20 March 2019

After a stormy Summer on Australia’s East Coast, new research1 released by NRMA Insurance today has found that renters, and those who live in apartments, are the most susceptible to storm damage, and the potential costs.

The NRMA research shows that renters are less likely than owner-occupiers to take steps to prepare their home for severe weather (44% vs. 55%) while just over a third (39%) of people who live in apartments prepare their homes for storms, compared to more than half of people living in houses (54%).

The research, conducted by NRMA Insurance during the last Storm season (October to March every year), also reveals that renters are much less likely to worry about the damage a storm could cause to their house or apartment than owner-occupiers (35% vs. 48%).

The NRMA Insurance research also highlighted that renters are putting their valuables at risk, with 40% saying they don’t have home and contents insurance. In contrast, 96% of owner occupiers say they do.

“We face a damaging future with climate change, meaning that extreme weather events are likely to occur more often, so it’s important for all of us to take storms seriously, no matter where we live,” NRMA Insurance’s Ramana James, EGM of Safer Communities said.

“Taking a few simple steps to prepare is important not only for the safety of ourselves and our families, but also because of the potential impacts on our property and our neighbours’ properties.

“While it’s easy to understand why renters and those living in apartments may feel it’s too hard, or it’s not their responsibility to prepare for storms, the reality is taking steps to prepare your home for severe weather not only protects your property, but also protects your family.

“There are a number of simple steps that people can take to prepare their home for severe weather. This includes getting to know your neighbours, preparing an emergency plan, reducing clutter and securing loose items on balconies.

“Checking your insurance policy is up to date is important to ensure you're protected should the worst happen,” Mr James said.

Apartment storm safety tips

  1. Know your risk: Find out about storm and flood risks in the area where you live, work and travel to for work and in your community
  2. Plan for what you will do: Find out if your building has any emergency plans and include these in your own plan. Identify possible exits (including windows). Never use lifts during an emergency as you may become trapped if the power goes out. Practice your plan regularly with the people you live with
  3. Prepare your home: Make sure building maintenance includes being flood and storm ready. If you have a balcony, clear any clutter and make sure items can be stored safely or secured during storms. Clear any drains you can access. Check your insurance policy is up to date and adequate
  4. Be aware: Monitor weather situations and check warnings and forecasts from the Bureau of Meteorology. Act if your area may be impacted
  5. Look out for each other: Get to know your neighbours. Exchange phone numbers and discuss your emergency plans with your neighbours

NRMA Insurance and the NSW SES are encouraging people to prepare for severe weather during storm season. For more information, visit www.ses.nsw.gov.au.

Additional data

NRMA Insurance data2 can reveal:

  • Despite NSW experiencing one of its most severe droughts on record3, more than 4 in every 10 (41%) home claims in NSW in the last financial year was the result of storm damage
  • This is slightly down on NSW’s long-term average, with nearly two-thirds of all home claims over the past five years (2013-2018) in NSW (61%) the result of storm damage
  • The months of October 2017 (57% of all home claims), January 2018 (57% of all home claims) and December 2017 (50 of % all home claims) – all Storm Season months (October to March) – were particularly bad for storm damage in NSW
  • Despite the damage that storms consistently cause in NSW, only 37% of residents in NSW say they have actively taken steps to prepare their homes for an oncoming storm4
  • While just a quarter (26%) of NSW residents saying they think storms are the most costly natural disaster to hit the state every year, despite NRMA Insurance data showing that storms cost NSW over $1.56 billion every year5.

1 Survey of 1509 Australians, and 755 NSW residents conducted for NRMA Insurance in September 2018.

2 Based on NRMA Insurance home claims data sourced for Financial Year 2017 to 2018.

3 www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-08/nsw-government-says-entire-state-is-now-in-drought/10088628.

4 Based on NRMA Insurance research conducted in September 2018 of 755 NSW residents.

5 www.iag.com.au/natural-disaster-costs-reach-39-billion-year-2050.

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