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Preparing for a natural disaster

Be prepared for an emergency

Page reading time: 2 minutes

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

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:

Keep electronic copies

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

Know your disaster risks

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

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 Understand Insurance site for ways to identify and manage your risks.

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:

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.

See Storm, flood and fire insurance to check if you have enough insurance to rebuild and repair your home.

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.