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INSURANCE | 20 January 2010

Warning: Check your insurance cover this bushfire season.

Australia’s history repeatedly tells the story of how fire can devastate property, lives and belongings. A farm is a business, a home and a way of life for farming families and fire can destroy all of this in a matter of minutes, as seen recently in Victoria.

It is vital you take the time to carefully plan and prepare to minimise the devastatingly large losses a fire can cause. As well as preventative measures, one of the most important factors is to ensure your insurance policy is up-to-date and provides enough coverage to replace your home, contents and various farm improvements.

However, even when there is insurance in place, the adequacy of sums insured can still be an issue. Worst still, some property owners risk going without any insurance at all. The cost of replacing your home and contents will far out weigh any insurance premium.

All too often it is only after a disaster has occurred that many realise the impact of underinsurance or non-insurance, and the extreme financial difficulty it can cause.

During challenging times, there is a natural tendency to look at every item of expenditure. Insurance premiums, like everything else, come under review. One option may be to consider a higher level of excess rather than a reduction in the sum insured. The level of risk is then contained to the dollar value of the excess.

How do you know if you’re adequately covered?
One approach is to visit WFI’s website and make use of the freely available home building and home contents calculators. Here you will be able to quickly and easily determine an estimate of the value of your building and contents for your insurance sum insured.

If you’re still not sure, talk to your insurance consultant and find out exactly what you’re covered for in the event of a bushfire. At WFI, your local Area Manager can visit you on farm to conduct an insurance risk assessment, outlining the various insurance options you may need to consider.

You should also take into account if your sum insured is adequate enough to cover the additional financial outlays of rebuilding, such as removal of debris, architects’ and legal fees, and fire fighting costs.

Now is the time to check and review your insurance cover.
It’s worth checking your sum insured not only at renewal time but also before the bushfire season is underway. As circumstances readily change during the course of a year, it is important to conduct regular reviews of your insurance requirements and explore options with your insurer. When reviewing your insurance also think about any renovations or improvements that have been recently completed and major household purchases. .

In a bushfire it may be difficult to recall all of the personal belongings destroyed. When it comes to making a claim, it may help to keep a record of your belongings in a safe off-site location. Records can include an inventory list, video footage, or photographs of items.

WFI, good people to know.
WFI is a member of the Wesfarmers group and has a long and proud history of looking after the people on the land, through good times and bad. During this time the company has handled just about everything Mother Nature can throw its way. .

WFI’s philosophy has always been one of striving for excellence in claims and service. .

Don’t get complacent. Be prepared for a bushfire and stay safe this summer.

WFI is a trading name of Wesfarmers General Insurance Limited ABN 24 000 036 279 AFSL 241461, the issuer of our policies. Any advice we provide is of a general nature only and does not take into consideration your objectives, financial situation and needs. Before acting on any advice you should consider its appropriateness. Contact WFI for a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to help decide if our policies are right for you.

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