Before bushfire season checklist: 10-steps to prepare
▢ Review your insurance policies to make sure home, contents and vehicles are adequately covered
Make sure outbuildings, fences and gates are included as well as any recent large purchases, including home technology, sporting equipment, bikes or jewelry. Remember to keep your policy documents in easy reach or save them to the cloud. Read more in How to avoid underinsurance.
▢ Find out your property’s Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) status and get an idea of the standards you’d need to adhere to for a rebuild
Your BAL status will depend on your location and may have changed. Depending on your bushfire risk level, you’d need to use specific products that are more resistant to fire if rebuilding your home. These products are often significantly more expensive than more traditional products. Read more in What to do in a bushfire.
▢ Get a builder or valuer to give an estimate on rebuild costs
What’s the best way to get an accurate idea of rebuild costs? Ask a professional. You may have an idea of how much it would cost to rebuild your home, but how much would it really cost today? Don’t forget to include demolition and clearance costs too.
▢ Make an inventory of your contents
Take a room-by-room inventory of all of your home’s contents so you have up-to-date records, and use an online calculator to get an accurate guide. Making a quick inventory of everything you usually store inside any vehicles is a good idea too. Keep pictures and receipts in the cloud if possible.
▢ Ensure gutters and chimneys are clear
Inspect your gutters, roof and chimney and clean out any debris – leaves, sticks and other tree remains. This material is extremely flammable.
▢ Cut back low-hanging branches within 10m of your home, and keep all grass cut short
By reducing the amount of natural flammable material around your home you can reduce the chances of a bushfire taking hold. Inspect and cut back tree branches and cut grass down to under 10cm.
▢ Check around your property and note the location of anything that’s flammable
Sweep up any dry leaves from around the outside of your home and note the position of anything flammable. From gas canisters to wooden outdoor furniture, it’s vital you know where these items are so you can quickly move them if necessary.
▢ Download your state’s fire alert app
You need to ensure you know of any fires in your local area, so you can watch and act. Download your state’s app, and make sure you turn notifications on.
▢ Create your bushfire readiness plan, and keep it handy
Detail what you will do in the event of a bushfire, when you’ll move and where you’ll go. Your state’s fire service has downloadable bushfire action plans. New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania.
▢ If fires are nearby, have bags packed and ensure your vehicle has fuel
Have all of your essentials packed and in an easily accessible place, including your pets and anything they will need. If you need to vacate your premises it’s likely to be in a hurry. Remember, the most important aspect of all of this is the preservation of human life. Your home and your contents can be replaced – your life cannot. Read more in How to prepare for a bushfire in Australia.
Find out more
This checklist was compiled based on information available to QBE on or before September 2020. The general advice in this checklist has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You must decide whether or not it is appropriate, in light of your own circumstances, to act on this advice. This guide does not form part of any insurance policy and is not used in the assessment of insurance claims. Any insurance claim will be assessed against the policy terms and conditions and applicable law.