Four risks to your home, and how to combat them
Understanding the risks your home faces will help you protect it. Here are four examples.
Your home is more than just four walls – it’s a sanctuary for you and your loved ones. And chances are it didn’t come cheap.
Home insurance is your safety net if disaster strikes. It’s designed to cover the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home, and structures such as outbuildings, garages, fences and pools.
While insurance provides peace of mind, it’s a good idea to be aware of the hazards your home could face, and the steps you can take to protect it.
1. Natural disasters
In Australia we’re exposed to our fair share of natural disasters. Depending on where you live you could be at risk of storms, flooding, bushfires, cyclones, earthquakes and more.
The Insurance Council of Australia is a great source for information about protecting your property and putting together a disaster action plan. It’s worth the time and effort because smart planning could not only save your home, it could save your life.
Not every storm is on the scale of a natural disaster but even more moderate weather events can do significant damage to your home. Proactive steps such as clearing dead or overhanging branches and ensuring your roof’s in good shape could really pay dividends when a storm rolls in.
House fires can spread quickly and put you and your family in danger. Here are a few ways to reduce your risk:
- Always ensure smoke alarms are installed and fitted with working batteries
- Never leave cooking unattended, particularly when you’re using the cooktop
- Keep matches out of the reach of children
- Store flammable chemicals away from ignition sources
- Clear the lint from your dryer each time you use it
- Switch off appliances when they’re not in use, and avoid overloading power points.
3. Internal leaks
Water may not necessarily come from outside your property – internal leaks can be equally destructive.
If you’re in an area where the temperature drops below freezing in winter you’re at risk of burst water pipes (water expands as it freezes). Keeping your home warm enough to stop your pipes from freezing and lagging (insulating) the pipes should do the job.
If you damage a pipe accidentally by drilling through a wall, turn off the main water valve until you get it fixed.
It’s also a good idea to check the hoses on your washing machine from time to time – if they burst or come loose it can be seriously bad news, especially if you’re not home to turn off the taps.
Related article: This one simple tip could save your home from water damage
4. Accidental damage
Are you a parent? Perhaps you’re just clumsy or unlucky? Either way, accidental damage happens. From a wayward ball smashing a window to DIY accidents, the list of potential scenarios is almost endless.
Hiring professionals to do renovations and keeping an eye on your kids can help, but including the accidental damage option with your home insurance is a smart move.
This article was originally published in December 2015 and was updated in November 2020.