Preparing for a cyclone

A cyclone is a large-scale air mass that rotates around a low-pressure centre, characterised by strong winds, thunderstorms and heavy rain. Cyclone formation can be identified in advance, which gives us valuable time to prepare ourselves and our property. Here are a few tips to help you weather a cyclone.

Before a cyclone

  • Maintain your home regularly to help minimise damage, repairing or replacing corroded metal, rotting timber and loose fittings. Secure loose tiles and bricks, repair loose doors or windows and keep your gutters clear of leaves and other debris. Trim trees and branches close to your home.

  • Prepare your emergency kit in advance, including 3 days-worth of long-lasting food and bottled water (4 litres per person per day), a flashlight and any prescription medication. Keep it in a place that’s easily accessible.

  • Have a plan and make sure everyone in your household is familiar with it. Decide in advance where you’ll take shelter in your home - if possible, somewhere away from windows or glass doors. Know where you’ll go if you need to evacuate.

  • Stay up to date on the latest weather conditions by checking reliable websites like MetService so that you know when wild weather is forecast and prepare accordingly.

  • Check on your neighbours and your community and let them know of any incoming weather.

  • Anchor or put away movable objects such as barbecues, trampolines and bins.

  • Pull curtains, blinds or drapes down over windows to prevent injury being caused by shattering or flying glass.

  • Move your car to higher ground or park it in a garage. Don’t leave it under trees, power lines or in areas which are prone to flooding.

  • If possible, try to store photographs, important documents and proof of ownership for your valuable items outside your home or backed up electronically.

  • Make sure your home and contents’ sum insured and your car’s agreed value are up to date. If you’re a customer with us, you can do this online through My AA Insurance.

During a cyclone

  • Stay inside and take shelter. If you need to evacuate, take your emergency kit with you.

  • If you’re in your car, steer clear of floodwater. Stop the car, put the handbrake on, park up away from trees and keep your face away from the windows.

  • Tune into local radio for emergency management information and keep updated via government or public health websites and social media.

  • At home, turn off your electricity if it’s safe to do so to avoid short-circuits. If there’s water in your light fittings, turn your lights off and call an electrician as soon as you can. Unplug your appliances and place electronics on shelves away from windows and doors.

  • If the floors are wet or water is coming in, try and move furniture to an upstairs or dry room if you can.

  • If you’re in a rural location, check that the fencing on your property is secure and move livestock to sheltered areas.

After the cyclone

  • Make sure everyone in your household is safe and seek medical help if required. Don’t go outside until officially advised that the danger has passed.

  • Check with authorities that water has been declared safe. Until then, boil or purify water with tablets before you drink it.

  • Stay clear of damaged power lines, trees and floodwater which could be contaminated. Don’t go swimming in flooded areas.

  • If you’ve evacuated your home, wear protective clothing (gloves, mask and long trousers) when going back inside to help shield you against potentially hazardous materials. Tread carefully as the floor could be slippery and covered with debris.

  • Check for gas leaks. If you can hear a hissing or whistling sound or if you can smell rotten eggs, turn off the gas supply if it can be done safely. If you can’t find the source of the leak, leave the property, move away fromup wind of the smell and contact the Fire and Emergency service on 111. Don’t operate any electrical switches and keep flames and cigarettes away from the area until it’s safe.

  • Unplug any electrical items that got wet and don’t use them until they are professionally checked as moisture could still be trapped inside.

  • If your power is working, turn on any air-conditioners, dehumidifiers, fans or other ventilation systems inside your home to reduce dampness and prevent mould from growing.

  • If your property has been damaged, get in touch with your insurance company as soon as you can. The sooner you get in touch, the sooner they can help. Take photos of any damage to your home, contents or car as they can be useful for your insurer if you need to make a claim.

  • Some damage might require professional help – contact your insurer to check what’s safe to repair or clean yourself. Avoid attempting to repair any damage on your own or clean anything before checking with your insurance provider.

  • Only drive if it’s essential and keep up to date with Waka Kotahi’s website for live updates on road closures. If your vehicle has been submerged, don’t try to turn on the ignition or drive it until it has been professionally assessed.

It’s a good idea to regularly check over your policy documents (here for AA Insurance customers) to see what you’re covered for and update your cover if needed. Knowing how to make a claim will also help you be prepared. If you don’t have your home and contents insurance sorted, get a quote or contact us today.

Here are a few additional resources to help you prepare for natural hazards and wild weather:

Any questions?

Now’s a great time to review your insurance. We recommend checking your details are up to date and ensuring the policy and cover you’ve chosen is right for you and your insurance needs.

If you have any questions about your insurance, need to update your AA Insurance policies or would like a quote, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re open from 8am to 8pm weekdays and from 8am to 6pm weekends and public holidays.

This blog provides general information only and is not intended to be a recommendation or personalised financial advice. Excesses, terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply to AA Insurance Limited’s policies. Please check the policy wording for details of cover. The provision of cover is subject to the underwriting criteria that apply at the time.

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