Call to check homes for fire risk as heat strikes early

TIME TO BE BUSHFIRE READY:

* The latest NRMA Insurance Wild Weather Tracker reveals that most people are unprepared for bushfire season

* Almost half (49 per cent) of Australians are concerned about being impacted by bushfire or grassfire during spring and summer

* But less than a quarter have taken steps to protect and prepare their homes in the past six months

* Only one in four know what they would do if a bushfire threatened their home

* Insurance Council of Australia is calling for early bushfire preparation so property owners and tenants can be safer

* High-risk areas in particular are urged to check whether their insurance can cover the cost of any potential disaster

* Check any exclusions in your insurance policy and query your insurer about any part of a policy you do not understand

* Use an insurance calculator to estimate costs to repair, rebuild or replace home and contents, vehicles and any outbuildings

* Take practical steps to reduce risk ā€“ clean out gutters, keep lawns and gardens maintained and get rid of green waste

* Prepare a room-by-room inventory of the contents of your home or business to save time later when making a claim

* The Bureau of Meteorology has formally declared an El Nino event, coinciding with a swag of severe weather warnings and alerts

* El Nino will bring record-high temperatures and extreme weather patterns over the next 12 months, particularly in eastern Australia

* Some insurers may place a temporary embargo on the purchase of new policies if bushfires are imminent.

(Sources: Insurance Council of Australia, NRMA, Bureau of Meteorology)

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Marion Rae
(Australian Associated Press)

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