What is an availability heuristic example in everyday life?

The availability heuristic can influence our perception of risk in everyday life. One common example occurs when we are considering buying insurance. The sharp increase in purchases of flood insurance in the aftermath of flood events illustrates this phenomenon.

Witnessing such events, knowing someone who was personally affected, or extensive media coverage can make us more aware of floods (or make floods more ‘available’ to us). This can change our risk perception, even though statistically there may not be a change in the probabilities of future flooding.