NSW residents poorly prepared for looming storm season: NRMA

St George and Sutherland Shire has been ranked as the 10th most storm affected region in NSW,  data released today by NRMA Insurance has revealed.

And Caringbah was the ninth most storm affected suburb in Sydney during the last financial year.

The NRMA Insurance claims data shows storms are the biggest cause of property damage in the state, with an annual cost of $1.56 billion.

The data shows that despite NSW experiencing one of its driest years on record, nearly half (41 per cent) of all home claims made in NSW in the last financial year were the result of storm damage.

In Sydney, the suburb worst affected by storms was Castle Hill, followed by Wahroonga, then Blacktown, St Ives, Kellyville, Mosman, Baulkham Hills, Springwood, Caringbah and Turramurra.

According to the State Emergency Service, two-thirds of NSW residents are unprepared for the looming storm season.

Research shows a high level of complacency among NSW residents – with only 37 per cent taking steps to prepare their homes for storms, less than half expressing concern about storms damaging their home (41 per cent) and almost three-quarters (74 per cent) underestimating the amount of damage caused by severe storms each year.

NSW SES spokesman Phil Campbell, has issued a warning against complacency.

Mr Campbell said the most common forms of storm damage are also the easiest to prepare for – and for residents in fire-prone areas, the bonus is the same maintenance for preventing storm damage also helps protect homes from bushfires.

"With the really big storms and cyclones, there’s obviously a point at which no amount of preventative maintenance is really going to make a difference," Mr Campbell said.

"But when you have smaller events, where you've got heavy rain, where gutters are blocked and people aren't carrying out that maintenance, it does make a big difference to do those sorts of preparatory things beforehand."

Leaking and collapsed roofs are some of the most common forms of storm damage seen across NSW, so clearing leaves, moss and other debris from gutters is one thing the SES is urging homeowners to do – along with trimming any overhanging branches, and securing outdoor furniture and other items in yards and on balconies.

"It sounds like a trivial thing, but what it can do is save you a lot of money, save you a lot of inconvenience, and it can also help protect your family's safety too," Mr Campbell said.

"You don’t want panels falling off your ceiling or branches coming through your window during a severe storm."

Ramana James, executive general manager, Safer Communities for NRMA Insurance said it was concerning that despite the significant damage severe storms can cause, many Australians are still underestimating the impact of storms.

“Together with the NSW SES, we’re urging everyone whether you live in an apartment in a city, or a house in a regional area, to take the time now to prepare for storm season,” he said.

Storm season maintenance checklist:

  • Trim overhanging trees and branches
  • Clean out gutters and downpipes
  • Secure or put away loose items in your yard or on your balcony
  • Check the roof is in good repair
  • Make sure that your home and contents insurance is up to date