3 December 2013

Most West Australians uncertain about insurance cover for bushfires

Research commissioned by the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has found only one in five West Australians is sure that bushfire is covered in their household insurance policy.

The Understand Insurance study of more than 900 Australians also revealed WA has the country’s highest levels of household underinsurance - 88 per cent of West Australians are potentially risking their future financial security through underinsurance of home and contents compared with a national average of 83 per cent.

The research is part of the ICA’s new Understand Insurance consumer initiative that empowers consumers to make better, more informed decisions by demystifying insurance.

Insurance Council of Australia chief executive Rob Whelan said the findings were sobering, particularly with this week’s launch of the WA Government’s Are You Ready? campaign.

“Bushfire is a standard inclusion in household insurance policies, yet the very low level of awareness is concerning because it shows West Australians aren’t reading and understanding their Product Disclosure Statements to make sure they’re covered for what they need,” Mr Whelan said. 

“The insurance industry commends the WA Government for its initiative to raise public awareness of bushfire risk and preparedness. The state was affected by more than 3800 bushfires** last year, and the risks of catastrophic fires this summer are high, with many regions facing severe conditions.

“Part of being ready for bushfire season is making sure you’re physically and financially prepared. It’s essential to check that you have sufficient cover to rebuild your life if a bushfire catastrophe were to strike and lead to the destruction of your property.”

Other key findings from the Understand Insurance survey included:

  • 38 per cent of West Australians risk underinsurance by not updating their contents policy to cover new possessions
  • 25 per cent of West Australians are unsure about what’s covered in their home building insurance
  • Nationally, of homeowners who live in areas known for high fire danger, 14 per cent are unsure if their building insurance covers them against bushfires.

For tips and a handy fact sheet on preparing for bushfires visit: http://understandinsurance.com.au/types-of-disasters/bushfires

*The Quantum Report can be downloaded from the Understand Insurance website: http://understandinsurance.com.au/media-centre

** WA Government Ministerial media statement December 1, 2013

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