With storm season well under way, home and business owners have been cautioned about the disastrous consequences of being underinsured.
Non-profit Know Risk Network said Sydney’s recent storms and the ever-present summer threat of catastrophic bushfires sent a stark reminded to Australians to ensure they have current and adequate insurance coverage.
The network said research shows around 48 per cent of Australians are either underinsured or without insurance – which puts thousands of households at risk of suffering significant financial losses in the event of a natural disaster. In addition, 26 per cent of small businesses have no insurance at all, they said.
Know Risk Network encouraged all households and businesses to review their insurance coverage to soften the financial impact of a major catastrophe this summer.
“Across all areas, Australia is recognised as one of the most underinsured countries in the developed world. Recent history shows that with our exposure to natural disaster risks, this simply doesn’t make sense,” said Know Risk Network spokesperson Thomas Wills.
“If you can’t afford to rebuild your home or replace its contents, you need to see insurance as an important part of protecting yourself from the risks you face, which means ensuring you have enough coverage and that it’s up to date. This is in addition to undertaking practical risk management to put you in the best position to withstand a catastrophe like a bushfire or cyclone.”
The group offered the following tips to homeowners to ensure they are adequately insured:
1. Check what you’re insured for. If you’ve bought anything of value, installed a pool, shed or other addition or renovated your home, your property may have increased in value and you may need to update your policy.
2. Consider if building costs rise quickly in your area. Factor changes to building codes when discussing your level of cover with your broker or insurer.
3. Make sure your policy is current. Too many are expired when disaster strikes.
4. Have your insurer's details in your phone. Many claims are held up after a disaster because they don’t know who they’re insured with.
5. Keep a copy of your policy and evidence of your valuables offsite. Not having proof of your possessions can cause major headaches.