LA Insurance

Australian summer bushfire risk – Is your insurance coverage sufficient?

Just as we thought La Niña was behind us, we now have her warmer counterpart, El Niño to look forward to. With all the rain and floods we’ve experienced recently, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Australian summer bushfire risk has decreased. Well, it appears that’s not the case as the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC) have predicted that the risk of bushfires to be above normal for parts of Australia due to increased fuel loads as a result of significant rainfall. So what areas are in danger of bushfires this summer, why is this risk still high and do you have the right insurance in place to cover your risks?

Why is the bushfire risk still high?

Due to higher than usual rainfall events across large parts of Australia in the past 12 months, vegetation has increased fuel loads in many regions. The weather bureau is anticipating 2023 to swing back to hot and dry weather, causing the grasslands and vegetation to dry out and become a potential fire hazard.

Although the Black Summer bushfires of 2019 – 2020 burnt through many areas, this new vegetation will eventually end up as fuel for bushfires, meaning the fire risk is likely to increase or is currently above average in some areas.

It is imperative to review your property insurance cover and sums insured as bushfire season takes a toll on various parts of Australia, given the recent changes in policies, premiums, and rebuild costs. In the past 18 months, many insurance policies have undergone modifications, increasing premiums. The adjustment in premiums is partly attributed to new building codes (following the Black Saturday fires) that require buildings in high-risk areas to have a bushfire attack level rating. The rating determines the use of specific designs and materials to lessen the risk of bushfire damage, consequently increasing rebuild costs. Due to these changes, some insurers have withdrawn from offering bushfire cover in certain regions, making it crucial to check the level of insurance cover.

Of course, these new building codes don’t help the multitude of existing buildings in bushfire-prone areas that weren’t built to survive fires. On top of all these issues is the fact that the cost of rebuilding has significantly increased since the beginning of COVID by as much as 25%, which could result in underinsurance if the sums insured aren’t updated.

Contact us

The team at LA Insurance can help you by taking the right steps to mitigate the risk of bushfires. If you have any questions about how to protect your home and property from the risks of bushfires, or if you would like to learn more about our policies, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team of experts is here to help you every step of the way.