Worried about sea damage or coastal erosion? Pick your home insurer carefully
When it comes to storm surges, tsunamis, and erosion, there are some big differences between insurers.
As shocking images of coastal erosion hit the headlines last month, many Aussies have been looking to their home insurance to see just how much protection they really have.
Unfortunately, some people will almost certainly get an unpleasant surprise as cover for sea damage and erosion is excluded by many home insurers.
While it is possible to get some protection, insurance terminology can make it tricky to understand exactly what you're really covered for and in which scenarios.
Actions of the sea
'Actions of the sea' is a common phrase used by insurers but it can also cause some confusion. Generally, actions of the sea are excluded - but there are some important exceptions to the rule.
- Earthquakes and tsunamis - Tsunamis may seem like an action of the sea but since they're caused by earthquakes, some insurers will cover them.
- Storm surges - Also known as a high tide or coastal flood. Some insurers won't cover them at all but Westpac and St George are among those that do.
Erosion is front of mind for many people after homes in Wamberal were pictured dangerously close to the surf and some Sussex Inlet residents were evacuated.
Unfortunately, gradual erosion is typically excluded by home insurers in Australia, which would rule out most instances of coastal erosion.
However, there are some instances where you might be covered. For example, if the erosion was solely caused by a storm or tsunami, you might be able to claim for damages.
|Insurer||Erosion||Storm surge||Actions of the sea||Tsunami||Find out more|
|Only if it is the result of a tsunami||❌||❌||✅||More infoSee product disclosure statement|
|If it caused by a storm, earthquake, or tsunami - within 72 hours of the event||❌||❌||✅||Get quoteSee product disclosure statement|
|Only if it is caused by an earthquake||❌||❌||❌||More infoSee product disclosure statement|
|Only if it is caused by an earthquake, storm, rainwater or flood, within 72 hours of the event||❌||❌||✅||Get quoteSee product disclosure statement|
|Only if it is caused by an earthquake||✅||❌||✅||Get quoteSee product disclosure statement|
|Only if it is caused by a storm, earthquake, or tsunami - within 72 hours of the event.||❌||❌||✅||Get quoteSee product disclosure statement|
|Only if it was caused by an earthquake.||✅||❌||✅||Get quoteSee product disclosure statement|
|Only if it was caused by an earthquake.||❌||❌||✅||Get quoteSee product disclosure statement|
What if you're unsure?
Check your PDS immediately if you're unsure what you're covered for. If the terminology isn't clear, contact the insurance company for more information.
When it comes to storm surges, tsunamis, and erosion, there are some big differences between insurers, so it's important to know what you're getting. Otherwise, you could be paying for a policy which is less valuable than you think it is.
Is it time to switch home insurers?
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