DO IT NOW: Sorting your insurance now could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars down the track.
DO IT NOW: Sorting your insurance now could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars down the track. wollwerth

Why it pays to be insured for storm season

AS QUEENSLAND braces for another storm season, it pays to revisit your insurance policy and know exactly what you are covered for.

Or if you don't have storm insurance, consider whether you should.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission said too many families had faced the heartache of not being properly covered when disaster struck.

"There have been many serious floods, fires, cyclones and storms in Australia over the last few years and many people have found out too late that they did not have enough insurance cover on their home," ASIC states on its website.

"Check your policy now to see how much your insurer will pay and under what circumstances. Also check when your insurer will reject a claim.

"Wherever you live, your home insurance cover needs to be enough to cover the cost of rebuilding your home."

ASIC urged residents to liaise with their local council, insurer and state emergency services to gauge the disaster risk level of their area and tailor their insurance policy to suit.

"Ask them about flood mapping and the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) of your home to get a better understanding of your risk of flood and bushfires," it said.

"You can also ask your council whether your house has been built to natural disaster standards (eg cyclone standard)."

Understanding the definition of each term is also vital.

"If you have home and contents insurance, check whether you are covered for natural disasters such as storms, cyclones, floods, bushfires and flash floods," the ASIC site reads.

"Make sure you understand the definition of each term, and any exclusions and conditions that apply, by asking your insurer questions.

"If you are not happy with your current level of cover, talk to your insurer about what they can offer and get quotes from other insurers to find a policy that's better suited to your needs.

"Always ask potential insurers lots of questions."

The Financial Rights Legal Centre advised home owners to carefully read their policy and understand the insurance company cannot go beyond the words in the contract, so anything not outlined, is not applicable.

When reviewing your policy, it suggested checking the following points:

  • Are you insured for the specific event which occurred?
  • What repairs, if any, are excluded under storm damage?
  • What are the "additional features" of your policy?
  • Are you covered for temporary accommodation?
  • Are you able to do any emergency repairs?
  • If you need to lodge a claim, contact your insurer immediately to begin the process as soon as possible.