New Zealand was ravaged by extreme weather events over the first quarter of 2023. For many of us, it was the first time going through the process of claiming on insurance. Here's a quick guide to speeding up insurance claims.
If you’ve been affected by the recent extreme weather events your first priority should be to get yourself and your family to safety - act quickly and do not take any risks. Once the storm has passed and you’re safe it’s a good idea to start an insurance claim as soon as possible if your property has been damaged. Here’s a quick guide to get you started.
Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible
Before you do anything else, call your insurance adviser and let them know your property has been damaged, and that you’d like to lodge a claim. If you don’t have an adviser, you can either call your insurance company directly or lodge a claim through their website (some may even have a smartphone app that allows you to do this).
Keep in mind that insurance brokers and providers will be busier and more stressed than ever, so try to be patient with them. If your need is urgent because of a medical condition or other reasons, let your insurer know and they’ll be able to prioritise your claim and get you help faster.
In the event your property is too damaged to enter you’ll need to arrange emergency accommodation or repairs. Ask your insurer if your policy includes an accommodation benefit to help cover these costs.
If you can enter your home safely
Take extensive photos of all damage, including damage to the building and its furnishings as well as contents like your clothes and electronics.
Find receipts and proof of purchase for all damaged goods wherever possible and when making a claim make sure you provide all the documentation required. More and more retailers these days are sending receipts by email, making it easier to keep track of receipts when you need them.
Keep detailed notes about what damage has occurred and how exactly that damage happened. The more detail you provide with your claim, the quicker it’ll be processed.
If you do file a claim on your insurer’s website make sure you answer every question. Offer as much relevant information as possible.
Stick to the facts and don’t omit any information.
Keep all correspondence with your insurance company and all information relevant to the claim.
If your vehicle was damaged by flooding you’ll need to make a separate claim through your car insurance policy, and ask your insurer if the cost of a rental car is covered while your vehicle is out of action.
What if your claim goes wrong?
If you are unhappy with the results of any claim, contact your insurer in the first instance. All insurance companies have an internal complaints handling process. This may result in another assessor having a look at your claim.
If you are unable to resolve your complaint with your insurer or your complaint is unresolved after 40 working days of making a complaint, you may be able to take your complaint to their free dispute resolution scheme. Your insurer has to tell you who their external dispute resolution scheme and it is usually best to phone the scheme so they can talk through with you whether or not they can help.
More information on disaster recovery from the Insurance Council of New Zealand available here.
This 'How to speed up an insurance claim' blog is general information only. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the FSC. It is not intended to constitute legal or financial advice and does not take your individual circumstances and financial situation into account. We encourage you to seek assistance from a trusted financial adviser, legal or other professional advice.
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