South-west residents have been warned to ensure they have the right insurance to protect them in the event of a bushfire.
Elders Insurance Warrnambool agent Mick Edmonds said underinsurance was a common issue for people left devastated by a natural disaster.
He said it was important to ensure the sum insured was sufficient to rebuild.
"I would encourage everyone to really consider the true value of what it would cost to replace everything you own," Mr Edmonds said.
"For example, the price of fencing has moved considerably in the past 10 years so you need to be aware of what it would cost to rebuild now to the standard you want.
"Additionally, I would encourage you to mitigate risk by keeping your property well maintained, so that you go into the bushfire season well prepared."
Mr Edmonds encouraged people to seek advice from an insurance professional.
"If you have the right insurance cover, and the correct sums insured, you can just focus on your safety with the peace of mind that if the worst was to happen, you will have the money to rebuild and replace everything," he said. His comments come as the Bureau of Meteorology predicts a warm and dry summer.
Head of long-range forecasts Dr Andrew Watkins said there was a high likelihood of warmer than average days and nights for most of the country, while rainfall was likely to be below average.
"We've already seen significant bushfire activity during spring and the outlook for drier and warmer than average conditions will maintain that heightened risk over the coming months," Dr Watkins said.
He said there was also an increased risk of heatwaves over summer.
Meanwhile, Victoria recorded one of its five driest springs on record and days were warmer than average for most of the state, the BOM revealed.
A blast of extreme heat in November increased fire danger.
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