The risk of severe tropical cyclones and storms contributes to the cost of home insurance in northern Australia. Suncorp Insurance believes one of the ways to make insurance more affordable for our customers in these regions is to lower the amount of potential damage to homes through mitigation against cyclones.
We have worked collaboratively with James Cook University’s Cyclone Testing Station to understand the impact of cyclones on homes. This research has identified the main points of a home’s vulnerability to cyclones, and suggested methods to strengthen these weak points. As a result of these insights Suncorp Insurance has developed questions designed to identify what features your home may have that might increase its resilience to cyclones.
The answers to these questions can result in a reduction to your Suncorp Insurance premium, which we call our Cyclone Resilience Benefit. The amount of the reduction is determined by your home’s features and mitigation measures, and is compared to what you would have otherwise paid for the same Suncorp product without those features or measures. These features and measures relate to many different aspects of your home including your roof, windows, doors, shed, as well as cyclone preparation in general. Please see further down the page for more information on these questions and the features we may recognise.
This benefit is available for customers that hold a Suncorp Home or Landlord Insurance policy, whose properties are north of the Tropic of Capricorn and within 100km from the coast line.
If your property is in an eligible location, these questions will appear for you to answer when you are completing an online quote. You can also call us on 13 11 55 to check eligibility and if required update an existing policy or get a new quote. For existing customers you can also answer the resilience questions, if eligible, via My Suncorp.
The Suncorp Insurance Cyclone Resilience Benefit is a key part of our Protecting the North program and honours our commitment to help make insurance more accessible in northern Australia.
There are further conditions which apply to the Cyclone Resilience Benefit. Please ensure that you read this Important Information.
What can you do to your home to become more cyclone resilient?
Cyclone preparation what can you do?
These are the resilience features that we recognise, and that can lead to a reduced premium*. Below are some descriptions that can help you identify these different features. Preparing your home is something that can help reduce damage caused during these events. This link will take you to the Suncorp Cyclone checklist, but there are many others that can be used.
- Before the cyclone season, check with your local council if your home has been built to cyclone standards.
- Check that the walls, roof and eaves of your home are secure.
- Trim treetops and branches well clear of your home (get council permission).
- Fit shutters, or at least metal screens, to all glass areas.
- Clear your property of loose material that could blow about and possibly cause injury or damage during extreme winds.
- In case of a storm warning or other flooding, know your nearest safe high ground and the safest access route to it.
- Prepare an emergency kit to take with you and keep a list of emergency numbers on display.
- When a cyclone watch is issued, fill your car’s fuel tank. Ensure that your family members know which is the strongest part of your house.
- Listen continuously to your local radio/TV for further warnings.
- When the cyclone strikes, disconnect all electrical appliances. Listen to your battery radio for updates.
- Stay indoors (unless you are asked to evacuate) in the strongest part of the building, i.e. cellar, internal hallway or bathroom. Keep evacuation and emergency kits with you.
- Protect yourself with mattresses, rugs or blankets under a strong table or bench if the building starts to break up.
- Drive carefully as roads may be filled with debris.
Has any work been done to upgrade the roof on your building?
You may need to discuss this with your builder.
Complete roof replacement
Ridge caps on a tiled roof
Ridge capping is triangular shaped tiles or sheeting that covers the joint where two faces of a roof meet.
Roof sarking is a layer of protection placed underneath roof tiles or sheeting to help prevent wind driven rain and dust from entering the home.
Upgrade to screw and strap connection in the roof
Roof connections in older homes can be strengthened by upgrading or replacing how the framing is held together. New straps or screws can be applied to any of the following:
- Roof cladding to the battens
- Batten and collar tie connections to the rafters
- Rafters or trusses to the top plate of the wall framing.
Roof over-batten system
This retrofit system connects a beam on the top of the roof to the foundations to make the roof more secure.
Do all of your external windows have cyclone protection?
A cyclone shutter is a specialised shutter/guard, permanently fitted to the outside of a home, which has been developed and tested to protect a home from the impact of cyclones.
Plywood coverings are sheets of plywood that can be purchased from most hardware and timber stores. These can be installed to cover windows prior to a storm or cyclone and help reduce the likelihood of damaged windows leading to wind and water ingress.
Do you have any casement windows?
A casement window is one that is attached to its frame by one or more vertical side hinges so that the windows open like doors.
Casement window upgrades
Keyed locks or bolts
Keyed locks or bolts come in multiple designs and are usually fitted to the casement with a bolt that locks into the top or bottom of the frame.
Casement or glass upgrades
Old casements and hinges can be replaced by builders, carpenters, window specialists and many other trained professionals. Indications that the casements may have been upgraded previously include: casements made from newer looking material than the frame/wall, less faded paint on the casements, drill holes from old hinges in the frame, other signs the casements are newer than the frame/wall. New glass can be installed in casement windows that meets the current building standards.
Roller doors bracing
Has any work been done to brace or upgrade your roller door?
In 2012 the building code for roller doors changed and any roller doors manufactured after this time will automatically qualify as having the necessary bracing requirements.
Roller doors installed prior to 2012 can be strengthened by commercially available aftermarket bracing which includes bracing posts, moulded lugs, or reinforced steel rods, struts and brackets, and many other types of bracing.
Sheds can range from small garden sheds to larger buildings.
Is your free standing shed anchored to a concrete slab?
When determining if a shed is anchored to a concrete slab, first confirm that a slab has been laid. Then check to make sure that either the corner posts have been set into the slab, or that the join brackets in the bottom corners of the shed are bolted to the slab, usually with anchor bolts (u-bolts, sleeve or dyna bolts).
Shed cyclone protection
There are a range of companies that produce sheds that are built to higher specifications based on different wind ratings. They have additional bracing, stronger joins, and are built of thicker sheeting. These sheds sometimes have company stickers or branding on them specifying the wind rating they are designed for. Contacting the local council for building approval records can help determine if the shed is rated for the appropriate wind region.