National News

NSW insurance: same home, double the cost

Residents living in identical houses in the same NSW suburb are paying up to $1700 more for home and contents insurance, the state's new monitor has found.

But the industry is arguing such claims are misleading because each policy offers different coverage.

The Emergency Services Levy Insurance Monitor on Tuesday revealed an average difference of up to $1100 for basic home and contents policies after it compared quotes for 11 suburbs across the state.

In the Blue Mountains suburb of Medlow Bath, the most expensive quote was a staggering $2794 - almost two-and-a-half times more than the lowest quote of $1106.

At Bradbury near Campbelltown, and East Gosford, the maximum quotes were 2.4 times more than the lowest.

The monitor, Professor Allan Fels, says it's concerning there are such big differences in prices quoted for the same property.

"It suggests that competition is not fully effective in this industry," he said in a statement on Tuesday.

Insurers were also ignoring calls to list last year's policy cost in their renewal insurance notices, he said, while comparison websites were also being resisted by the industry.

The Insurance Council of Australia's chief executive Rob Whelan slammed Prof Fels' comparisons as misleading.

"Each insurer's policy is different. They offer varying inclusions and exclusions, with different limits," he told AAP in statement.

"Further, several insurers quoted offer total replacement, which usually has a higher premium, while most insure for agreed value.

"Prof Fels would have much stronger grounds to be concerned if all premiums were the same," he said.

Insurers were exploring the feasibility of disclosing previous year's premiums on renewal contracts, Mr Whelan said, adding the council was already trialling the initiative.

Regardless of the industry's moves, Prof Fels has urged consumers to shop around each time they buy or renew their property insurance policies.

"Consumers shouldn't assume a cheaper price this year will be the same next year," he said.

COST VARIATIONS ACROSS 11 NSW SUBURBS:

WORST

* Medlow Bath - $2794 (GIO) v $1106 (Coles)

* East Gosford - $2505 (GIO) v $1044 (Coles)

* Bradbury - $2926 (Suncorp) v $1226 (Coles)

BEST

* Byron Bay - $2219 (IGA/CGU) v $1711 (AAMI)

* Wollongong - $2076 (One Path) v $1358 (Allianz)

Source: Building and contents insurance quotations, December 2016 quarter: Emergency Services Levy Insurance Monitor Quarterly Report 3.

© AAP 2017

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