What to do if your home is affected by the recent floods

Mar 26, 2021
New South Wales and South East Queensland have been lashed by wild weather over the past week. Source: Getty.

This week saw thousands of people evacuated from their homes in New South Wales and South East Queensland as heavy rains and major flooding inundated the states.

Insurers have already received over 17,000 claims worth around $254.2 million from NSW and Queensland residents since the flood warnings came into effect last week. The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has now declared a catastrophe in those affected areas, giving top priority to insurance claims directly relating to the floods.

ICA CEO Andrew Hall said while it will take some time to gain “a clearer picture of the damage”, insurers are expecting a large number of claims in the coming days as property owners begin returning home as the rain eases.

“We encourage policy holders to contact their insurer as soon as practically possible even if they have not been able to return to their home,” he said in a statement. “Insurers are already contacting policy holders in impacted areas to help with the claims process and providing temporary accommodation to residents who have been displaced.”

A disaster hotline has been activated to assist policy holders, while ICA representatives will begin working with local agencies and services as soon as it is safe to do so. An industry taskforce has also been established to “identify and address” issues arising from this catastrophe.

How do you make a claim after flood damage?

Making an insurance claim can be a daunting and overwhelming experience for many, during what is already a stressful time. The good news is, the ICA has shared the following tips to make the process a lot easier:

  • Only return to your property when emergency services give the go ahead
  • If water has entered the property, don’t turn on your electricity until it has been inspected by an electrician
  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to lodge a claim and seek guidance on the claims process
  • You can start cleaning up but first take pictures or videos of damage to the property and possessions as evidence for your claim
  • Keep samples of materials and fabrics to show your insurance assessor
  • Remove water or mud-damaged goods from your property that might pose a health risk, such as saturated carpets and soft furnishings
  • Make a list of each item damaged and include a detailed description, such as brand, model and serial number if possible
  • Store damaged or destroyed items somewhere safe
  • Speak to your insurer before you attempt or authorise any building work, including emergency repairs, and ask for the insurer’s permission in writing. Unauthorised work may not be covered by your policy
  • Do not throw away goods that could be salvaged or repaired.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial or legal situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product or legal advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial or legal decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services or legal advice.

Have you been affected by the floods over the past week?

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