Home insurance leads our insurance needs in 2020

By Tara McCabe ·

Besides being a slightly dry topic at the dinner table, insurance can be extremely useful. It’s like a backup plan in case things go wrong and boy, have Aussies needed that this year. From the bushfire crisis to flooding and now a global pandemic, 2020 just keeps on changing our insurance needs.

Home insurance

2020 got off to a grim start with bushfires raging across the whole of Australia. 

At a committee hearing in April, chief executive of the Insurance Council of Australia, Rob Whelan revealed that $4.6 billion worth of insurance claims had been lodged in relation to natural disasters since last September.

More than half of those ($2.26 billion) were as a result of the bushfire crisis. 

So how can you protect your home and prepare for the next bushfire season? Well, the first step is to have home and contents insurance and the next is to make sure that the insurance you have covers you adequately. Read our article on traps to look out for when making sure you’re covered for bushfire damage.

Travel insurance

The fires had barely been extinguished in New South Wales, when the World Health Organisation declared the Coronavirus a global pandemic in March.

Not long afterwards, the Australian government placed every country in the world on the ‘do not travel’ list and the majority of insurers suspended their travel insurance policies. So if you are one of the very few people planning to travel overseas in the near future, there’s a very slim chance that you’ll be able to get travel insurance.

Private health insurance

With the Coronavirus lockdown came social distancing and a temporary pause on elective surgery. Elective surgery and social distancing restrictions have eased in the past month, but not before thousands of young people cancelled their private health insurance policies.

According to statistics released by the APRA over 11,000 Australians aged between 25 and 29 cancelled their hospital treatment cover between 31 December 2019 and 31 March 2020. 

Car insurance

With state borders closed and the vast majority of Australians still working from home, cars across the country have been gathering dust in garages and parking spaces. Of course a small silver lining that has come with this lack of mobility is the number of insurers temporarily decreasing car insurance premiums.

Youi was the first big insurer to decrease premiums, offering a temporary 15% discount for new and existing customers for three months from April. Not long afterwards the Suncorp Group, including Suncorp, AAMI, Apia and GIO announced its ‘Peace of Mind’ relief package. The package includes up to 20% temporary discounts on car insurance premiums and AAMI even went that one step further, offering free roadside assistance for frontline workers for the rest of the year.

Read more on how to haggle down your car insurance premium here.

Coronavirus shifts types of insurance claims

Finally, although credit rating agency AM Best’s recent ‘stress test’ revealed that global insurers are well prepared for a potential increase in claims due to COVID-19, insurance claims have not necessarily increased, says Campbell Fuller from the Insurance Council of Australia. Rather, they have shifted from one type of insurance to another.

In a recent interview, Fuller, head of communication and media at the ICA, said there had been less car-related and more home and contents insurance claims during lockdown.

Need to review your home insurance? Why not head to our home and contents insurance hub to compare policies and remember, always read the product disclosure statement before signing on the dotted line.

Compare home and contents insurance - page last updated September 26, 2020

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*Any information provided on this page should be considered a summary and general advice only. All information should be verified before purchase via the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).

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Tara McCabe
Tara McCabe
Money writer

Tara McCabe writes across all areas of personal finance here at Mozo from banking through to insurance. Tara is expert at practical money tips, showing readers ways to live richer and be socially conscious while doing it. She earned a BA (Hons) in English Literature from Canterbury Christ Church University.