What to do after the storm

Read about safely cleaning up post-storm. These RACQ tips include reminders on prioritising safety, documenting damage and inspecting your car after a storm.

You took all precautions. Still, severe weather has done a number on your property and possessions. When it comes to getting back to your property and starting the cleanup, where do you start?

Below are helpful reminders as you begin the process of getting your property back in shape.

After a storm it’s safety first

After a severe weather event the immediate priority is the safety of yourself and loved ones. If you need urgent help call your local SES on 132 500, and if you see an electrical risk call Energex on 13 19 62.

Important safety reminders for returning to your property:

  • Return to your home ONLY if deemed safe by local agencies.
  • Look for any possible safety hazards and don’t attempt to enter the property if it feels unsafe to you. Instead, call the proper authorities.
  • Don’t allow children to play near flood waters.
  • Air-out and ventilate damp areas by opening windows once rains have stopped. Be sure to secure the property again if you need to leave the premises.
  • Do not turn on any appliances that have been wet.
  • Damaged or soiled items can be a health hazard. Remove these to a safe area.

Keep records and take photos as you start the home clean up

You don’t need to wait for insurance assessors to start cleaning up your home. Staying safe and removing potential hazards from your home is a priority. Making notes and taking photos of your belongings will make it easier to submit any claims.

As you begin the storm clean up process, remember:

  • Wear light clothing that covers your skin and always have protective footwear on.
  • Dispose of food waste or other materials that may be an immediate health hazard.
  • Take photos of damaged goods such as carpets and curtains before removing them from your home. 
  • Record serial/model numbers and take photos of damaged appliances before removal.
  • Make a list of essentials you will need to replace such as bedding, clothing and food. Keep all receipts from these purchases.
  • Take regular breaks, drink plenty of fluids and don’t let yourself overheat.

Carefully inspect your car before attempting to start it

After storms or floods your car may look fine but looks can be deceiving. There are tell-tale signs of damage that could mean your car is unsafe to drive. Know what to look for when returning to your car after a storm:

  • If your vehicle has had water in the interior, do not start or drive it.
  • If water has inundated the engine bay (headlight height) or exhaust, do not start or drive it.
  • Where possible, take photos of the exterior and interior (through windows is fine). If the water line is visible be sure to capture this as well.
  • If safe to do so, remove personal items including toll tags and garage remotes. Logbooks can stay in the vehicle.
  • The clean up after a storm can be hard work. Remember to take it one day at a time or even one step at a time if it becomes overwhelming.
  • RACQ is here to help you with your insurance cover for your home, contents and car.
Know you’re covered with RACQ insurance
Our car and home insurance has won more than 25 Mozo People's Choice Awards.

Related topics

Things to note

The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.

Insurance products (excluding Travel Insurance) are issued by RACQ Insurance Limited ABN 50 009 704 152 (RACQ). Conditions, limits and exclusions apply. This is general advice only and may not be right for you. This information does not take your personal objectives, circumstances or needs into account. Read the PDS and any applicable Supplementary PDS before making a purchase decision on this product. You can also access our Target Market Determinations on this website.