Preparing for a natural disaster – Be prepared for an emergency

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Steps to take before disaster strikes to help protect your home and belongings.

Know your disaster risks

To find out if your home is in a natural disaster prone area, contact:

  • your insurance company
  • your local council

Ask them about flood mapping, historical flood records, and the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) of your home. If you contact your council, ask them whether your house meets natural disaster standards.

You can take steps to help protect your property from the risk of disaster. See the Insurance Council of Australia site for ways to reduce your risk.

Check if you’re underinsured

You’re underinsured if your insurance doesn’t cover all the costs of rebuilding your home or replacing its contents.

The market value of your home might not be enough to pay for a rebuild. The costs to rebuild after a natural disaster can increase due to:

  • the need to meet current building codes to better protect it from future disasters
  • higher demand in affected areas for builders and supplies

Use a home insurance calculator to work out your rebuilding costs. Find a calculator that asks lots of details about your home. This may include if it’s built on a slope, the quality of fittings and age of the home.

Check if your insurer offers a ‘safety net’ on your policy. This means they add up to 30% to your sum-insured amount in the event of a total loss.

Securely store important documents

Protect important originals

Place important documents and records in a fire resistant, waterproof safe at home or in a safe deposit box. These may include:

  • marriage or birth certificates
  • wills and powers of attorney
  • passports

Keep electronic copies

Scan or take photos of important documents. Store these files on:

  • an external hard drive — store this away from your home. Keep in a locked drawer at your work, with your solicitor, or with a close friend or relative
  • online cloud storage — Australian Cyber Security Centre has information to help make sure your documents are secure

Make an emergency plan

Take time to plan what your household will do in an emergency. This may include where to get information, when to evacuate and what to pack.

The Australian Red Cross has free tools to help you plan for an emergency.

Smart Tip

These resources can help you plan and prepare for bushfires or floods:



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This information is of a general nature only and neither represents nor is intended to be specific advice on any particular matter. Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd strongly suggests that no person should act specifically on the basis of the information contained herein but should seek appropriate professional advice based upon their own personal circumstances. Although we consider the sources for this material reliable, no warranty is given and no liability is accepted for any statement or opinion or for any error or omission.

Wealthness Pty Ltd t/as Better Financial Planning Australia does not give any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of information which is contained in this website. Except insofar as any liability under statute cannot be excluded, Wealthness Pty Ltd t/as Better Financial Planning Australia and its employees do not accept any liability for any error or omission on this website or for any resulting loss or damage suffered by the recipient or any other person.

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Source: ASIC MoneySmart

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