When Emu Plains resident James Collier was checking his emails, he was shocked to find his home and flood insurance bill had risen by a whopping $5719 over the past two years.
In disbelief, the 77-year-old assumed it was a spam email and proceeded to his local NRMA Insurance branch to investigate, but was shocked to discover that the figure was correct.
“I thought this had to be a mistake and she said no and that mine was one of the expensive ones, so I asked how much and she told me $8219 for both and I said you’ve got to be kidding me,” Mr Collier said.
“She said it’s probably due to Penrith City Council’s Flood Study, but I’ve never had water in this house in all our years of living here, and she said as a result of that insurance companies are raising the bar, but that’s a ridiculously big jump in price.”
Mr Collier has lived on the flood plain with his wife for over 25 years. He said they have never had an issue with flooding but would like to be protected if something were to go wrong.
“As a pensioner I simply can’t afford that, so for two years now I’ve just had to go back to the standard basic cover,” he said.
“The insurance companies don’t want you to take it up because they don’t want to pay it out, I suspect that’s what is behind it all.”
Mr Collier said he visited his neighbours to see if they’ve been stung with a similar situation, but they are yet to receive their bills.
“What has changed between then and now for the cost to jump that much? I certainly won’t be paying it,” he said.
A spokesperson from NRMA Insurance said the increase was due to a change in policy and had nothing to do with the Flood Study.
“Last year NRMA Insurance updated its flood cover under its home policy to make it more comprehensive and easier for customers to understand what they’re covered for,” the spokesperson said.
“We now automatically provide cover for flood, rainwater run-off and storm surge. We may provide customers with the option to opt-out of this cover.
“However, we also understand that customers may not want flood cover as part of their policy due to the cost, so they may have the option to opt out.”
Mr Collier claims his flood and home cover prior to the policy change was about $2500.
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Nicola Barton is a news journalist with the Western Weekender, primarily covering crime and politics.