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Bushfires, floods, and insurance

The recent bushfires around Australia have had a devastating impact on many, with hundreds of homes and many lives lost. Now the fires may be out, but the impacts continue even for those not directly affected, and many people are now asking themselves “what if it happened to me?” 

We asked you about how the bushfires have changed your view on insurance, and how you expect insurance companies to deal with large natural disasters.

What we learned

For many, home insurance is a ‘must-have’. But while most people understand the importance of having insurance cover to rebuild or repair their homes in the event of an accident or natural disaster, the bushfires have prompted many to re-assess their insurance.

Regardless of remote possibilities, recent events have made me look at my policies.

Most of the people who participated in our research are sure that they are covered against damage caused by fire and flood. The ‘close to home’ nature of the recent fires means that even those who usually stay on top of their insurance needs are thinking about their coverage again.

In some cases there are thoughts that perhaps their insurance is not adequate. This reflects the many stories of underinsurance that have featured in the media recently.

I have home insurance, but I am now wondering if I am fully covered for fire and floods. I am pretty sure I am covered for fires but not floods. Also wondering if I have under insured.

Every time there is some disaster or other, there are significant numbers of victims who find that their insurance falls well short of expectations.

One of the biggest concerns is that the losses faced by insurance companies will be used as an opportunity to increase premiums, even for those who are not in bushfire affected areas.

The premiums will definitely rise. Insurance companies don’t like to lose money and these disasters are going to cost them a fortune. Unfortunately, all of us are going to pay for it with higher rates.

They will increase quite a lot for most of us as the companies will want to claw back their losses. So all of us will have to take a hit to the hip pocket.

What does this mean for insurance companies?

Home and contents insurers can expect to be placed under more scrutiny by their customers and will need to ensure their premiums remain fair and competitive. Even more crucially, it is clear that people need support and assistance from their insurers to understand exactly what they are covered for and how much insurance they need. 

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    Last reply: 16th Mar 2020 / 3 replies / Post by Anonymous

Member comments

Jezemeg8

Posted by: Jezemeg8
Posted: 11th Mar 2020

Jezemeg8 says: I used to live in bushfire prone areas and am so grateful that these days, as disability continues to encroach on my ability, that I no longer do. I feel for those, both private landowners and businesses, affected by the more than nine months of fires we had recently. I'll do what I can to assist them now and into the future. Reply

Anonymous

Posted by: Anonymous
Posted: 11th Mar 2020

says: Insurance companies policies are usually worded in such a way that they may be a bit confusing as to what and when can be claimed - home insurance is usually quite plainly worded but when we buy it we need to read through the policy and clauses before paying for it and make sure we are adequately covered for any losses. As for insurance companies trying to claw back losses - a company needs to make sure it has enough to cover the insurances paid for. Companies and policy holders have certainly been hit a lot recently with fire and floods. My premium has increased nearly $200 since I paid for it last year - I knew that this would happen but it would be far worse not to be covered at all. Companies allow people to pay by the month now which I think anyone who is cash strapped would be wise to consider. Reply

buttonpops

Posted by: buttonpops
Posted: 16th Mar 2020

buttonpops says: I just assumed everyone was covered for things such as bushfires, better go find my policy and read through it thoroughly as I live in a bushfire prone area.
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