What to do if you are affected by floods in Victoria, NSW or Northern Tasmania

Oct 19th '22

  • Help is available for people with flood-related property damage.
  • Six finance-related steps to take once immediate danger has passed.
  • Be wary of anyone who asks for payment up-front or who asks you to sign a contract immediately.


On 17 October 2022, the Insurance Council of Australia declared a Significant Event for regions of Victoria, New South Wales and Northern Tasmania impacted by flooding. Rain is expected to continue throughout the week. As a result, the flooding may continue, so be on alert for emergency warnings and safety announcements.


During a natural disaster, safety should always be your priority

Follow the instructions of local authorities and emergency services. The practical tips below can help if you have had property damage from a natural disaster. You can also visit moneysmart.gov.au for more information.


Emergency assistance for property damage

For emergency help with damaged roofs or fallen trees call your State Emergency Service (SES) at any time on 132 500.


Six steps to take once the danger has passed

  1. Assess the damage to your property:Take immediate steps to make safe people, pets and your property. Take photos of the damage to the property and your possessions. Prepare a detailed list of the damage. If water has entered the property, do not turn on your electricity until it has been inspected by an electrician. If there is a risk of structural damage, do not enter the building until a qualified person has assessed the building’s structural soundness. If you need help arranging these services, contact your insurer.
  2. Contact your insurer, broker or financial adviser and follow their reasonable instructions:Lodge your claim as soon as possible. You may experience long waiting times due to the number of people trying to lodge claims. If possible, lodge your claim online. Your insurer may take time to send someone to assess your claim because of difficulty accessing the area and because of the volume of claims. If you can’t remember who you are insured with, check your bank statements (including online) for your premium payments, or call the Insurance Council of Australia’s disaster insurance hotline on 1800 734 621.
  3. Financial help is available: Contact your insurer or lender if you need financial help. Your insurer may be able to provide emergency accommodation and financial support as part of your claim. If you think you will be unable to meet your financial obligations, contact your lender as soon as possible to discuss assistance that might be available to you. Find out if you are eligible for financial support by contacting Services Australia on 180 22 66 or by visiting the Services Australia website.
  4. Property clean-up and repairs:Before you start the clean-up process, take photos or videos of damage to your property and possessions as evidence for your claim. Prioritise removing water or mud-damaged goods from your property that might pose a health risk. You should generally discuss any repairs with your insurer before taking action. Keep receipts if you replace essential items (for example whitegoods or bedding).
  5. Watch out for scams:We are aware of unscrupulous operators targeting homeowners, farmers and small businesses in the aftermath of natural disasters. They may claim to help identify damage to your property with a free inspection. Be wary of anyone who asks for payment up-front or who asks you to sign a contract immediately. Do not agree to sign anything that prevents you from dealing directly with your insurer, broker, financial adviser or lawyer. If in doubt, contact your insurer directly using the phone number on your policy documents or on their main website.  Make sure any tradesperson you are dealing with is properly licensed.
  6. Finalise your insurance claim:Insurers may offer to provide a cash settlement, or alternatively may offer to manage the repairs. If you’re given a choice, take time to consider which option is more appropriate for you, including whether a cash settlement will be sufficient to make the repairs. Insurers generally have access to repairers that consumers may find difficult to source and manage by themselves.


Find out more 


ASIC is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator.


Source: © Australian Securities & Investments Commission. Reproduced with permission.


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