Have you been impacted by this year’s extreme weather events? Whether you have suffered direct or indirect damage to your property, you will want to ensure you obtain your full entitlements under any insurance policies which you hold.
Here are some important insurance issues you should be aware of:
- Coverage and Exclusions: The first step is to understand what your insurance policy covers and what it doesn't. Policies often have specific limitations, exclusions, and conditions that may affect your ability to make a claim.
- Premiums and Deductibles: Insurance premiums are the amount you pay for your coverage, usually on a monthly or annual basis. Deductibles, often referred to as the excess, are the amount you must pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in.
- Policy Limits: Insurance policies often have coverage limits, which indicate the maximum amount an insurer will pay for a claim. Ensure your policy limits adequately protect your assets and liabilities. If necessary, consider additional coverage options or higher policy limits to ensure sufficient protection.
- Policy Renewal and Cancellations: Insurance policies are typically renewed annually. Therefore, annually, review your policy terms and conditions to understand the renewal process and any potential changes to your coverage or premiums. Additionally, be aware of the cancellation policy, including any penalties or fees that may apply if you decide to cancel your policy prior to expiry of the term. It is important that your premiums are paid up to date or that any claim is made within the period you are covered.
- Claims Process: Familiarise yourself with the process of filing an insurance claim. Understand the required documentation, deadlines, and any other steps involved. Promptly report any incidents that may result in a claim and keep detailed records of all interactions with your insurance provider throughout the claims process. It will be helpful to record any damage in as much detail as possible – photographs, videos, receipts, etc.
Making a Claim
In the event of suffering damage to your property, you should check your policy to ensure the event is covered.
If you consider any loss or damage should be covered, you should promptly notify your insurer (or broker) and lodge a claim. Until notifying and receiving a response from your insurer, you should not undertake any repairs or remove damaged material other than emergency works to prevent further immediate damage or risk to safety.
Upon receiving your notice of claim, the insurer will check your policy and notify you whether your claim is covered or not. The insurer may also seek further information and engage an assessor to carry out an investigation into the damage and loss suffered. Even if the insurer accepts your claim, you may not be satisfied with their proposal to remedy the damage or the amount they are prepared to pay you for your loss and damage.
Remember, your insurer may decline a claim for any of a number of reasons. These may include alleged failure by you to disclose relevant information, alleged failure by you to take reasonable precautions to avoid loss or damage, or even alleged false or exaggerated claims or valuations. Factors on which the insurer declines a claim should be material and relevant to the cover. Further, the onus of proof to decline a claim based on a false statement is on the insurer, and they must have strong evidence.
Insurance claims are declined for many reasons. If your claim is declined, you may want to check whether the insurer has made a fair and valid decision, or you may decide if it is worthwhile challenging the decision. You may also want to challenge the quantum of any pay-out you receive.
In the event that you have suffered any loss or damage, we are able to assist in reviewing the terms of your policy and advise whether there are grounds to challenge any declinature.
Insurance disputes may be challenging and time-consuming; however, we may be able to assist, whether directly negotiating with the insurer, or taking legal action on your behalf to enforce your rights.
For more information about insurance issues, please contact Brett Vautier.