Australians are being warned to prepare for another devastating bushfire season this year, particularly in New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria.
A new report by the Climate Council warned the length and severity of the bushfire season is increasing year on year.
“Record-breaking heat and hotter weather over the long term in NSW has worsened fire weather and contributed to an increase in the frequency and severity of bushfires,” the report said.
The report linked the intensity and length of the bushfire season in Australia to the impact of climate change, stating extreme fire weather has increased over the last 30 years and will only get worse in the future.
NSW was declared a state of emergency in October 2013, with areas in the Blue Mountains and Central Coast up in flames and more than 100 fires burning across the state. Early estimates suggest the cost of damages from the bushfires would be more than $180 million with 768,000 hectares of land affected, destroying 279 homes, with two people losing their lives.
This year will be no exception, with NSW firefighters battling 90 blazes in August this year and 55 local councils declaring the start of bushfire season well before the start of summer.
Meanwhile, the Tasmanian Fire Service has warned that a number of inner-city areas are considered bushfire risk hotspots this summer.
The economic cost of bushfires in Australia is also devastating, with an estimated cost of $337 million per year, with that cost expected to reach $800 million annually by mid-century, the report said.
The legal profession are encouraging homeowners and businesses to check their insurance policies to make sure they are adequately covered if disaster strikes.
Checking your insurance policy now and better understanding your legal rights, could save heartache and financial stress down the track.
“Our lawyers have found that if people had checked their policies each year before the extreme summer weather kicked in, they could have avoided some of the problems they faced when making a claim.” said Legal Aid Queensland CEO, Anthony Reilly.
People who are insured should check their policies and ask themselves:
- Am I up to date with my payments?
- Does the sum insured on my building cover the total rebuild cost?
- Do you understand the BAL rating (Building Attack Level) and how it affects your property?
- Do I know where my policy is?
- Does my policy really cover what I think it covers?
- What can’t I claim for under the policy?
- Are there maximum amounts or limits I can claim?
If you can’t answer these questions then you need to speak to your insurance broker.
Conditions apply for each policy and the information expected from you for a policy to trigger. Coverage may differ based on specific clauses in individual policies. Please ask your broker to explain the additional benefits and exclusions pertaining to your policy.
The information provided is general advice only and does not take account of your personal circumstances or needs. Please refer to our financial services guide which contains details of our services and how we are remunerated.