The recent unprecedented floods in Queensland and New South Wales have had devasting effects on a range of homes, businesses and industries. If your home or business has been damaged by this event, we can assist you in providing expert advice and guiding you to ensure that you obtain the best possible outcome for your insurance claim. By obtaining legal advice, you may avoid being underpaid or your insurance claim denied).
The Initial Steps
If any of your property has been damaged from the floods, it is usual at first instance to:
1. Gather the evidence: You should take as many photos, videos and detailed notes of the damage which has been caused to your property as a result of the floods.
We also recommend making a list of all items which have been damaged or lost (along with the approximate value of the item or supporting receipt/payment confirmation which indicates the value of the item).
Depending on the circumstances, it may also be necessary to have an assessor to attend the property, in order to inspect the property and provide a report on the assessment of damages.
It is essential that you gather as much evidence as possible, as this will assist in substantiating your claim and losses accrued.
2. Check your insurance policy: You should obtain a copy and carefully review your insurance policy, in order to determine that you are adequately covered to make a claim.
We understand that insurance policies can be complex and difficult to understand. However, it is important to read the fine print of your insurance policy, in order that you are properly aware of your rights and what your policy covers. We regularly review insurance policies, so if you require assistance, we again recommend that you contact us or another lawyer who may be able to assist you.
This is important, because different policies have different definitions of what constitutes a flood. For instance, some insurance policies may cover you only for storm damage or water damage, and not flood damage.
3. Obtain legal advice: We recommend that you seek to obtain legal advice, in order that a legal professional can properly review your insurance policy and terms, as well as provide guidance in making an insurance claim.
This can assist in allowing you to understand your entitlements, ensure all conditions have been satisfied and to ensure you obtain the best possible outcome with your claim. There are also strict time limitations for certain provisions or applications, which is why it is vital that action is taken promptly.
What can you claim for?
Depending on your insurance policy and whether you have Home and Contents Insurance or Business Property Insurance, it may include coverage for damage caused from the floods. Therefore, this should allow you to be compensated for any losses directly caused from the floods. Depending on your insurance policy, this may cover you for structural damage (which includes property damage), damage caused to the contents of the property (which may include furniture and personal belongings) and damage caused to any vehicles (which may include motor vehicles and is often covered under a separate insurance policy).
Can the Insurance company reject your claim?
The reasons why your insurance claim may be rejected or underpaid (may include and are not limited to):
- If a condition of the policy was not adhered to or met;
- If a policy holder has failed to disclose certain information;
- If the policy has been cancelled;
- If there is an allegation of fraud; and
- If there is a claim that the damage was not caused from the floods.
If your claim has been rejected, we are here to assist in reviewing your insurance policy and determining whether you have grounds to challenge the insurer’s position. We will assist in obtaining the best possible outcome for you and to ensure that your rights are being enforced.
Are you automatically covered for flood damage in Queensland Home and Content and Insurance policies?
Unfortunately, there are no statutory provisions in Queensland which require compulsory flood cover in insurance policies.
However, if you were not initially properly informed by your insurer that you were not covered for flood damage when entering into the insurance agreement or if you were not provided with a copy of the insurance agreement, we recommend seeking legal advice to determine if you have grounds to make a standard cover contract claim pursuant to section 35 of the Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (cth), in order to claim that flood coverage should apply. If you would like to explore this further, please get in touch.
If you require any assistance or advice regarding your insurance claim, please contact us by email on [email protected] or by telephone on 07 3009 8444 to engage in an obligation free discussion.
The blog published by Rostron Carlyle Rojas Lawyers is intended as general information only and is not legal advice on any subject matter. By viewing the blog posts, the reader understands there is no solicitor-client relationship between the reader and the author. The blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a legal practitioner, and readers are urged to consult RCR on any legal queries concerning a specific situation.