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Tips on dealing with insurance after a disaster

When it is safe to return to your property, you should make your own initial assessment of damage to your property. You should make contact with your insurer or insurance broker as soon as possible, so that the claims process for any damages can commence as quickly as possible.

Don't be concerned if your insurance documents have been lost or damaged. Insurance companies keep records electronically and only require the policyholder's name and address in order to locate a policy.

The Insurance Council has advised that anyone who may be having difficulty finding their insurance documents, or relatives and friends of people affected by the bushfires who have queries about who their insurer may be, can contact the Insurance Council on 1300 728 228 for assistance.

In the first instance, people affected by a natural disaster should contact their financial planner (if they have one), insurer (if known) and check with their superannuation fund (if known) to see if they have life or disability insurance through their superannuation fund. If necessary, people should contact their employer for details of their superannuation funds. People may have more than one superannuation account with insurance cover attached and/or more than one life insurance policy.

In the event a person does not know who their, or the deceased's insurer is, the Financial Services Council will coordinate a search amongst their insurance members to establish if policies exist. In order to do this, people will need to provide the Financial Services Council with as much personal detail as possible, including name, gender, date and country of birth, address, employer etc.

If you are have difficulty with your insurer regarding your claim, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service on 1300 780 808. The Financial Ombudsman Service is an independent dispute resolution service approved by ASIC and provided free to consumers.

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

  • total and permanent disability
  • term life
  • income protection/ disability income
  • accident and illness
  • trauma/ crisis/ critical illness
  • business overheads
  • business continuity
  • motor vehicle.

If you have any questions about what your policy covers, contact your insurer or insurance broker.

Many people have total and permanent disability and/or death insurance as part of their superannuation. If you are unsure of your type or level of cover, contact your superannuation fund.