Berwick storm-damage hotspot

By Jessica Anstice

Berwick was the worst-affected suburb in the state last year for storm-related insurance claims, according to new data.

Statistics from AAMI reveal Berwick has consistently remained in the top five over the past three years, moving up from third place in 2017 and 2018 to claim the number one spot this year.

“Although our claims data showed some areas consistently copped a battering when it came to storms, the very nature of these types of weather events are unpredictable and can happen anywhere,” AAMI spokesperson Angela Wilkinson said.

“Our message to all Victorians is to take the time now to prepare their homes ahead of storm season.

“Thunderstorms, hailstorms and accompanying high winds and lightning don’t need to be severe or last long to cause serious damage.”

VIC SES chief officer of operations Tim Wiebusch said the data “speaks volumes at the level of destruction that severe weather can cause”.

“With the warmer weather, we often see these types of weather events continue long after the colder seasons,” he said.

“This is why it’s important to stay informed about your local situation. The best way to be ready for storms, is to prepare your home.”

You can prepare your home by cleaning out gutters, locking down any loose items and parking vehicles undercover away from trees.

“Ensure you keep up general maintenance around the home, check the condition of your roof and replace any damaged or missing tiles because if you do need to make a claim for storm damage, insurance won’t cover you for any pre-existing damage,” Ms Wilkinson added.

“Often, intense rainfall during severe weather events leads to flash flooding, damaging or washing away roads and bridges, along with floodwaters containing sewage and debris. “Remember, it can take just 15cm of water to cause a small car to lose traction. The decision to drive through flash floodwaters could be the last decision you make.”

Top tips for storm season:

• Trim overhanging trees and branches

• Clean out gutters and downpipes

• Secure or put away any loose items outside

• Check your roof is in a good condition

• Get hold of documents like marriage certificates and wills and put them in something watertight

• Take photos of any important receipts or precious items

• Check your insurance is strong enough to cover you in the event of a storm – don’t be underinsured or out of date

• If your area floods, check where there’s high ground and get to know where your community shelters and meeting points are.

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