Looking after your belongings indoors is relatively straightforward. You keep them secure, safe and out of harm’s way. But how do you protect the items outdoors that you’ve invested significant time and money in, like your entertaining area? Your home’s outdoor living areas are exposed to the elements and can house some big-ticket items that would be expensive to replace if you had to. Think barbecues, outdoor furniture and pool filters just for starters.
Put simply, if you own it, you should protect it. Think about your home and the contents you’ve collected over time, then consider whether you could afford to replace them should something go wrong.
Protect it now to enjoy it later
Whether it’s a deck, a pergola or a balcony, if you have an outdoor area where you can entertain it’s a valuable living space that’s worth protecting.
If your timber deck or pergola has a few years on it, schedule an annual maintenance check to ensure no wood has perished or splintered and any joins or bolts are secure and structurally sound. You can do this yourself if you have some home maintenance know-how or call in a carpenter or builder for a professional opinion (and repairs) if required. Timber decks need to be re-coated or oiled every two years or so, more often if you live in coastal areas.
Lighting and power points housed in an outdoor structure should be checked out by an electrician regularly too, so they can ensure no water is getting in and creating a potential fire hazard.
If you’ve recently renovated or extended your home to add an entertaining area such as a deck, barbecue area or spa, make sure you update your Home and Contents Insurance to include your new addition, so your property is adequately insured. Any appliances or electrical equipment integrated into your outdoor area such as fridges, speakers or screens should also be noted for cover under your insurance in case of theft, fire or storm damage.
Think of your furniture’s future
While outdoor furniture is designed to be durable, it still needs care to keep it in good shape. Ideally, outdoor chairs and lounges should be kept undercover out of the elements, but if that’s not possible, cover your table and chair frames when they’re off duty. Only put cushions out when needed to avoid weather and UV damage, as fabrics can be quick to perish when left outdoors.
A word on weather patterns
UV damage isn’t the only thing you should keep in mind when it comes to your outdoor items. Storm and hail damage is becoming increasingly frequent and more intense (as are cyclones in tropical and sub-tropical regions), so it’s important you have a storm protection strategy should extreme weather blow in.
Securing large outdoor items such as pots, furniture, trampolines and freestanding barbecues is not only important to keep them safe during a storm, but also your home and your family, in case they are blown around and become damaging projectiles. If severe weather is forecast you will need to act quickly to secure your outdoor items that can’t be put away (but only do this before a storm and if the conditions are safe enough to do so).
Sandbags and bricks can weigh down outdoor items. You can also use ropes or occy straps to secure them to immovable objects such as railings and fence posts, even large trees. Turn off the power supply to your pool until the storm passes to avoid power surges that can damage your pool’s pump and motor.
Consider your cover
If your home is damaged during a storm or something else goes wrong, such as fire or theft, you’ll be relieved to know your insurance is there to help get you back on your feet. If you’re not sure what you’re covered for, now’s the time to check and refresh your memory as to what’s specifically covered by your policy.
Give NRMA Insurance a call if you have any queries about the different types of home insurance, because we’re here to help. In short, Home Buildings covers you for structures that are permanently attached to your home such as garages, pergolas and pools, NRMA Insurance Contents cover is for your personal belongings and Home and Contents is combined cover for buildings and contents, although some exclusions apply.
If you want extra protection for your home (or cover for non-standard items like your exotic potted cactus), talk to us about upgrading to Home Plus. It gives you all the benefits of our standard home insurance, plus extra features and automatic cover you don’t usually find in other policies.
To find out more, call NRMA Insurance on 132 132 or go online to get a quote at nrma.com.au.