The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) says very few policyholders whose homes, businesses or vehicles have been damaged in the severe weather of the past week have so far contacted their insurers.
Woodburn and Evans Head were particularly badly affected on the weekend, with the State Emergency Service (SES) receiving hundreds of calls for assistance.
ICA CEO Rob Whelan said storm-affected property owners should contact their insurer as soon as they can.
‘This is the start of the storm season, so insurers expect to receive claims for storm damage at this time of the year,’ he said.
‘Insurers stand ready and able to help policyholders recover from the damage caused by this severe weather, but so far they have received only a small number of claims.
‘If you have experienced storm damage, the sooner you contact your insurer to lodge a claim the sooner it can begin to process the claim, and the sooner you will be back on your feet.
‘Take photographs of anything damaged during the storms and make an inventory. These can be provided to your claims assessor as evidence of your claim.
‘Emergency repairs should only be carried out in the first instance to make the property safe, and you shouldn’t approve repairs or rebuilding without first talking to your insurer.
‘Don’t be concerned if insurance documents are not at hand. Insurance companies keep records electronically and will require only your name and address to find a policy.’
Mr Whelan said the arrival of the storm season should remind all property owners to inspect their properties and ensure they are as storm safe as possible. The ICA has prepared a storm preparation checklist to help property owners get ready for severe weather.
Fair Trading has warned storm-affected residents not to accept offers from people going door-to-door offering repairs.
Fair trading minister Anthony Roberts said ‘travelling conmen often come out in force after violent storms. They usually go door to door and ask for deposits up front. They target vulnerable people and often leave them with unfinished or shoddy work.’
SES will usually provide basic repair work to roofs or to secure buildings where feasible.
They can be contacted on 132 500.