New research has uncovered Australians are increasingly worried about the impacts that natural disasters and extreme weather events may have on them and their homes, with data showing that 71 per cent of respondents are feeling somewhat to very concerned.
Of those surveyed, 36 per cent also said they were more concerned than they were 18 months ago. However, Australians remain largely unprepared, despite the hailstorm season which typically spans from October through to January .
According to the research, more than half (59 per cent) of Australian homeowners have admitted their properties are only ‘somewhat’ prepared for natural disasters like hail and two in three people don’t have a plan at all.
This is despite 53 per cent of respondents, who have lodged an insurance claim, naming hail as the reason behind their property or vehicle damage – more than flood, bushfire and storm combined (48 per cent).
Arron Mann, General Manager, Claims, QBE Australia Pacific, said that with spring and early summer being hail season, it is important people prepare as best they can.
“With the increased threat of hail approaching, it’s wise home and vehicle owners get proactive and take measures to better prepare and protect their assets. Simple things like setting up weather alerts or getting your car to an undercover carpark before hail strikes can help protect your vehicle from damage.”
With the impacts of natural disasters like hailstorms being so significant, it is also important for Australians to consider insurance. In May 2023, a hailstorm in Newcastle saw just over 7,500 claims lodged industry wide within 72 hours – and approximately 6,000 claims involving damage to motor vehicles. The cost of claims incurred was $238 million, according to Insurance Council of Australia data.
QBE Insurance claims data also showed that over 3,000 hailstorm related claims have already been lodged this year, with a total claims value of over $70 million and an average cost of $21,000 per policy. In 2022, 43 per cent of hailstorm related claims for that year were made in January, and October through December.
Of those surveyed, 29 per cent also said that they have had property damaged by natural disaster or extreme weather, with 37 per cent of them caused by hailstorms.
Some key steps to help you prepare for extreme weather events and natural disasters like hailstorms include:
- Monitor the local weather: If you know what is coming your way, you may be able to reduce potential damage.
- Put safety first while driving: If you’re driving when a hailstorm starts, pull over to the side of the road when it is safe to do so to avoid collision. Even if there is no hail, heavy rain can create dangerous driving conditions – reducing visibility and tyre traction. The safety of you and your family is most important.
- Prepare your home: If you are in an area that’s prone to flooding, lift things up off the floor if possible. Put away any loose items than can be thrown around in a storm. Perform routine roof maintenance, keep drains and downpipes clear of natural debris to prevent clogging and consider safety screens to protect any skylights.
- Prepare your car: Where possible, keep your vehicles under cover. If you have a fleet of vehicles for your business and don’t have permanent undercover parking, create a contingency plan.
- Consider insurance and review your insurance coverage on your home, contents, and vehicle polices to ensure it is correct and adequate. Check your home is insured to cover rebuild costs, considering increasing construction costs and building standards to avoid underinsurance.
- Have an emergency plan in place. A home maintenance plan can go a long way in protecting your home – especially if you live in an extreme weather prone area.