Be prepared for WA storm season. What to do if your home or business is damaged
08 April 2016
With WA’s storm season arriving soon, running from May to October, Western Australia is poised to receive flash storms with heavy rain, hail, lighting and strong winds in the coming months. Taking precautions against property damage and ensuring the safety of your family home or business are uppermost in the minds of WA residents.
Here we take you through some points to look out for pre and post storm.
Lightning Strike at Telfer, WA (Kevin Utting, Flickr)
Preventive measures are half the battle – anything you can do before the winds and rain arrive to mitigate damage you should do. One of the things that can cause the most damage during a storm is loose branches falling from trees. They can damage roofs and cars, block roads, and in some cases they can be fatal if they hit a pedestrian.
Before storm season arrives, it pays to hire a skip for the weekend to clear debris from the yard. You should make use of the skip to:
- Check the trees around your home, pull down any loose branches and throw them into the skip
- Put pool lounges and outdoor chairs into the shed or throw out any that you don’t want to keep until next season
- Remove debris from gutters to prevent clogging (which can lead to water damage in the home) and check for any cracks or leaks
- Check the stability of the roof tiles. Throw away and replace any loose or broken tiles. This will prevent them coming away during the storm and injuring people or animals or causing additional property damage.
Despite your best efforts, this exercise may be necessary again after a storm hits to ensure you’re ready for the next one should any more damage happen during the last storm.
Safety procedures at home and work
If you own or operate a construction or demolition site, hauling away debris and materials is essential prior to a storm. Instant Waste Management can help you handle large waste removal projects like this too.
If your area experiences flooding, particularly in more remote parts of WA’s north and south, you should have an escape route planned to avoid becoming trapped in your home. Make sure your vehicle is in good repair and filled with petrol. Once roads are no longer accessible, you have no choice but to remain in your home. Make sure you have sufficient provisions for several days if you do not intend to evacuate. Also, stay indoors if you have made the decision to ride it out. Dangerous lightning can strike nearby trees and tall structures, as well as metal objects.
Check your insurance cover
Check insurance coverage to make sure you are covered for storm damage. A very important thing to check is your insurer’s definition of an ‘act of God’. This is a term used as a loophole for insurers to protect themselves against mass claims in the event of widespread damage caused by certain weather conditions like a hurricane or landslide. However, some insurers can go as far as deeming storms, lightning strikes and floods as an act of God, so be sure to check this before you find yourself with a damaged home or business and no cover.
Another way to cover yourself to ensure your damage can be covered is to take photographs around your home before the storm to prove your property’s condition before any damage is done. If the trees in your yard are very large and overhang neighbour’s homes it’s also an idea to take property condition images of the external parts of their homes to determine any damage prior to the storm, in case a branch from your tree falls on their home and they come to you for compensation.
Recovery and Reconstruction
As mentioned above, the first thing to do after a storm is to get another skip if necessary and clear any more debris from around the house, especially if there are large branches blocking the roads which could cause a car accident.
Assess any damage to your home or business premises, take photos and get in touch with your insurer as soon as possible to prevent any damage worsening. They may ask you to get an insurance inspection which involves a third party assessing the damage. This will enable you and them to get quotes for repair and get the ball rolling ASAP.
If you fall victim to storm damage this season get in touch with us. You can book your skip online and we’ll get it delivered to your door ASAP.