02 DEC 2020
In Australia, you may be surprised to learn that many buildings within bushfire-prone areas actually pre-date current regulations and don’t meet the new construction Standards under the Australian Building Codes Board. These homes could be left vulnerable to significantly higher rebuilding costs.
In the aftermath of a bushfire, there are a number of things that can affect your rebuilding or clean up costs. This includes your location, bushfire attack level (BAL), the presence of hazardous materials – like LP gas cylinders or medicines – and whether or not your home was built to code.
After the 2019-2020 fires, the average cost for debris removal was around $46,000 – or $68,000 for those with asbestos properties. And for a typical four-bedroom home in a high risk bushfire area, it can cost over $100,000 extra to both rebuild and properly fire proof.
Now you might be wondering what kind of things help determine your ‘bushfire attack level’ or ‘BAL’, as it’s often shortened to. So, let’s break it down.
BAL, or bushfire attack levels, is a measure of the severity of the potential exposure to ember attack, radiant heat and direct flame contact by a building. It establishes the requirements to construct a bushfire resilient building and takes into account the following things:
You can contact your local fire authority for help working out your property’s BAL code. Your local government body can also advise about the specific requirements for a BAL certificate by a qualified assessor.
Check that you are adequately covered
We understand the last thing you want to worry about in the event of a bushfire, is a pricey replacement, clean up or rebuilding cost. So, ensuring you’re adequately covered is a crucial step to take in preparing for bushfire season. To help you out with this, we’ve created a simple bushfire-ready checklist, which you can see and use below:
Check your bushfire risk. Remember, you don’t have to live right near the bush to be at risk.
Create a Bushfire Survival Plan. (For assistance with this, check in with your local fire service authority).
Use an online insurance calculator as a guide to help figure out how much your rebuilding costs would be. Consider including clean-up and rebuilding costs.
Check your BAL and relevant rebuilding requirements with a local fire authority or government body. Be aware, these ratings can change without notice.
Check if you’re adequately covered for ‘removal of debris’, i.e. clean up costs.
Ensure your Home Buildings and Contents Insurance policy is up to date.
Ensure you have appropriate insurance for any vehicles, boats or caravans on your property.
Check if your insurance policy covers you for temporary accommodation if your home is deemed unliveable due to a bushfire.
To check your cover or make a claim, please visit www.coles.com.au/insurance/make-a-claim
This page provides general advice only. For up-to-date and specific advice relating to the risks in your area please speak to your local council or emergency services.
Standard underwriting criteria apply. Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Ltd (Coles) is an authorised representative of the issuer, Insurance Australia Limited (ABN 11 000 016 722) (AFSL 227681), part of Insurance Australia Group (IAG). Any advice provided is of a general nature only and does not take into consideration your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any advice you should consider its appropriateness. You should read the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations available at coles.com.au/insurance-information before deciding whether to acquire an insurance policy.