After an emergency

Make an insurance claim

Contact your insurance company or broker as soon as possible if your home has been damaged and you need to make a claim. Making contact is critical to getting the claims process under way even if you don't know the full extent of damage to your property.

If you have questions about your insurance policies or need to find out who your insurer is, you can visit the Insurance Council of Australia website or phone the insurance disaster hotline on 1800 734 621.

Don't worry if your insurance documents have been lost or damaged during the disaster as insurance companies keep electronic records. All you'll need to do is confirm personal details, like your name and address.

Insurance companies will usually want to assess damage before any repairs are done. Many will also want to approve the repairer you are using.

Many insurance companies will also require you to take reasonable steps to prevent further damage to your property such as placing a tarp over a damaged roof, or moving undamaged valuable items to a secure section of the property.

Before beginning the claims process, do some basic preparation.

  • Write a list of all items damaged or destroyed that you want to claim on insurance - eg carpets, curtains, furniture, electronic equipment, air conditioning and clothing. Include items in sheds and garages and, if possible, the make, model and date of purchase.
  • When you start repairs, make sure you have clear 'before' and 'after' photos and keep all receipts for the work that is done.
  • Take photos or video the interior and exterior damage to your property before you start cleaning up. This includes furniture and other valuables.

In some circumstances you may also be eligible to claim on other insurance policies you may hold such as:

  • income protection
  • accident and illness
  • disability income
  • life insurance.

If you have a problem with your insurance claim see how to complain on the MoneySmart website.

If you are suffering from financial hardship because of the event that has caused the insurance claim, companies may promise to fast track the assessment and also to make an advance payment for any urgent financial need.

Check if your insurance policy covers the cost of a cleaning contractor or if they will pay for your time to do the work and the cleaning products you purchase.

Related information

Other websites

Consumer tips for disaster recovery - Insurance Council of Australia

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Page last updated 15 February 2017

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