Protect yourself from severe weather

There’s a severe weather warning for Waikato, Kaimai Range and Bay of Plenty, West of Matata, with heavy rain and strong wind expected from this afternoon through to tomorrow morning (Monday 31 August to Tuesday 1 September).

See the Met Service website for more information. In the meantime, here’s what you can do to prepare and keep safe in severe weather:

Secure your stuff outside.  Loose items left in your garden or on your deck can take flight in high winds and cause damage to people and properties.  Tie down, move inside or find a sheltered place to store large, heavy objects like BBQ covers, outdoor chairs and tables, sun umbrellas and trampolines – anything that could become airborne in harsh weather. If you have time, trim trees and overhanging branches.  High winds can cause trees and branches to fall and cause damage to your home and endanger your family.

Get a full tank of gas.  If power is cut, you may not get a chance to fill up.

Develop a household emergency plan and prepare an emergency survival kit.  Have a stock of basic survival items such as drinking water, spare batteries for your torch and radio and a portable survival kit in case you need to get away in a hurry.  The New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management’s Get Thru Get Ready website has useful information on how to prepare emergency plans and kits: getthru.govt.nz.  You can also follow them on Twitter: @NZGetThru for up-to-the-minute information. It can be a good idea to keep a spare kit in your car in case you don’t have time to grab one from the house in an emergency.

Withdraw some spare cash.  ATM machines may not be working, so make sure you have some money to hand.

Remember pets and livestock.  If you live on a farm, take care to move livestock away from floodwaters, landslides and power lines and into a safe paddock.  Remember to bring pets inside and take them with you if you need to leave your home.

Stay informed of weather updates.  Tune into your local radio station to hear civil defence broadcasts most relevant to your community.  The Met Service also has the latest weather information for the whole country: www.metservice.com.

Check your gutters are clean.  During heavy rain, blocked gutters can result in water getting into your roof, seeping through your ceiling and causing damage to the walls, flooring and furniture. Gutters should be cleaned every six months. Also, ensure your drains are free from blockages so water can flow easily when there is rain. You should also make sure your roof is in good repair each year.

If you need to drive, don’t ignore signs such as ‘Road flooded’.  In poor weather it’s sometimes best to stay off the roads completely, but if you must drive, your policy expects that you take reasonable care while doing so. Read our blog: ‘Safe driving in heavy rain’ to find out more about what reasonable care actually means.

Check your insurance policies.  Make sure cover for your home, contents, vehicles and other valuables is current and adequate.  Keep copies of important documents in your emergency kit.

In the unfortunate circumstance that you need to make a claim and you are an IAG customer, you can contact us on:

State
Telephone: 0800 80 24 24
Email: claims@state.co.nz
Website: www.state.co.nz/about-state-insurance/pages/making-a-claim.aspx

AMI
Telephone: 0800 100 200
Website:www.ami.co.nz/claims

NZI
Contact your broker or telephone: 0800 227 653
Website:www.nzi.co.nz/making-a-claim

Lantern
Telephone: 0800 800 800
Website: www.lanterninsurance.co.nz/Pages/Make-a-Claim.aspx

Lumley
Telephone: 0800 111 888 (office hours) or 0800 801 210 (after hours).
Websitehttp://www.lumley.co.nz/home/claims/motor-claims.

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