Storm damage insurance
Looking for storm damage or storm surge insurance? We're here to help.
Storm damage can wreak havoc with your home. From fallen trees to busted roofs, repairs don't always come cheap. Thankfully, home insurance can help.
Australian home insurance policies cover storm damage as standard. So if you've got a policy, you'll be covered for damage that happens as a result of wind, hail, rain, or lightning.
Who covers storm damage?
You'll find that many home and contents insurance policies will cover storm damage to some degree. If you want to know more about what kind of damage is covered, check out the table below to see how different insurers treat storm damage.
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|Brand||Storm damage||Damage to gates and fences||Damage to the roof||Damage due to landslides||Cover for storm surges||Apply|
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What kind of storm damage is covered?
Insurance companies don't always specify everything that's covered under storm damage but, generally, you can expect the following to be included:
- Earth movement that occurs as a result of a storm
- Surface run-off rainwater from surrounding areas
- The escape of rainwater from pipes, drains, or gutters
- Wind and debris damage
- Fallen trees and branches
- Lightning damage
What kind of storm damage isn't covered?
Not all storm damage is covered by home insurance. Specifics will vary between insurers but some common exclusions are:
- A storm that happens very soon after you bought your policy (usually less than a week)
- Water entering your home through an opening that was not created by the storm
- Damage that occurred due to poor maintenance or defective workmanship
- Gradual deterioration from rainwater
- Damage to soil, gardens and pot plants
- Damage to unsecure outbuildings
- Damage to retaining or freestanding walls
- Swimming pool covers and spa covers
- Textile awnings or blinds, external shades
Remember, always read your PDS carefully to see exactly what may or may not be covered. If you're unsure about anything, call the insurer and ask.
What causes storm damage?
Severe weather events can easily cause storm damage - and Australia is certainly no stranger to severe weather. Typically, it includes:
- Hail. Large hailstones can cause damage to windows and glass, as well as roofs.
- Lightning. Severe lightning can affect your home's electricity network, damage electronics due to power surges, and even bring down power lines.
- Rain. Overflow from storm drains can cause serious water damage.
- Runoff. Overflow from swimming pools, spas and tanks resulting from excess rainwater.
- Storm. A severe atmospheric disturbance accompanied by strong winds, rain, lightning, hail, snow or dust.
- Storm surge. Seawater rushing onshore due to strong winds or sea movements. Storm surges aren't always covered by home insurers so check your PDS carefully.
- Wind - Gales or high winds can damage roofs, uproot trees, and tear down power lines.
Here's how different brands define 'storm damage'
|Budget Direct||A weather event, including cyclones, that may be accompanied by strong winds, rain, lightning, hail, snow, or dust.|
|Coles Insurance||Violent wind or thunderstorm, including a tornado or cyclone, as well as heavy rain, hail or snow.|
|Youi||A violent atmospheric event which includes a thunderstorm, cyclone or strong wind with or without rain, hail or snow - but not rain showers alone.|
|Westpac||Cyclone, hail, wind, snow or rain.|
|St George||Cyclone, hail, wind, snow or rain.|
|Virgin Money||A weather event, including cyclones, that may be accompanied by strong winds, rain, lightning, hail, snow, or dust.|
|Real Insurance||A violent atmospheric disturbance, generally producing strong winds. It can be accompanied by rain, lightning, hail or now and it includes cyclones and tornadoes.|
How do I protect my home from storm damage?
Even if you have the most comprehensive home insurance policy, it's still better to avoid storm damage altogether. While you can't always come off totally unscathered, there are some easy steps you can take to reduce your risk.
- Clear your gutters. If your gutters are blocked, overflowing water could enter your home and cause serious damage. Some insurers won't pay out if blocked gutters are to blame for water damage.
- Check your roof. Repair any loose or damaged tiles as they can weaken your roof and allow water to enter. Many insurers won't pay your claim if water damage is the result of a poorly maintained roof.
- Trim trees. Falling branches can easily destroy property in high winds or heavy rain. Keep trees in check, and trim any dead or loose branches.
- Secure loose items. Bring outdoor furniture, garden ornaments, and any decorations inside. These can cause further damage to your property if caught up in high winds.
How to make a claim for storm damage + handy tips
- Assess the damage. Once it's safe, inspect your property and take photos of any damage. Never put yourself at unnecessary risk while doing so, such as climbing roofs or going near downed power lines.
- Prevent further loss. Take reasonable steps to stop further damage and take photos of anything you did to help. Don't make any longer-term repairs until you've spoken to your insurer. If emergency repairs are required, contact your insurer immediately.
- Gather evidence. Take photos of any damage and mitigation measures. Make notes about when the storm hit. Keep a list of everything that was damaged, including information on make, model and date of purchase. If you do have to buy any essential items, keep the receipts.
- Lodge a claim. Contact your insurer directly to lodge a claim. The fastest way to lodge a claim is online, but you may also be able to do it over the phone, or by mail. You will be asked to include all of your supporting documentation.
- Tell your insurer if it's urgent. Insurers are obligated to fast-track your claim if you're in urgent financial need. If you can prove that you need money immediately - perhaps for emergency accommodation - your claim will be pushed up the queue.
- Claim assessment. The insurer may send out an expert to inspect the damage and assess your claim. In some cases, the assessor may arrange for a hydrologist to determine the cause of the storm or flood damage.
- Claim payment. If your claim is accepted, your insurer will pay out a benefit to cover your loss or damage. If it's not accepted, you may be allowed to submit further evidence, or appeal.
- Know how to complain. If you're unhappy with how your claim is being handled, contact your insurer's internal complaints resolution department. If that doesn't help, the next step is to contact the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
What is storm surge insurance?
A storm surge - sometimes called a tidal surge - is a coastal flood which happens during a storm. The sea level rises far beyond its typical level and heavy winds push water ashore.
Storm surge insurance will pay out for any damage caused - but be aware, cover isn't always included in home insurance policies. The table below shows how some insurers cover storm surges.
|Insurer||Cover for storm surge||What the PDS says|
|Budget Direct||You are not covered for loss or damage caused by a high tide, king tide, tidal wave, storm surge, or any other action of the sea|
|Coles Insurance||Not covered for loss or damage caused by high tide, tidal wave, storm surge, tsunami or other actions of the sea.|
|Youi||No cover for loss, damage or legal liability caused by storm surge, actions of the sea or tides or other oceanic activity.|
|Westpac||Covered for loss or damage caused by flood, including tsunami and storm surge.|
|St George||Covered for loss or damage caused by flood, including tsunami and storm surge.|
|Virgin Money||You are not covered for loss or damage caused by high tide, king tide, tidal wave, storm surge, or any other actions of the sea.|
|Real Insurance||You are not covered for any loss or damage caused by actions of the sea, including high tides.|
If you live particularly close to the coast, or in an area which is at high risk of storm surges, it may be worth considering home insurance which includes cover for storm surges.
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