Affected By Floods? What You Need To Know When Making An Insurance Claim
The devastating floods in New South Wales and Queensland have swelled insurance claims, making it the largest claim event in Australia's history.
According to The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA), it is estimated almost 120,000 people have filed an insurance claim since the floods began, stacking up to create a $1.77 billion bill. More than 95,000 of those claims are related to property, nearly 20,000 claims are for motor vehicle expenses, and another 3,000 claims are for other damages.
What do you need to know before making an insurance claim? Due to the high volume of claims being filed, it is important to know how your claim can be processed successfully.
How Do I Find Out If I'm Covered For Floods?
Before you submit a claim, it is wise to first check if you’re adequately insured for flood cover. If your insurance does include flood cover, you can proceed with your claim. Be mindful that different providers use different terminology to explain the inclusions and exclusions to flood cover. Your level of coverage does depend on the policy and provider.
Underinsurance, as it is commonly known, is when you don’t have enough insurance coverage for your house and contents. Call your insurance provider to discuss your individual policy to clarify exactly what is covered.
I'm Safe, When Do I File An Insurance Claim?
Once you are in a safe location, it is important to claim within 10 days (as an ideal timeframe) to ensure your claim has the best chance of being approved. With thousands of claims waiting in the abyss, there is a huge backlog and providers are working around the clock to process them as a matter of urgency.
Call your insurance provider to let them know you are wanting to make a claim. This gives you a head start when it comes to commencing your claim, particularly as the process can take a lot of time to complete. Alerting your provider helps to ensure that they are prepared to process your claim.
Can I Begin Cleaning Or Do I Need To Wait For An Assessor?
When returning to your property, it is advised that you document all the damage prior to cleaning. This will ensure that you have appropriate evidence of the damage on-hand for your insurance company.
However, if the damage caused by flooding poses a risk to your health (like saturated carpets and soft furnishings) then you can remove this from your property.
Appropriate evidence includes photos (from multiple angles) and videos that show in detail the extent of the damage inflicted. Be very clear when highlighting the damage in photos so that you can assured your claim has no doubt for the assessor.
Other supporting documentation to improve your claim can include serial numbers of products, samples of damaged goods, receipts, energy power cut letters, council letters, information from emergency services and anything that can help prove your home was affected by the floods.
If documentation has been destroyed in the floods, call your insurance provider as soon as practical and state your personal details so they can search your files electronically.
Why Is There A Delay On My Claim Being Processed?
The Insurance Council of Australia explains, "Under the ICA's Catastrophe Protocol insurers triage claims to deal with the most urgent and severe first".
That means if your home is still habitable, then you may have to wait several weeks before your claim can be assessed. In the meantime, make a list of each item damaged and include a detailed description, such as size, serial numbers, brand and model if possible.