How to prepare your home for bushfires
The Bureau of Meteorology has declared an El Niño weather event for this summer and homeowners are urged to act now to protect their home ahead of bushfire season. So if you're in an area prone to bushfires, it's time to get your defences ready to keep a potential blaze away. Not sure where to get started? Check out our handy bushfire plan and the top tips we've compiled below.
Update your insurance policy
First things first, check that your home is properly covered in the event of a bushfire. Changes in building standards and the increase in average home rebuild costs means it’s important to regularly review your policy and adjust the amount your home's covered for — also known as the sum insured.
At AAMI, we offer an optional Complete Replacement Cover on our Home & Contents and Home Building Insurance policies to provide your home protection against underinsurance. If your home is affected by an insured event, we’ll offer to repair or rebuild your home as it was or pay you the amount of the assessed quote to repair or rebuild it, without you having to set a sum insured amount. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply, so be sure to read the PDS.
Keep your yard tidy
In bushfire season, long grass and flammable materials in your yard can be a silent enemy. Keep your lawns short and cut back shrubs or trees hanging over your home.
Keep your yard tidy by removing items like:
- debris — such as sticks, leaves and branches
- old timber or wooden furniture, and
- gas bottles, chemicals and fertiliser.
Clean the gutters, drains and downpipes
Dead leaves and twigs clogging your gutters can pose a serious risk in case of a fire, so be sure to carefully clear your drains, downpipes and gutters. Seek the help of a professional cleaner if you don't feel confident doing it on your own.
Regularly check and update your fire safety equipment
Your smoke alarm and fire extinguisher are your first line of defence. Regularly dust off your smoke alarm and test its battery annually. If your alarm is older than 10 years, it's time for a replacement.
Ensure your fire extinguisher is also ready for action by:
- checking for any signs of damage — like corrosions and dents
- confirming the hose and cylinder are securely connected, and
- familiarising yourself with its instruction label.
Eliminate gaps around doors, windows and walls
Fit seals around doors and windows and repair gaps in external walls to protect your home against embers from bushfires.
Install metal fly screens
Consider upgrading your plastic fly screens to metal ones for added protection against potential fire threats.
Have the correct size garden hose
Ensure you have a garden hose long enough to reach all corners of your property. Remember to water your garden regularly — dry grass is more susceptible to catching fire.
Prepare an emergency kit
Start building an accessible bushfire emergency kit. You’ll need:
- enough drinking water and non-perishable food for three days
- a first aid kit
- extra clothes and toiletries
- a torch with spare batteries
- a battery-powered radio, and
- important documents.
Store it in an easy-to-reach spot and print your bushfire plan to ensure your kit is up to date.
Know when to leave
Sometimes, the safest option is to evacuate. Make a plan with your family about when you’ll leave, where you’ll go, and which route will get you there.
Monitor weather alerts
During bushfire season, monitor weather warnings and follow the advice of authorities like the SES and your local CFA.
Remember, no matter how prepared you are, nature can be unpredictable. So rest easy by making sure your home is covered today! And if you’re affected by bushfire season, our straightforward claim process via the AAMI App makes it easy for you to claim.
AAMI has been Principal Community Partner of VICSES for the last twenty years. Through this partnership AAMI has helped equip 150 SES units across the state and provided VICSES with financial and in-kind support to educate the Victorian community about disaster resilience.
- How home maintenance can help with insurance claims
- How much insurance do you need for bushfire protection?
- Preparing your family and home for natural disasters: bushfires, cyclones, floods and more
AAMI Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as AAMI. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. Please read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before you make any decision regarding this product. The Target Market Determination is also available.
The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.