One in 25 Australian properties will be effectively uninsurable by 2030 due to extreme weather, according to new analysis from the Climate Council.
In just eight years, 520,940 properties could be categorised as high-risk from extreme weather, and a further 9 per cent may be medium-risk - meaning they will incur annual damage costs of between 0.2 and 1 per cent of their value.
The result will be significant rises in premiums to cover the growing cost of claims and reinsurance, making insurance either unavailable or no longer affordable. The poor will likely be disproportionately affected.
“People who do not have insurance, or are underinsured, are more likely to experience homelessness after an extreme weather event strikes,” the report warns.
“Communities that have low levels of insurance will take longer to recover, and more of the financial burden of recovery will fall on governments, and by extension, taxpayers.”
Top 10 most at-risk electorates revealed
Driving the problem is the impact of rising global emissions which make extreme weather more frequent and severe.
Looking ahead to 2030, ten at-risk federal electorates have been identified in Climate Council’s Uninsurable Nation report, which was released on Tuesday.
Topping the list are Nicholls (Victoria), Richmond (NSW) and Maranoa (Queensland).
Just under 200,000 Queensland properties will likely be rejected or made unaffordable by insurers, and between 1.3 and 3.3 per cent of homes in other states and territories are set to be impacted.
Homeowners worried about the risk are able to use an online interactive map to identify risks like flooding and bushfire within their suburb. Find out if your property is at risk here.
Warning Australia will become 'uninsurable nation'
Climate Council economist Nicki Hutley described the prediction as “shocking and deeply concerning”, adding the next federal government “will play a critical role in determining the insurability and future prosperity of entire communities”.
“It is clear that Australia is fast becoming an uninsurable nation,” she said.
“Skyrocketing costs or flat out insurance ineligibility are becoming more and more widespread under climate change.”
Mayor of affected region calls for urgent climate action
Mayor Laura Binks’ Strathbogie local government area includes Nicholls, the country’s most at risk electorate, as well as part of Indi, which is number eight on the Climate Council list.
Located in the north-east of Victoria, the region includes the towns of Longwood, Nagambie, Avenel, Euroa, Strathbogie and Violet Town.
Because the Goulburn River cuts through the shire, flooding is the biggest threat, but some properties will also likely be threatened by bushfire.
Faced with growing risk, her council declared a climate emergency in 2021, and is working to reduce emissions locally.
Binks said the land simply hasn’t evolved to cope with the more severe weather patterns, including extreme drought and monsoonal rainfall, which have been amplified by climate change.
“The important thing to remember is that the report looks at the worst case scenario,” she said.
“What we're really interested in is what are the opportunities… to ensure we end up with the low risk scenario so it’s not the case that we’re having that inaccessibility to insurance.”