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.
- 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.
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/
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.