qld floods - house january 2011

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					House flooded?
Know your insurance rights

The recent Queensland floods have impacted on more than 200,000 people. If you own a house that was flooded, or
you are renting and your contents have been affected by the floods, it’s important to know your insurance legal rights.

What does my insurance policy cover?                                 What are my legal rights?
All insurance policies are different. Storm or rain damage is        If your insurance claim is rejected or you feel you have been
covered in almost all home and contents insurance policies.          treated unfairly, you can:
This is damage caused by a storm, rain and wind, and local           • appeal to your insurance company to reconsider its decision
runoff from streets, gutters and stormwater drains.                      (each company will have its own appeals process, so check
Some home and contents insurance policies explicitly exclude             their website or call the company)
floods. Each insurance company has its own definition for            • take your claim to the Financial Ombudsman Service
‘flood’, but it generally means water flowing from rivers, creeks,       (1800 337 444)
dams, lakes or reservoirs that cause damage.
                                                                     • seek legal advice.
Some policies that excude flood damage, do nevertheless cover
damage caused by flash flooding which is where the damage            Who provides legal advice?
was caused to your property within 24 hours (or maybe up to
                                                                     You can talk to representatives from:
72 hours) of the downpour.
Some other types of insurance policies may cover losses              • Legal Aid Queensland including at community flood
arising from the floods such as motor vehicle insurance, life          recovery centres (1300 651 188)
insurance, income protection insurance etc.                          • Insurance Law Service (1300 663 464)

What should I do?                                                    • Maurice Blackburn.
Submit a claim to your insurance company. Be as detailed as          Legal Aid Queensland and the Insurance Law Service provide
possible and take photos that show the state of your property        free advice regarding your rights.
and contents. You don’t have to prove whether the                    Maurice Blackburn has the largest plaintiff insurance
damage was caused by a storm or a flood, this is up to               practice in Australia and ran the leading flood insurance case.
your insurer. Make a copy of any claim you submit.                   We have offices throughout Queensland and offer free no
                                                                     obligation advice over the phone on insurance issues and will
What happens next?                                                   do your case no win, no fee (conditions apply).
Insurance companies will be processing many claims for
                                                                     Remember it’s important you submit your claim and have an
the floods, so your claim may take a little while, but insurers
                                                                     unsatisfactory outcome before you take this step.
must fast track your claim if you are in urgent financial need.
If you haven’t heard from your insurer within three weeks of
submitting your claim, you should complain in writing to the
company. Hopefully your claim will be paid in full, however, if
this doesn’t happen, you have the right to appeal.

                                                                     Gino Andrieri
                                                                     Office Manager & Senior Associate
                                                                     07 4999 3800
 Information correct at date of printing: January 2011     

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