What are your priorities to consider when moving home?
Well, new research by NRMA Insurance has found that Australians relocating prioritise researching local coffee shops and dining options over checking the potential risks of wild weather to their safety and property.
The latest edition of the NRMA Insurance Wild Weather Tracker revealed that only 26% of those who recently moved or plan to relocate have researched their new property's vulnerability to wild weather risks.
The research also showed that 62% of Australians are unaware of where to find advice regarding weather risks in their local area, despite the ongoing and devastating impact of severe weather experienced across the country in recent years.
Despite a relatively mild summer season, NRMA Insurance received 10,120 claims for wild weather damage to homes and vehicles nationally, with most of the claims being for damage to homes (7,645), and nearly half of all home claims (47%) being caused by severe weather.
The NRMA urges homebuyers and investors to understand local weather risks.
NRMA Insurance Executive General Manager Direct Claims Luke Gallagher said:
“With the increasing frequency and severity of wild weather, it’s important for all Australians, and particularly those moving to a new area, to know their local weather risks.
Severe weather risks vary significantly by location, and even within towns and suburbs.
Knowing the specific risks you face is vital, whether that’s a high risk such as flood, bushfire and cyclone, or even general risks from wind and storm damage to your property.
Not understanding this level of risk can have major safety and financial impacts.
For example, one common misconception is that a 1-in-100-year flood risk means a flood will only happen every hundred years, when in fact, this means there’s a one per cent chance of a significant flood in any year."
When asked what would help Australians feel the most prepared for wild weather, 44% stated that knowledge about practical preparedness steps would make the biggest difference.
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Mr Gallagher continued:
“The actions you take to prepare today can make all the difference if the worst happens.
We encourage everyone to familiarise themselves with the advice from their state and territory emergency services.
Local council websites and the Bureau of Meteorology are also excellent sources of practical information."
According to the research, there is a significant disparity between Australians planning to prepare for wild weather and those actually taking action, which has widened compared to previous years.
Although 59% of Australians claimed they would take steps to prepare for wild weather during the summer season, only 37% of the population actually followed through with preparing for the past season.
The recent summer events highlighted that all parts of Australia are vulnerable to wild weather.
New South Wales experienced severe storms, including hail, causing significant damage in western areas.
Additionally, South Australia and The Kimberley region in Western Australia suffered from substantial flooding, with the latter experiencing its worst-ever flooding event.
Although weather conditions across eastern Australia are expected to return closer to the autumn average, severe thunderstorms and heavy rain are still anticipated, particularly in the eastern parts of the country.
Conversely, dry conditions in the south and west of the country pose an elevated risk of grassfires.
With 40% of Australians admitting to feeling unprepared to respond to wild weather events, it is essential to be aware of local weather risks and take necessary precautions to prepare.