Bushfires: can we afford not having home insurance?

by Chris Lang on February 25, 2009

Bush fire gum trees are burningA lot of people in the towns that suffered the most from the Victorian bushfires (like Kinglake and Marysville) didn’t have their homes insured. The result? They are very close at the moment to being homeless and their best hope of getting a home is via charity and fire victims’ funds of various kinds.

I am seeing a lot of hostility in the media and in online discussions towards the fire victims who didn’t insure their homes. People are saying that it was stupid and irresponsible and that government should make such insurance mandatory. And I think they are wrong.

Do you know why they didn’t insure? Because they were thinking: “It will never happen to me”. And why were they thinking that? Because their town or suburb has never experienced anything even remotely resembling the horrible destructive fires that we’re seeing now all over Victoria – or that happened too long ago and was forgotten.

Honestly, before the bushfire crisis, could you imagine in your wildest dreams Daylesford covered with smoke? That Belgrave and Warburton will have to be defended by firemen? People were under impression that they were safe, that’s why they didn’t have fire insurance.

How about the newcomers, what chance did they have of finding out whether or not their suburb is in fire danger? At least people who have lived in the country long enough had a chance of hearing and remembering similar fires in the past, whereas expats really had no chance of knowing. They were happy that their new house is surrounded by beautiful nature and were enjoying the views, surely not thinking what are the odds their house will burn to the ground one day.

But now our eyes have opened. Have a look at the list linked here, you can find there all the places that are burning or in danger of burning – click here and scroll down to the title Bushfire Affected Areas/Locations. If you live in one of them, don’t think too long, go and get your house insured. If you live close to a place mentioned in this list, go and get fire insurance. Yes, the insurance companies are wiser now – they suddenly realized that bushfires have a better chance of happening than they thought, and raised the premium. Don’t let that stop you because you can’t afford to not have insurance.

I think that it’s OK not to have insurance for things that you can replace. Not having your navigation system in the car insured is fine by me. Not having your CD or MP3 player in the car is not a problem. But not having your car insured is not fine (especially a new car) – can you afford to replace it, should it get damaged badly? And even if you can replace a car – can you afford to rebuild a house with your own money? You also need a place to live, can you afford to pay the rent while you are rebuilding a destroyed house?

Don’t leave the future of your family to chance. We have been warned.

Is you home insured for bushfire? Since when? Or why did you decide to not insure?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

bushfire rules March 5, 2009 at 12:16 am

people without insurance are morons, they deserve to be homeless

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Chris March 5, 2009 at 9:57 pm

I take it you didn’t donate to the bushfire appeal fund, now did you?

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Palmdale Houses August 17, 2010 at 8:08 am

We recently had two terrible fires in the Antelope Valley. Luckily not too much damage was done to the houses. (we did lose a few)

It would be impossible to buy a home without insurance here in California.

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Antelope Valley Homes September 12, 2010 at 8:12 pm

Fires are common here in the high desert as well. We fire racing into our town and had a lot of evacuations. I can see how some people like to be individuals and buy home insurance if they choose to, however, if they live in an area where weeds or grass grows abundantly and it gets dry, there is a fair chance that a fire will get started. Having home insurance really is the smarter bet.

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