Insurance claims after an emergency
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 underway 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.
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.
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.
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, clothing, curtains, electronic equipment and furniture. Include items in sheds and garages. If possible, include the make, model and date of purchase of items.
- 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.
- When you start cleaning up and repairs, make sure you have 'before' and 'after' photos or videos of interior and exterior damage.
- Keep receipts for the work that is done.
Insurance companies will usually want to:
- assess damage before any repairs are done
- approve the repairer you are using
- make sure that you have taken reasonable steps to prevent:
- further damage to your property - eg placing a tarp over a damaged roof
- theft - eg by securing broken doors and windows by boarding them up.
If you have a problem with your insurance claim see How to complain on the MoneySmart website.
If you are suffering financial hardship because of the event that has caused the insurance claim, companies may fast-track the assessment and make an advance payment for any urgent financial need.
Consumer tips for disaster recovery - Insurance Council of Australia
Insurance based disaster recovery - disasters.org.au