Australia may be affectionately known as ‘the sunburnt country’. But flooding remains an annual reality in virtually every state and territory. As we’ve seen recently in, floods continue to be one of the most devastating insurance events experienced by both home and business owners. If you don’t know your current flood risk, the time to do something about it is…immediately.
From the early 1800s the vast majority of Australia’s largest cities and towns were established on floodplains, directly adjacent to major river systems. As our population has grown, so has the number of businesses at the mercy of our creeks and rivers.
Without the right type of insurance in place, recovering from a major flooding event could be financially crippling.
Know the Risk
Basic geography (not to mention history) tells us some regions are far more flood prone than others. But as many business owners have learned the hard way over the years, the risk isn’t always as clear as you might think.
To assess the flood risk in your area, do some digging. Check for flood maps, council reports, SES data and speak with locals who’ve been in the area for many years. Collectively you’ll be able to get a far better sense of what may or may not happen in the future. But be careful. With weather events becoming more extreme and less predictable, the fact your area hasn’t flooded before is no guarantee for the future.
Know the Facts
When it comes to floods, there are plenty of misconceptions floating around (excuse the pun). There are also different types of flooding events that could directly affect your ability to make
a successful insurance claim. Some things to remember include:
- Flooding can happen at any time of year, even in the middle of a drought
- Just because you’re in a hilly area doesn’t mean you won’t experience flooding
- Even if your property isn’t flooded, you could still become isolated by floodwaters
- Rising creeks and rivers are a common cause of flooding, but so are things like blocked drains during periods of heavy or sustained rain – and that can happen anywhere
- When creeks and rivers burst their banks, flood waters can impact properties many kilometres away
- Flood damage caused by rising waters is often treated very differently by insurers to damage
- caused by rainfall and storms.
What Should You Do in a Flood?
Preparation, including having the right type of insurance, is vital to protect your business. But if you ever find yourself in the middle of a flood, what should you do? The first thing is…don’t panic.
Listen to your local authorities and heed all safety warnings. Other preparation tips from the
Bureau of Meteorology include:
- Prepare basic supplies including a first aid kit, torch, battery-operated portable radio, spare batteries/chargers and gloves
- Move valuable items to a high place, remaining aware of the load bearing limits of upper floors
- and ceilings
- Protect valuable machinery and equipment that can’t be relocated with waterproof covers or
- Relocate dangerous chemicals and/or place them in waterproof containers to avoid contaminating flood waters
- Tie down loose items like timber, drums, gas bottles and tools to prevent them from being swept away
- Close off your main gas valve
- Remove all electrical fuses and if you have a circuit breaker panel board, switch each circuit breaker to the OFF position.
Flooding can be a hugely disruptive, highly expensive and deceptively complex insurance risk.
To better understand your flood exposure or discuss the suitability of your current policies, please don’t hesitate to call us.