A WIMMERA insurance broker says residents should consider whether the contents of their home are adequately covered, as bushfire season continues.
Western General Insurance Agencies' Graeme Deleeuw said while he thought most buildings were appropriately insured, he had noticed people tended to be "conservative" with the amount of contents they had.
"You have to remember it includes carpets and clothes and all your stuff. You'd be surprised how much it all adds up to," he said.
Mr Deleeuw said people could claim home and contents insurance separately, but when claimed together people would have separate figures.
"The house might be insured for $350,000 and the contents might only be $50,000 instead of 150", he said.
"The contents is a very individual choice, so you should always err on side of having too much cover for contents rather than not enough."
He said properties in smaller country towns were more likely to be inadequately insured than in Horsham.
"Some in the small towns might say their house is only $80,000 but to replace it could be $350,000 because you need to replace a home on that block of land," he said.
"Most brokers now have access to a computer system that will help them make a decision on what its going to cost to rebuild a home in that area. The hardest thing is getting the size right: not everyone knows how many square meters their house is.
"I think its a good question to ask a builder: In the Wimmera area its about $13,000 a square metre to build a house. I use 15 myself to allow for extras and if theyve got anything particular thats a bit special not just your average home you need to add extras - some people have beautiful pergolas and garages and you need to allow for them as well."
Mr Deleeuw said people renting would also benefit from contents insurance if the property they were living in was affected by fire.
The 2014 Northern Grampians Complex Fire, which covered 55,000 hectares, damaged 135 structures, 32 dwellings including 19 primary residences, and more than 6000 hectares of private land.
More than 5000 stock and 300 kilometres of fencing were lost.
Ray Zippel, of Laharum, estimated it took him six months to replace the infrastructure lost in the fires.
"We lost a couple of small sheds and sheep, but it was mostly fencing we had to replace," he said. "We were insured with elders and had a really good run, everything was paid out quickly.
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"We had our sheep away on agistment for four months before everything was right to go again."
Jim Carter, of Wartook, had his house and livestock insured when the fires came through and destroyed them, along with all the couple's farming machinery, sheds and feed.
He said he and his wife Jenny had only recovered in the past year.
"The truth of it is even though you're insured you're still not completely covered," he said.
"We lost 100 per cent of our fencing but we only had a small portion of that insured because he had previously lost a whole lot of fencing in floods some years earlier, and I thought $35,000 would be an amount if some disaster befell us that that would get us back up and running but the truth was it cost us $170,000 to refence the entire property, especially when we're bordered on three sides by state forest and national parks and they pay little for insurance.
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"Basically the cost of re-fencing chewed up all the money we got back to replace our stock, which meant we've had to spend the last five years breeding up and trying to get our numbers back up again.
"I don't know any farmer who would insure 100 percent of their fencing expecting to be burned out completely."
Mr Carter said he remembered receiving minimal assistance from the government after the fires, and that it was assistance from friends family, BlazeAid and the community that kept them going as much as insurance payouts.
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