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Worried about sea damage or coastal erosion? Pick your home insurer carefully

Posted: 3 August 2020 5:51 pm

Houses by the beach

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.

Coastal erosion

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.

InsurerErosionStorm surgeActions of the seaTsunamiFind out more
ANZ logoOnly if it is the result of a tsunamiMore info
See product disclosure statement
Budget Direct LogoIf it caused by a storm, earthquake, or tsunami - within 72 hours of the eventGet quoteSee product disclosure statement
Coles InsuranceOnly if it is caused by an earthquakeMore infoSee product disclosure statement
Real insurance logoOnly if it is caused by an earthquake, storm, rainwater or flood, within 72 hours of the eventMore infoSee product disclosure statement
St. George logoOnly if it is caused by an earthquakeMore infoSee product disclosure statement
Virginmoney logoOnly if it is caused by a storm, earthquake, or tsunami - within 72 hours of the event.More infoSee product disclosure statement
Westpac home insuranceOnly if it was caused by an earthquake.More infoSee product disclosure statement
Youi logoOnly 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?

Checking home insurance quotes on a regular basis is the best way to make sure you're getting a good deal. Compare Finder partners using the table below,

Name Product Building Cover Contents Cover Fire, Storm & Theft Damage Sum Insured Safeguard Online Discount Cheapest way to pay
Budget Direct Home & Contents Insurance
Save 30% on your first year's premium when you purchase a new combined Home & Contents insurance policy online. T&Cs apply.
Youi Building and Contents Insurance
Get a 20% discount on your contents insurance if you have a car insurance policy with Youi. Excludes NSW & SA CTP green slips. T&Cs apply.
Honey Home & Contents Insurance
Monthly or Annually
Sign up and get free smart sensors (worth $250) to install around the home for accident prevention. T&Cs apply.
Bendigo Bank Home & Contents Insurance
Buy a new home or landlord insurance policy by 30 June 2022 and you’ll go into a draw to win $10,000. T&Cs apply.
Seniors Top Home & Contents Insurance
Buy online and save up to 30% on a new home and contents insurance policy. T&Cs apply.
Qantas Home and Contents Insurance
Earn up to 20,000 Qantas Points when you sign up. Plus, you could win a $2,000 bp gift card just by getting a quote. T&Cs apply.
Woolworths Comprehensive Building and Contents
Save up to 20% when you buy a Woolworths Home and Contents insurance policy online. Plus, Everyday Rewards Members will save 10% on their monthly shop. T&Cs apply.

Compare up to 4 providers

Picture: GettyImages

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