Coastal dwellers beware: your home insurance won’t cover you for rising sea levels

Curious homeowners can check their address on a new hypothetical mapping tool that predicts rising sea levels resulting from climate change.

“Now every Australian can understand how rising sea levels will affect our coastline, neighbourhoods and favourite places with these maps,” said Nathan Eaton from NGIS, the company who helped build the mapping software.

The free BETA website called Coastal Risk Australia combines Google technology and local tide data to generate visual scenarios of what the landscape will look like in the year 2100.

This comes as insurance providers are yet to include climate change in their home and contents insurance policies.


An Insurance Council of Australia spokesman told Northern Star earlier this week that home insurance policies do not cover flooding if caused by the sea.

"Ninety-three percent of all new home insurance policies purchased in Australia now include cover for flooding under the standard definition,” he said.

"But actions of the sea, whether due to king tides, coastal erosion or rising sea levels are not considered to be flooding for the purposes of insurance."

According to the hypothetical map, beaches along the Gold Coast, spots in Cairns in Queensland and Queenscliff in Victoria are the most vulnerable places to be affected by rising sea levels in 2100.

Tips to avoid an underinsured home:

  • Watch out for insurance traps like not having adequate flood cover if you are in an area prone to wet weather.
  • Read your insurers’ or potential insurers’ product disclosure carefully. You might want to check out this jargon buster to help you do it.
  • Conduct a room by room inventory summary. Take photos and write down detailed descriptions of your valuables. Understanding Insurance online has a nifty list you can print out and write on here.
  • For more tips, check out the Insurance Council of Australia’s checklist to help you stay adequately insured.