Severe Weather and Flooding in NSW and Queensland
Updated: Jan 12
Our best wishes are with those of you who have recently been impacted by the severe weather and flooding in NSW and Queensland Recently.
Sadly many people have had their properties and belongings damaged as a result of this, and consequently we would like to share with you a few finance-related steps to take once the initial danger of a natural disaster has passed.
We note the following six steps that ASIC has suggested on their website (asic.gov.au) for those impacted. We note that these steps may be a helpful reminder for yourself, or your clients when facing a natural disaster:
Assess the damage to your property. Take immediate steps to ensure the safety of your household, your pets and your property. If water has entered the property, do not turn on electricity until it has been inspected by an electrician. If there is a risk of structural damage, do not enter the building until a qualified person has assessed the buildings structural soundness. If you need help arranging this, contact your insurer.
Contact your Insurer, broker or financial adviser and follow their reasonable instructions: When lodging your insurance claim you may experience a long waiting time due to others also impacted and trying to lodge claims. If there is a large volume of claims or if there is any difficulty accessing your property it may take time to send someone to assess your claim. If you can’t remember who you are insured with, check your bank statements (including online) for your premium payments, or call the Insurance Council of Australia’s disaster insurance hotline on 1800 734 621.
Financial help is available: Contact your insurer or lender if you need financial help. Your insurer may be able to provide emergency accommodation and financial support as part of your claim. If you think you will be unable to meet your financial obligations, contact your lender as soon as possible to discuss assistance that might be available to you.
Property clean up and repairs: Before you start the clean-up process, take photos or videos of damage to your property and possessions as evidence for your claim. Prioritise removing water or mud-damaged goods from your property that might pose a health risk. You should generally discuss any repairs with your insurer before taking action. Keep receipts if you replace essential items (whitegoods or bedding).
Watch out for scams: We are aware of unscrupulous operators targeting homeowners, farmers and small businesses in the aftermath of natural disasters. They may claim to help identify damage to your property with a free inspection. Be wary of anyone who asks for payment up-front or who asks you to sign a contract immediately. Do not agree to sign anything that prevents you from dealing directly with your insurer, broker, financial adviser or lawyer. If in doubt, contact your insurer.
Finalise your insurance claim: Insurers may offer to provide a cash settlement, or alternatively may offer to manage the repairs. If you’re given a choice, take time to consider which option is more appropriate for you. Insurers generally have access to repairers that consumers may find difficult to source and manage by themselves.