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Climate change is making 1 in 25 homes uninsurable: Check if your home is at risk

climate change

A report by Climate Council suggests up to 1 in 25 homes will be uninsurable by 2030.

Hundreds of thousands of homes across Australia are at a worryingly high risk of being uninsurable due to flood, fire and other natural disasters. That's the finding of a new Climate Council report using modelling from a climate risk assessment group.

The report, Uninsurable Nation, defines "uninsurable" as a place where the necessary insurance was expected to not be available or simply unaffordable to people.

Flooding from rivers was found to be the most common risk, followed by bushfires and coastal inundation from rising sea levels. Some 521,000 properties in Australia could be uninsurable by the end of this decade.

How can I check if my home is at risk?

You can visit Climate Council's website and enter your postcode or suburb to find out the risk level in your area.
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The digital map shows the percentage of homes in suburbs, Local Government Areas (LGAs) or Federal Electorates at medium to high risk from climate impacts.

You can see forecast impacts based on low-, medium- and high-emissions scenarios for 2030, 2050 and 2100. On Climate Council's website, you can also send an email to your MP should you wish to.

The projection showed, state-by-state, the percentage of homes that will be effectively uninsurable by 2030:

  • Queensland. 6.5% of properties (193,232)
  • New South Wales. 3.3% of properties (148, 546)
  • South Australia. 3.2% of properties (35,285)
  • Victoria. 2.6% of properties (95,845)
  • Northern Territory. 2.5% of properties (2,783)
  • Western Australia. 2.4% of properties (35,277)
  • Tasmania. 2% of properties (6,905)
  • ACT. 1.3% of properties (3,071)

What does it mean to be uninsured?

Unfortunately, being without home insurance after a natural disaster means you'd need to pay out substantial sums of money from your own pocket for any repairs.

If you're underinsured and you make a claim, you won't receive the full cost for damages after extreme weather. In fact, you may not be able to claim any costs if your insurance only covers lesser risks.

Situations like these are heart breaking for those impacted, as recent floods in Queensland and New South Wales showed – many are already priced out of insurance where they live.

Is there anything I can do?

If you do hold home insurance, it's a good idea to regularly check you've got the right insurance.

Read your policy wording or give your insurer a call to be clear on what are claimable events based on your insurance. For example, not all home insurance policies automatically cover flood damage.

You can check if your home is considered 'high risk' by checking the Climate Council's high risk map. It breaks down how prone your council is likely to be to floods, bushfires and coastal erosion by 2030, 2050 and 2100.

The Climate Evaluation website also lets you see how high-risk your property is at the moment.

Also ask yourself what are the risks associated with your home? For example, if you live in a bushfire-prone area but not a flood-prone area, you probably don't need to pay for flood cover. You could pay less by calling your insurer and making sure you're not paying for benefits you don't need.

If you have insurance, but are paying more than you'd like, call up your insurer and see if you can increase your excess. This will help lower your premiums. Keep in mind though that you'll have to pay a little more if you ever need to make a claim.

The Climate Council analysis found that flood and cyclone-prone areas were most at-risk for residents.

So, if you're looking to get into the housing market in the future, doing plenty of research on your area of choice is a good tip. You could find out if any flood studies have been done in the area.

As SES NSW's website states: "Information specific to your property and potential flood risk may be available from your Local Council. Check its website or ask at the enquiries counter."

There's also the Climate Valuation site, which lets you see how high-risk your property is.

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