Ten places in Australia that'll be uninsurable by 2030

Digital painting of a house and car about to be swallowed into the sea.

After two years of sweeping floods and bushfires, Australians have woken up to the crisis of rapid climate change. For better or worse, so have insurance providers.

Particularly in regions prone to natural disasters worsened by climate change (i.e. storm surges, floods, and bushfires), home insurance premiums will continue to rise alongside the risk. Increased maintenance costs, frequent repairs, and even outright replacement all put upward pressure on premiums. 

In light of this, the Climate Council of Australia has released a new report detailing the highest risk electorates in Australia. Around one in seven properties in these areas will face underinsurance, or worse, will be effectively uninsurable by 2030 due to affordability or availability constraints. 

Which areas are most vulnerable? And what can Australians do to protect their homes?

Areas to avoid: electorates most affected by the insurability crisis

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The Climate Council estimates 4% of properties in 40 federal electorates across Australia will be classified as ‘high risk’ by the end of the decade. Nearly half of these electorates are in Queensland. 

Here’s a breakdown of the percentages of properties that’ll be uninsurable by 2030 in different states and territories.

  • Queensland: 6.5% of properties.
  • New South Wales: 3.3% of properties.
  • South Australia: 3.2% of properties.
  • Victoria: 2.6% of properties.
  • Northern Territory: 2.5% of properties.
  • Western Australia: 2.4% of properties.
  • Tasmania: 2.0% of properties.
  • ACT: 1.3% of properties.

While bushfires have become a major hazard, riverine flooding actually poses the greatest threat, with 80% of uninsurable properties classified as such because of their vulnerability to overflow from rivers. 

Definitions matter to insurance providers when it comes to home insurance coverage, so this is an important statistic to keep in mind. Heavy rainfall can cause river swells, but so can king tides, storm surfaces, snowmelt, and dam releases. Rivers bursting with rain will usually be included in coverage, but ‘actions of the sea’ such as king tides won’t. 

RELATED: Does your policy include flood insurance? How to prepare

This potentially jeopardises billions worth of coastal property and puts homes vulnerable to surface water flooding (also known as flash flooding) in an incredibly precarious position with insurance. Therefore, if your property is vulnerable to certain types of flooding but not others, it’s vital to check your product disclosure statement (PDS). Without adequate cover, your home could be subject to extraordinary financial risk.

(Don’t be left out if you’re a renter, either! Here’s everything you need to know about renters flood insurance).

As for specific electorates to avoid, the Climate Council identified the following top 10 most at-risk by 2030.

1. Nicholls, VIC

  • LGAs in this area: Campaspe, Greater Shepparton, Moira, and parts of Strathbogie and Mitchell.
  • 26.5% will be uninsurable by 2030.
  • As many as 56% of Greater Shepparton and 90% of Shepparton locality will be uninsurable.
  • Riverine and flash floods pose the greatest risks.

2. Richmond, NSW

  • At-risk towns in this area: Ballina, Bangalow, Brunswick Heads, Byron Bay, Hastings Point, Kingscliff, Lennox Head, Mullumbimby, and Tweed Heads.
  • 20.9% will be uninsurable by 2030.
  • 14.5% properties at high risk of riverine flooding, 
  • 5.2% of properties at high risk of bushfires.

3. Maranoa, QLD

  • Includes part of the Toowoomba LGA as well as towns of Roma, Stanthorpe, Winton, and Warwick.
  • 13.9% properties at high risk of riverine flooding.
  • 0.6% properties at high risk of bushfires.

4. Moncrieff, QLD

  • Contains part of the Gold Coast City Council.
  • 11.9% of properties at high risk of riverine flooding.
  • 1.7% of properties at high risk of surface flooding water.

5. Wright, QLD

  • Contains part of the Gold Coast City Council, Ipswich City Council, Scenic Rim Regional Council, Southern Downs Regional Council, and others.
  • 13.6% of properties at high risk.
  • 9.0% of properties are at high risk of bushfires.
  • 3.6% of properties at high risk of riverine flooding.

6. Brisbane, QLD

  • Approximately 2.3 million people live in the area. 
  • 13.3% of properties at high risk.
  • 12.5% of properties at high risk of riverine flooding.
  • 3.3% of properties at high risk of surface flooding water.

7. Griffith, QLD

  • Consists of part of the Brisbane City Council.
  • 13.1% of properties at high risk.
  • 11.4% of properties at high risk of riverine flooding.
  • 2.2% of properties at high risk of surface flooding water.

8. Indi, VIC

  • Affected shires in this area include Wodonga, Wangaratta, Murrindindi, Benalla, Indigo, Mansfield, Towong, and parts of Strathbogie and the Yarra Ranges. 
  • 11.3% of properties at high risk.
  • 10.7% of properties at high risk of riverine flooding.
  • 1.1% of properties at high risk of surface flooding water.

9. Page, NSW

  • At-risk towns in this area: Casino, Dunoon, Evans Head, Grafton, Iluka, Kyogle, Lismore, Nimbin, Sapphire Beach, and Wooli.
  • 11.3% of properties at high risk.
  • 5.4% of properties at high risk of riverine flooding.
  • 5.3% of properties at high risk of bushfire.

10. Hindmarsh, SA

  • Consists of parts of Adelaide. 
  • 11.1% of properties at high risk.
  • 9.5% of properties at high risk of riverine flooding.
  • 1.2% of properties at high risk of surface flooding water.

How can homeowners keep insurance premiums down?

Collage of two women watering either side of a skyscraper.

Insurance is best understood in terms of value, not price. A cheap policy might not adequately cover your property, so when comparing home insurance policies, it’s vital to look for what you’re likely to need based on your circumstances, such as the condition of your home and where you live. 

However, there are a few tricks for enhancing affordability.

  • Become an insurance-conscious buyer. Different properties have different dangers associated with them, so when you’re in the market for a new home, keep in mind these key insurance considerations before signing on the dotted line.
  • Take precautionary measures. Home insurance policies don’t cover poor maintenance related issues, like mould, leaky pipes, shifting foundations, or fallen trees, unless the damage is directly related to an eligible claim incident. Keep on top your landscaping and home care to give any future claims the best chance of success. 
  • Don’t delay. Cover for natural disasters usually only kicks-in two to three days after you buy it, so don’t wait until the flames are on your doorstep! Have an adequate policy in place well in advance.
  • Invest in protective measures. The lower a chance of an incident happening, generally the lower your premiums will be. Some providers like Honey Insurance offer perks like smart sensors, which help you avoid incidents and thus keep your premiums down. Take a leaf out of their book and install some protective measures around your home – your provider (and wallet) will thank you later.
  • Compare and switch. Don’t just settle for the first one you find. Compare home insurance policies and read the PDS so you have an idea what’s on offer.

You can get across some pitfalls to avoid by learning a lesson or two from these 5 uninsured movie characters. And if all this talk of climate change has got you down, here are some proactive money-saving tips for saving the environment.

Don’t wait until disaster strikes! Browse and compare building and contents insurance policies below, or for some award-winners, check out our list of the best home insurance providers.

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