Are you prepared for extreme weather?

Australian’s are no stranger to extreme weather events. Bushfires, drought, flash floods, severe storms and earthquakes are all examples of what we have endured over the years.

While the risk of extreme weather and natural disasters is ever-present across the country, many of us are still largely unprepared. According to research from QBE*, which looked into the behaviours and attitudes of over 1,000 Australians, a quarter of Australians believe they are prepared or very prepared for events of this nature.

The vast majority of participants – close to three quarters of those taking part – said they were unprepared or only somewhat prepared.

By taking suitable measures to get prepared ahead of time, many people have the opportunity to minimise or fully avoid having their property damaged or destroyed by extreme events. 

28 per cent of respondents said that of all severe weather events, they are most worried about storms. This comes as no surprise, given the significant impact hail activity and extreme storms have had in communities time and again.

Northern New South Wales, southern Queensland, inland Western Australia and the tropical north are all high-risk areas for this type of weather activity.

Ahead of this summer a La Niña event was declared by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) – which was projected to further increase the risk of flooding and flash flooding. 

Between December 2021 and April 2022, when compared to usual periods, the risk of tropical cyclones was also anticipated to rise by 65 per cent. While tropical lows do not necessarily always lead to cyclones, they can still cause storms, flooding, damaging winds and more rainfall.

Many regions have seen significant grass, crop and shrub growth following recent rainfall. As temperatures remain high, this growth can also make such areas more prone to bushfires.

One in four Australians is affected by a severe weather event or natural disaster, most commonly hail, storms or bushfires. But many people still believe it will not happen to them.

Each year tens of thousands of people are directly impacted by these types of events, and insurers respond to the large number of claims that follow. 

Across QBE property claims these catastrophe claims account for 37.1 per cent of the total cost incurred. This paints a clear picture of the true extent of the damage done in such circumstances, where people often require funds for extensive repairs and temporary accommodation.

Depending on the extremity of events, people may be forced to cover the cost of thousands of dollars worth of damage, or even rebuild entirely. While insurance can help cover costs, experiencing this type of incident can also understandably lead to significant emotional and psychological distress.

If you have never experienced a disaster firsthand, it can seem like an abstract risk. Though they do happen – often without warning – and it is the events that surprise us that usually do the most damage.

Even those living in lower risk regions stand to benefit from taking proactive and preventative measures to ensure they are prepared ahead of time, as we have seen time and again that disaster events can happen in any part of Australia.

Most Australians have home insurance (96.1 per cent), though only 41.6 per cent are confident that the amount their home is insured for is enough, QBE research found. Similar to this, only 43.1 per cent of those with contents insurance are confident their insurance would sufficiently cover the replacement value of their belongings.

For more information, or if this article has brought up any queries about your cover, get in touch with us anytime, we’ll work with you to make sure you get the appropriate level of protection.

*Polling study of 1,009 Australians, aged 18-65, completed for QBE Insurance Australia in October 2021.

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