Almost 50% of Australians unsure about home insurance as storm season approaches

Flooded road and trees during storm season.

While spring has only just begun to bloom, insurance companies are already considering the costs of damages caused by severe weather, and how prepared people are to manage this during summer storm season.

Insurance provider Budget Direct has released a study which combines statistics on storm damage alongside Australia's perception about insurance and how they’d be able to handle damages caused by hail, flooding and cyclones.

The report states that over the last five calendar years, storms and flooding alone have caused more than $20 billion in damages in Australia. 

Approximately 60% of the people Budget Direct surveyed said that severe weather had damaged their home or property in this time. However, one in five said they didn’t hold any home and contents insurance, and 28.6% said they didn’t know what was covered by their policy.

A majority of people surveyed also don’t have an action plan during natural disasters, and 40% said the longest they could stay with family and friends if their home was unlivable after a storm was one month. Worryingly, a quarter of respondents aged over 65 said they would have nowhere to stay.

Trampolines and trees: Who’s at fault for damage during a storm? 

Budget Direct’s survey results also indicate a substantial number or people don’t understand liability in insurance claims related to storms.

When asked who is at fault when a trampoline is swept away during a storm and causes damage, 52% of survey respondents said it was the owner. This is not the case, as it’s an unforeseeable event which means the owner isn’t liable.

Similarly, half of the survey group didn’t know who is liable to attend to damages caused by a fallen tree. The important thing to remember here is that it depends largely on whether or not the tree has been properly maintained (considering existing root or branch damage) by the person whose property it’s growing on.

Climate change and severe weather 

With temperatures continuing to rise as a result of climate change, the scientific community is increasingly predicting a greater number of more severe weather events.

A recent international study including UNSW researchers found that, due to unstable atmospheric conditions caused by rising temperatures, hailstorms will become more severe and frequent in Australia.

While it’s difficult to calculate exactly what this will look like in the near future, it could pay to get your property and insurance prepared for severe weather. Make sure you know what’s covered by different policies by investigating a few options below.

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