Tag Archives: insurance

Tips for dealing with Insurance following the flood

 

One of the main issues with policies will be are you covered for “flood water” and/or “stormwater”?  Secondly, what type of water impacted your property. Your policy may cover you even though at first glance it does not appear that way.

Keep records

  • While everything is fresh in your mind, make notes about the event. When water first came into the property, where the water was coming from and the times;
  • When calling your Insurer, note down the name of the representative you are speaking too and the reference number (if any);
  • Take a screenshot of your phone call details;
  • Confirm the advice/information received in an email;
  • Keep samples of the materials and fabrics to show assessors;
  • Do request instructions on how to deal with the damaged property;
  • Do not move anything or clean anything without taking photos and/or video’s and speaking with your insurer. You may even wish to have some neighbours come and view the damage as well for extra witnesses;

Quantifying the damage and dealing with Insurers

  • Do print out or review online a copy of the terms of your policy;
  • Do ask the Insurer to email you the information and documents they need. It is important that you take your time in filling in the forms/advising of the information.  Only give the information they ask for;
  • Ensure emergency work is authorised by the Insurer in writing, before commencement;
  • Do not answer questions you do not know the answer to, write down the information the Insurer is seeking, obtain the information then advise;
  • Do question your Insurer if/when they say no;
  • Question policy definitions and exclusions. On closer inspection, you may be entitled to be insured for the damage when an Insurer says no;
  • Do ask your Insurer for a copy of the Loss Adjustor Report, they commission from their loss adjustor;
  • Do question the Report and seek a second opinion;
  • Do check to ensure that any works to be performed are by licensed and insured professionals;
  • Do obtain your own independent report on the damage;
  • If you are in urgent financial need you can ask your insurer to fast track your claim and make an advance payment within five business days of you demonstrating your urgent financial need. Any advance payment may be deducted from the total value of your claim;
  • If your claim has been finalised within one month of the disaster, your insurer must give you six months from the finalisation date to ask for a review of your claim (for instance, if you think the insurer has not accurately assessed your loss), even if you have signed a release.

Complaints

Insurance companies will have a number of claims they are processing.  It is likely that there may be some delays.  Your Insurer will have a complaints procedure on their website that should be followed in the event that you wish to lodge a complaint.

Following this, the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (“AFCA”), is a free and independent dispute resolution body for Insurance complaints.  AFCA request that you first make contact with the Insurer for your complaint and if not resolved to follow their complaints process on their website.  https://www.afca.org.au/

Further Assistance

The Insurance Council of Australia have advised that they will hold two insurance forums in Townsville to provide claims guidance.  

The information provided in this article is general in nature and is intended to provide a summary or general overview.  It is not intended to be comprehensive and does not constitute legal advice.  You should obtain legal advice specific to your circumstances.

 

I

So you have been in a motor vehicle accident. Now what?

motor vehicle accident

My first concern when I have been in a car accident is to ensure that everone is ok.  I am not sure if it is as a result of flash backs from my years of working in personal injuries or an integraned personality trait.  But when the blood is pumping through my veins and my fit bit hits that elusive cardio burn heart rate all I can think of is others.  My second concern is then to get my shaking, adrenalin riddled hands to use a phone to call the police…because that’s what you do, right?

When I was a personal injury lawyer, one of the many first things I would discuss with a client was, did the police attend? and if not, had they reported the accident? That all changed from 1 January 2015 when the Queensland Police implemented a new system to reduce danger to road users and minimise traffic congestion, located here.  Police are no longer required to attend crash accidents unless the accident meets the criteria.

So what do you do if you are involved in a car accident?   

Is anyone trapped or injured? Yes, call 000

If no one is trapped or injured;

  • Are police needed to direct traffic or deal with hazards? or
  • Do any drivers appear affected by alcohol or drugs? or
  • Has anyone involved failed to exchange details?

Yes, call Policelink on 131 444.  No, Police do not need to attend the crash site.

If your vehicle does not need to be towed, exchange details and leave the crash site.  You are not required to report the crash to police, but you can report the crash if you would prefer.

If your vehicle does need to be towed, arrange the towing.  Exchange details and leave the crash site.  After leaving the crash site , report the crash to the police within 24 hours.

Reporting your crash to Policelink can be made either online, via smart phone app or calling 131444.  You will be provided with a “QP” number to provide to your insurer.

To report the accident you will need to provide the following information;

  • Date and time of crash
  • Precise location of crash
  • Description of how the traffic crash occurred
  • Your personal details (required particulars) including your licence details
  • Your vehicle details (if applicable)
  • Details of other involved persons and vehicles – including witnesses (if known and it is a reportable crash)
  • Details on damage to vehicle and damaged property (if applicable)
  • Details on injury (if applicable)
  • Further crash features including site attributes (e.g. speed limit, number of lanes), site conditions (e.g. Traffic control, lighting) and contributing circumstances if applicable.

There are many more what if’s to a situation and you should be aware that even if you are not required to report the crash, you still can, however, your traffic crash may not be investigated.  Insurers may also require even further information than what is listed above (however, remember their request should be reasonable).

While it doesn’t mention anything regarding evidence gathering, I always (when safe to do so) take photographs of the area and obtain as much information/evidence as possible regarding the circumstances of the accident and any witnesses (out of habit!).

If you are having difficulties with your insurer, you may need to seek legal advice as to the terms and conditions of your policy, and/or speak with the Financial Services Ombudsman.

Did you exchange details but the at fault party will not pay and/or does not have insurance?

If you have comprehensive car insurance you can make a claim on your policy and your Insurer will liaise directly with the at fault party to recover the costs of the damage.

If the at fault party is not agreeable to paying the damage caused to your vehicle by their negligence (and you don’t have Insurance) then you should seek legal advice.  You must make a claim for property damage within six years from the accident date.  However, any action should be considered ASAP while the evidence in fresh.

Legal Aid Queensland have a fairly comprehensive booklet with further information, which is located here.

Did you suffer from a personal injury?

If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident due to the negligence of another person, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.  Strict time limits apply for commencing a CTP claim.  The pre-court procedure requires you to provide a Notice of Accidnet Claim Form and CTP Medical Certificate to the CTP Insurer within 1 month of obtaining legal advice or within 9 months of the date of the accident (whichever comes first).  In addition court proceedings must be commenced within 3 years from the date of the accident or you claim can be statute barred.

Where the vehicle which caused the accident (and your subsequent injury) was unregistered or unidentificable, the Nominal Defendant is the “Insurer” due to there being no CTP insurance.  The Notice of Accident Claim Form must be served on the ‘Nominal Defendant’ within 9 months of accident, irrespective of the 3 year limitation period or your claim will be barred.  You should seek legal advice as a matter of urgency.

If you were injured and the accident was your fault, you may be able to claim Drivers Insurance if it is attached to your Insurance.

From 1 July 2016, Queensland has  implemented the National Injury Insurance Scheme, which provides insurance for catastrophic motor vehicle injuries (no fault).  The application for this scheme must be made within 1 year of the date of the accident.

#Travel Safe!!!