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Tips to prevent water damage

If you have an appliance or fixture that involves water, it has the potential to cause water damage to your property. It’s important you check them on a regular basis to help prevent the possibility of water damage. These appliances and fixtures include:

  • Washing machines
  • Dishwashers
  • Fridges
  • Sinks
  • Showers
  • Bathtubs
  • Toilets
  • Hot water systems.

Check faucets and appliance hoses regularly

Inspect the hoses on washing machines, fridges and dishwashers at least once a year and keep a look out for cracks or water leaks.

Showers and baths

Ensure that the caulking around the shower and bathtub is watertight – if you see any cracks, replace it (this is a relatively easy and cheap project you can likely do yourself).

Put floor pans under appliances

Putting a floor pan under your washing machine or fridge won’t stop a major sudden leak, but can go a long way to preventing damage from slow undetected leaks.

Check the structure of your home

If your home isn’t watertight, it could run the risk of experiencing significant water damage, either because of a sudden severe weather event such as heavy rain, or possibly, slowly over time as a result of leaks or blockages. The following steps can help you keep on top of potential damage to your home.

Take a look at your roof

Roof leaks can cause significant damage – far more than just water stains on your ceiling.

  • If your roof hasn’t been checked in a while, have a licenced roofing professional undertake a thorough inspection
  • Check gutters and drains for any cracks or blockages
  • Remove any debris such as built-up leaves from gutters and downspouts
  • If your home has a chimney (whether you use it or not), have it checked to see whether water could seep in such as through cracks in the bricks.

If you discover any damage to your roof, it’s vital you get it seen to as soon as possible. This includes:

  • Replacing any missing or cracked tiles
  • Trimming any tree branches that could graze against the roof (creating the potential for further damage)
  • Replacing any cracked or loose drains and downpipes.
  • Checking for rust around any skylights
  • Undertaking repair of a leaking tile or ridge capping.

Your Building and Contents insurance may not cover you for water damage in all instances such as if you have failed to reasonably maintain your roof.   You should check your policy to see what is and isn’t covered. By addressing minor problems before they escalate, you’ll maximise the roof life as well as potentially minimising headaches and expense.

Walls, windows and foundations

If there is a way for water to get in, chances are it’ll happen. That’s why it’s important you inspect every exterior part of your home:

  • Check for cracks and leaks around windows and doors and seal as required
  • Check exterior walls, joints and foundations and seal as required
  • Check for any leaky plumbing, such as dripping pipes and taps and get these seen to as required.

You should also look out for any water that has pooled around your home, such as puddles on patios and terraces that don’t drain in a hurry. This could be because of blocked drains or other similar causes, so get it inspected by a licenced professional.

What about after a flood or other sudden event?

Unfortunately, even with the best preparation, catastrophic events can’t be prevented. If you’ve been adversely affected by flooding, storms or heavy rains (to name just a few possible scenarios), take whatever action is necessary to stop further damage, if it’s safe to do so. This could include covering up a damaged roof with a tarpaulin, or boarding up or covering broken windows with plastic sheeting.

Things you should know

The information contained in this article is general information only and is not specific to any product.  

It does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness, having regard to your personal objectives, financial situation and needs to these factors before acting on it.

Terms, conditions and exclusions apply to any insurance product. Please read the disclosure documents for your selected product or service, including the Terms and Conditions or Product Disclosure Statement, before deciding.

Cover is subject to your application for insurance being accepted.

Westpac Retail and Business Banking Financial Services Guide, Credit Guide and Privacy Statement (PDF 85KB)

Home and Contents Insurance Product Disclosure Statement and Supplementary Product Disclosure Statements (applicable to policies issued or renewed on or after 1 July 2019) (PDF 339KB)

Home and Contents Insurance Product Disclosure Statement and Supplementary Product Disclosure Statement (applicable to policies initially issued in the period between 30 June 2018 and 30 June 2019; or renewed in the period between 30 July 2018 and 30 June 2019) (PDF 328KB)

View the Home and Contents Insurance Key Fact Sheets.

Home and Contents Insurance is issued by Westpac General Insurance Limited ABN 99 003 719 319 (except workers compensation cover where applicable). Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 distributes the insurance, but does not guarantee the insurance. This information does not take into account your personal circumstances. Read the Product Disclosure Statement to see if this insurance is right for you.