Australia: Flood Insurance Claims
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The recent unprecedented floods in Queensland and New South Wales have had devastating effects on a range of homes, businesses and industries. If your home or business has been damaged by this event, we can help you with expert advice and guidance to ensure you get the best possible outcome for your insurance claim. By getting legal advice, you can avoid being underpaid or having your insurance claim denied.
The first steps
If any of your property has been damaged by the floods, it is customary in the first instance to:
- Gather the evidence: You need to take as many photos, videos and detailed notes of the damage to your property as a result of the floods.
We also recommend that you make a list of all items that have been damaged or lost (with the approximate value of the item or supporting confirmation of receipt/payment that indicates the value of the item).
Depending on the circumstances, it may also be necessary for an appraiser to visit the property, to inspect the property and provide a damage assessment report.
It is essential that you gather as much evidence as possible, as this will help support your claim and any accrued losses.
- Check your insurance policy: You should obtain a copy and carefully review your insurance policy to determine if you are sufficiently 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, so that you are fully aware of your rights and what your policy covers. We regularly review insurance policies, so if you need assistance we again recommend that you contact us or contact another lawyer who may be able to help you.
This is important because different policies have different definitions of what constitutes a flood. For example, some insurance policies may only cover you for storm damage or water damage, not flood damage.
- Obtain legal advice: We recommend that you seek legal advice, so that a legal professional can properly review your insurance policy and its conditions, as well as guide you in filing an insurance claim.
This can help you understand your rights, ensure that all conditions have been met, and ensure you get the best possible outcome with your request. There are also strict deadlines for certain provisions or applications, which is why it is essential to act quickly.
What can you claim?
Depending on your insurance policy and if you have home and contents insurance or commercial property insurance, it may include coverage for flood damage. Therefore, this should allow you to be compensated for losses directly caused by flooding. Depending on your insurance policy, it may cover you for structural damage (which includes property damage), damage to property contents (which may include furniture and personal effects) and damage caused to vehicles (which may include motor vehicles and is often covered by a separate insurance policy).
Can the insurance company deny your claim?
The reasons why your insurance claim may be rejected or underpaid (may include, but are not limited to):
- If a condition of the policy has not been respected or satisfied;
- If a policyholder 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 by flooding.
If your claim has been denied, we’re here to help you review your insurance policy and determine if you have reason to dispute the insurer’s position. We will help you achieve the best possible outcome for you and ensure that your rights are respected.
Are you automatically covered for flood damage in Queensland Home and Content and Insurance policies?
Unfortunately, there are no statutory provisions in Queensland that require compulsory flood cover in insurance policies.
However, if you were not correctly informed initially by your insurer that you were not covered for flood damage when concluding the insurance contract or if you did not receive a copy of the contract policy, we recommend that you consult with an attorney to determine if you have grounds to apply for a standard coverage contract under section 35 of the Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (cth), in order to argue that flood cover should apply. If you would like to explore this issue further, please contact us.
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