Rain, hail or shine – you need these tips for protecting yourself this storm season.

The Bureau of Meteorology says February to April is going to be wetter than average for much of the country – especially here in Central Queensland.

While the predicted La Niña is well and truly underway and has technically reached its peak strength, the BOM says it hasn’t reached its peak rainfall influence just yet.

Remember that random hail storm that hit central Queensland last year? That was an April event- so don’t think we’re out of the natural disaster woods just yet!

So what should you do to protect your home and family from whatever Mother Nature throws at us over the next few months?

Here’s our top tips:

1. Check your insurance policy cover dates.

This is something that might take you 15 minutes but could save you thousands in the event of a natural disaster.

First, you want to make sure your home and contents policy is still current and hasn’t lapsed while you weren’t looking.

Sure, it sounds unlikely but you’d be surprised how easily this can happen!

If you pay your premium annually and haven’t received that reminder, you don’t have set and forget auto-renewal or your credit card has expired since your last monthly payment, chances are you could find yourself up a creek without a paddle when that next deluge comes down!

Check your emails, filing cabinet or that Bermuda triangle junk drawer and make sure you’re covered.

2. Check your level of cover.

If the worst happened and your home was damaged or destroyed, could you rebuild it with the amount it’s currently insured for?

Maybe it only cost you 150k to build in the early 2000’s. In almost all likelihood, today’s construction prices would see the same house built for well north of that.

Do your research and get a solid idea of what it would cost to replace your home.

Similarly, what are your contents worth? It can be difficult to estimate and easy to underinsure yourself.

It’s simpler to think of it this way: What would it cost me to fit out my home with brand new everything?

Actually add it up.

Go room by room, make a list and google search your local stores to get ballpark prices on the replacement products.

And don’t kid yourself – you’re not going to get the cheapest fridge on the market to replace your slim-line matte black French door smart fridge, so pick something close to what you have if you needed to replace everything in your home.

3. Check your type of cover.

Unfortunately, this one is going to involve some fine print. Okay, a lot of fine print.

But it’s important to check what type of disasters your policy will cover you for, how each disaster type is defined and what circumstances might lead your claim to be rejected.

These things are specified in the Product Disclosure Statement. If you don’t have yours tucked away in the Bermuda triangle drawer, you can request a copy from your insurer.

The terms and conditions can vary wildly from policy to policy so it’s important to know where you stand and think about whether you are comfortable with each of the terms.

If the answer is no, it may be worth shopping around for a policy from a different insurer that will cover the things you want cover for.

For example, some insurers will cover the cost of temporary accommodation if your home is uninhabitable, some won’t.

Maybe it’s not an issue for you to go and live with your in-laws for a year while your home is rebuilt – or maybe it is. Only you can make those decisions.

If you have questions, don’t be afraid to call your insurer and ask for clarification; it could save you a lot of heartache in the event of a claim.

4. Check your car/boat/caravan/motorhome/motorbike insurance policy.

As above y’all. Rinse and repeat. Check the dates, check the level and check the type.

5. Prepare your home and your family.

Make a Home Emergency Plan for your family that outlines exactly what you should do in the event of a storm. In the meantime, clean your gutters, down pipes and drains and trim any large trees. If a storm is forecast, check the yard or balcony and make sure everything is secured, especially trampolines!

You know that one hailstorm I mentioned earlier? It’s expected to cost the insurance industry more than $604 million.

The Zurich-based natural disaster loss estimator, PERIL, says the true figure from the April 19, 2020 event is actually still climbing because of unusually delayed claims.

It says most of the claims related to residential and commercial property around Rockhampton and Yeppoon. Motor losses have so far accounted for about $30m.

If you are one of the thousands of people who had a roof replaced or a car written off, then we probably don’t need to say much more about how important it is to make sure you are covered.

And if you’re one of those people who weren’t insured – well, we probably don’t need to tell you either.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

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