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Uninsured and out of luck: 3 million Australians burnt from not having appropriate insurance coverage

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Millions of Australians have been left high and dry without adequate insurance, according to new research by Finder.

A Finder survey of 1,062 respondents revealed almost 1 in 5 (17%) Australians have needed insurance cover in the last 3 years but weren't insured or didn't have suitable cover.

That's equivalent to 3.6 million people who were out of pocket due to being uninsured or underinsured.

Almost 1 in 10 (9%) required health insurance in the last 3 years and were forced to shell out an average of $225 as a result of not having it.

The research found 7% were in need of car insurance cover, which ended up costing them an average of $497.

Pet insurance (6%), travel insurance (5%), and home insurance (4%) were all other forms of insurance policies Australians needed but didn't have adequate cover when they needed it.

Tim Bennett, insurance expert at Finder, said a sufficient policy can be a financial lifesaver in the long run.

"With insurance, it's always a case of you don't need it until you do.

"Unexpected events can strike anyone and at any time, and being underinsured can be just as risky as being uninsured.

"Underinsurance is like wearing a hospital gown – you may think you're covered, but you really aren't."

When asked what the main consequence of not having insurance was, almost half (47%) said they were forced to dip into their savings to account for the cost.

1 in 5 (20%) had to borrow money from a friend, while 11% went into debt to bear the full brunt of the fees.

A whopping 16% – equivalent to more than 570,000 Australians – just left the problem untreated.

Bennett urged Australians to make sure your coverage reflects the actual value of what you're trying to protect.

"Shopping around for insurance options will enable you to get the most appropriate coverage you need at the price that fits your budget. New customers often get the best deal.

"Having an emergency fund can also help offset some of the burden of unexpected costs so you don't have to rely on family and friends, or go into unnecessary debt," Bennett said.

Have you needed insurance in the last 3 years but you weren't insured or didn't have enough cover?
Yes, for health insurance9%
Yes, for car insurance7%
Yes, for pet insurance6%
Yes, for travel insurance5%
Yes, for home insurance4%
I have needed to make an insurance claim but I did have cover31%
I have never needed to make a claim on insurance52%
Source: Finder survey of 1,062 respondents, March 2024
What was the main consequence of not having insurance when you needed it?
Had to dip into savings47%
Had to borrow money from family/friend20%
Didn't get it treated / fixed16%
I went into debt11%
Source: Finder survey of 186 respondents who have needed insurance cover in the last 3 years but weren't insured or didn't have suitable cover

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