and checking your roof for any holes or loose tiles that need repair or replacement.

Mr Geraghty noted that being underinsured was also a risk to residents and property owners.

“Damage caused by storms can be extremely costly and inconvenient and it is important to ensure that you have the appropriate level of insurance to cover repairs or replacements.

“RACV home and contents insurance policies include flood, storm and storm surge cover as standard and provide cover for damage and loss caused by the impact of fallen trees and branches.”

 

Top 10 LGAs by number of storm-related claims

LGA

FY 2015-16

FY 2014-15

City of Greater Geelong

874

283

Casey City

413

348

Yarra Ranges Shire

376

385

Brimbank City

331

262

Knox City

299

739

Whittlesea City

278

210

Monash City

276

297

Wyndham City

244

140

Hume City

236

264

Manningham City

235

449

Victoria Total

7,950

9,080

(Source: RACV)

 

Home storm and flood claims by type

LGA

FY 2015-16

FY 2014-15

Storm

6,873

7,546

Lightning

332

584

Falling trees

311

239

Hail damage

182

562

Water inundation

140

147

Storm water run off

90

1

Flood

11

1

Cyclone

11

0

(Source: RACV)

 

RACV Insurance’s top tips for preparing your property for storm or flood

  1. Monitor weather and flood warnings on the Bureau of Meteorology (bom.gov.au) and SES (ses.vic.gov.au) websites for warnings, especially during periods of heavy rain.
    http://emergency.vic.gov.au/respond/
  2. Secure loose items in your garden, such as chairs, trampolines and hoses.
  3. Clear gutters, downpipes and drains.
  4. Trim trees and branches close to your house.
  5. Get your roof checked for damage, corrosion or loose tiles and ensure sails and awnings are correctly fitted.
  6. Avoid parking your vehicle or caravan under trees and branches when storms are forecast.
  7. Know where your gas, electricity and water mains are, in case you need to turn them off.
  8. Move vehicles, caravans and other valuable items to higher ground if you’re concerned that low-lying parts of your property could be subject to flooding.
  9. Remove items that may block drains to prevent water from pooling on your property.
  10. Ensure your insurance policy is up-to-date and provides adequate coverage for your needs.

RACV Home Insurance is issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Limited ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678. Please consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before buying. For a copy call 13 RACV (13 7228).

Written by Lynette Keogh, RACV Public Affairs, on (03) 9790 2572
October 27, 2016