Get ready for strong winds, heavy rain and snow

Act now to protect yourselves and your property as a band of weather brings high winds and heavy rains, and in some places snow, up Te Waipounamu/the South Island and into Te Ika-a-Māui/the North Island as we go into the weekend.

As usual, Metservice is doing a great job of issuing warnings and updating those as this weather transits the motu. Many Councils, our emergency services and Civil Defence offices are also looking closely at what this weather means for communities and are issuing advice accordingly. People should also be alert to likely problems with travel as this weather passes.

“It’s essential to put your safety first and heed official advice as it comes”, said Insurance Council of New Zealand Te Kāhui Inihua o Aotearoa (ICNZ) Chief Executive, Tim Grafton. “Insurers can add to this with more specific advice to minimise loss and damage and speed recovery.”

From now and over the weekend

  • Check the MetService watches and warnings for your area and, if necessary, have a household plan. Get valuable items and documents together, including your insurance details, and keep those safe.
  • Get your property ready – blocked gutters and drains can make flooding worse. Clean them out and remove anything that might block them.
  • Minimise wind damage – bring inside or secure anything that wasn’t blown away last weekend. Wind can damage property directly, or pick it up and then damage other property, including your home. Turn over trampolines and secure these to the ground, remove netting if necessary.
  • If you are at risk of flooding – If you can, move furniture and other items above flood level. Move your vehicle to higher ground.

After the event

  • Put safety first. Stay out of badly damaged buildings and, if possible, flood water. Do not drive flooded vehicles. If your property has been flooded, turn off the power. Don’t turn it back on until it has been checked by an electrician.
  • If this turns out to be another major event, phone lines will be busy so it is best to make claims online. If you can’t stay in your home, or are otherwise experiencing vulnerability, do not hesitate to call your insurer. For those with home or contents insurance, including renters, temporary accommodation benefits are typically available.

It’s too early to say if these fronts will result in widespread flooding; we are not dealing with a cyclone in this case. However, if you are affected by flooding:

What you can do to start cleaning up

  • Mark and photograph the highest point of any flooding.
  • Dispose of fully flooded property, especially carpets, soft furniture, such as sofas and beds, plus other ruined or contaminated items that can’t otherwise be properly cleaned. Wear appropriate protective equipment if you’re doing this yourself. List everything that you remove, take photographs, and get together any proof of purchase such as receipts that you have. You will need such records to support your claim.
  • Set aside items that can be cleaned. Do not keep unsanitary items in your home.
  • You can start with emergency repairs to make your home safe and sanitary. Keep receipts and a record of work done.
  • When the weather allows, start the drying out process. Remove all the water you can, open windows and doors to get as much air in as possible. If you can get fans and dehumidifiers, use these safely.
  • Do not remove hard floor coverings, wall linings or structural elements of a property or disturb any materials which might contain hazardous substances. You must talk to your insurer if this is required, and only suitably qualified professionals should undertake this work.

“Remember to put your safety first, follow local official advice and do what you can to keep your property safe and minimise losses. If you need to make a claim, do so quickly, take photos and follow your insurer’s advice,” added Tim.

“While this weather is not the same as what we saw earlier in the year, it’s significant and it pays to be prepared.” 

Contact/Tukua ki:  [email protected]

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