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Bushfire assistance

14 February 2017, 13:00 PM

Fire danger warning sign

Have you been affected by the recent bushfires?

If you have been affected by bushfire, you should contact your insurance company.

For help with the claims process, or if you are unable to contact your insurance company, you can call the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) disaster hotline on 1800 734 621.
Click here for more information on ICA help

Most policies will provide cover in the event of a bushfire and insurers should quickly resolve claims.

If a dispute occurs between a consumer and an insurer, consumers can have their complaint dealt with by FOS, free of charge, if it cannot be resolved with their insurance company. Lodge a dispute online

New South Wales 2017

The ICA has formally declared specific bushfire-affected regions of New South Wales a catastrophe – please see the ICA’s media release for more information.

Useful links for the New South Wales bushfires February 2017

General information
Department of Human Services
NSW Rural Fire Service
NSW Bushfire Recovery

Insurance information
ICA
NRMA
Suncorp
AAMI
GIO
QBE
Allianz
Comminsure

Bank information
Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA)
CBA
Westpac
NAB
ANZ

Community legal information
NSW Legal Aid
Insurance Law Service NSW

How we can help you

FOS offers free and accessible dispute resolution services to all Australian residents. If you have made a complaint to your insurance company but you have been unable to resolve the matter with them, you can then come to us for assistance. Please note, we are only able to consider your dispute once you have raised the matter with your insurer.

Things to do to help the recovery process

The ICA offers the following general advice to policyholders affected by bushfires:

  • Contact your insurance company as soon as you can, and seek advice about the claim process under your policy, as well as what you're covered for. Many insurers have 24-hour call centres.
  • Take pictures of damage to the property and possessions as evidence for your claim.
  • Speak to your insurer before authorising repairs. Emergency repairs should only be undertaken in the first instance to make the property safe.
  • Remove and discard fire-damaged goods that pose a health risk.
  • If possible, keep samples of materials and fabrics to show the claim assessor.
  • Store damaged or destroyed items somewhere safe.
  • Make an inventory of damaged possessions. This will help insurers process your claim.

Things to be aware of in the recovery process

The ICA offers the following general advice to policyholders affected by bushfires:

  • Do not do anything that puts your safety at risk.
  • Do not undertake major repairs or employ tradespeople without checking with your insurer, as your insurance may not cover unauthorised repairs.
  • Do not drive your vehicle if it is not roadworthy due to fire damage.
  • Do not throw away goods that could be salvaged or repaired.
  • Don’t be concerned if you don’t have your insurance documents. Insurance companies keep records electronically and require only the policyholders’ name and address to find a policy.

FOS natural disaster hotline

To support people affected by natural disasters, the Financial Ombudsman Service has a dedicated hotline to provide help and information on insurance claims, financial hardship and other financial issues experienced as a result of extreme weather events.

Please call 1800 337 444 to speak with our disaster helpline team. Alternatively, you can email the team at info@fos.org.au.

Financial difficulty

People affected by natural disasters can experience both short-term and long-term financial difficulties, ranging from lost credit cards and problems accessing cash through to being unable to make loan repayments. Banks and other financial services providers generally provide assistance to customers in cases of genuine hardship.

If you are unhappy with a financial services provider’s response to your financial difficulty, you can register your dispute with us, either via our online dispute form or by phone on 1800 337 444.

When you register your dispute, please make sure you tell us that you are a fire-affected customer.

More information on natural disasters and financial difficulty can be found in this fact sheet.

Insurance claims

If you need to make an insurance claim, your first contact should be with your insurer, to check your coverage and provide details of your claim. The insurance industry has developed an efficient disaster response procedure and should respond in line with the urgency of the situation.

If you have any problems with your insurance claims which you are unable to resolve directly with your insurer, you can register your dispute with us, either via our online dispute form or by phone on 1800 337 444.

More information about our dispute resolution process is available here.

Insurance claims – cooling off period

The General Insurance Code of Practice sets the minimum standard for what people can expect from their insurance provider. It explains how insurers should deal with claims that arise from a natural catastrophe or disaster – in particular, the requirements for a cooling-off period.

If your insurer is a participant in the General Insurance Code of Practice and it finalised your claim within one month of a natural catastrophe or disaster, you have a six-month cooling off period to check whether your claim included everything that was lost or damaged. The cooling-off period is available to you even though you may have signed a release when your claim was finalised.

If you think the assessment of your loss was not complete or accurate, contact your financial services provider and ask it to review your claim.

Some FSPs also have guidelines which allow a review of your claim at any time after its is finalised, if the claim arose due to a natural disaster.

To find out if your financial services provider is a participant in the General Insurance Code of Practice, view the list of subscribers to the Code.

Yarloop (WA) 2016

The ICA has formally declared the bushfire-affected region of Yarloop, south of Perth, a catastrophe – please see the ICA's media release for more information.

Useful links for the Yarloop 2016 bushfires

General information
Financial Counselling 1800 007 007
Department of Fire & Emergency Services
Department of Human Services
Australian Government Disaster Assist

Insurance information
ICA
NRMA
Suncorp
AAMI
GIO
QBE
Allianz
Comminsure

Bank information
Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA)
CBA
Westpac
NAB
ANZ

Community legal information
Western Australia Legal Aid

How we can help you

FOS offers free and accessible dispute resolution services to all Australian residents. If you have made a complaint to your insurance company but you have been unable to resolve the matter with them, you can then come to us for assistance. Please note, we are only able to consider your dispute once you have raised the matter with your insurer.

Things to do to help the recovery process

The ICA offers the following general advice to policyholders affected by bushfires:

  • Contact your insurance company as soon as you can, and seek advice about the claim process under your policy, as well as what you’re covered for. Many insurers have 24-hour call centres.
  • Take pictures of damage to the property and possessions as evidence for your claim.
  • Speak to your insurer before authorising repairs. Emergency repairs should only be undertaken in the first instance to make the property safe.
  • Remove and discard fire-damaged goods that pose a health risk.
  • If possible, keep samples of materials and fabrics to show the claim assessor.
  • Store damaged or destroyed items somewhere safe.
  • Make an inventory of damaged possessions. This will help insurers process your claim.

Things to be aware of in the recovery process

The ICA offers the following general advice to policyholders affected by bushfires:

  • Do not do anything that puts your safety at risk.
  • Do not undertake major repairs or employ tradespeople without checking with your insurer, as your insurance may not cover unauthorised repairs.
  • Do not drive your vehicle if it is not roadworthy due to fire damage.
  • Do not throw away goods that could be salvaged or repaired.
  • Don’t be concerned if you don’t have your insurance documents. Insurance companies keep records electronically and require only the policyholders’ name and address to find a policy.

FOS natural disaster hotline

To support people affected by natural disasters, the Financial Ombudsman Service Australia has a dedicated hotline to provide help and information on insurance claims, financial hardship and other financial issues experienced as a result of extreme weather events.

Please call 1800 337 444 to speak with our disaster helpline team. Alternatively, you can email the team at info@fos.org.au.

Financial difficulty

People affected by natural disasters can experience both short-term and long-term financial difficulties, ranging from lost credit cards and problems accessing cash through to being unable to make loan repayments. Banks and other financial services providers generally provide assistance to customers in cases of genuine hardship.

If you are unhappy with a financial services provider’s response to your financial difficulty, you can register your dispute with us, either via our online dispute form or by phone on 1800 337 444.

When you register your dispute, please make sure you tell us that you are a fire-affected customer.

More information on natural disasters and financial difficulty can be found in this fact sheet.

Insurance claims

If you need to make an insurance claim, your first contact should be with your insurer, to check your coverage and provide details of your claim. The insurance industry has developed an efficient disaster response procedure and should respond in line with the urgency of the situation.

If you have any problems with your insurance claims which you are unable to resolve directly with your insurer, you can register your dispute with us, either via our online dispute form or by phone on 1800 337 444.

More information about our dispute resolution process is available here.

Insurance claims – cooling off period

The General Insurance Code of Practice sets the minimum standard for what people can expect from their insurance provider. It explains how insurers should deal with claims that arise from a natural catastrophe or disaster – in particular, the requirements for a cooling-off period.

If your insurer is a participant in the General Insurance Code of Practice and it finalised your claim within one month of a natural catastrophe or disaster, you have a six-month cooling off period to check whether your claim included everything that was lost or damaged. The cooling-off period is available to you even though you may have signed a release when your claim was finalised.

If you think the assessment of your loss was not complete or accurate, contact your financial services provider and ask it to review your claim.

Some FSPs also have guidelines which allow a review of your claim at any time after its is finalised, if the claim arose due to a natural disaster.

To find out if your financial services provider is a participant in the General Insurance Code of Practice, view the list of subscribers to the Code.

Great Ocean Road (Victoria) 2015

The ICA has formally declared the bushfire-affected region of the Great Ocean Road a catastrophe – please see the ICA’s media release for more information.

Useful links for the Great Ocean Road December 2015 bushfires

General information
Financial Counselling 1800 007 007
Victorian Country Fire Authority
Victorian State Emergency Service
Department of Human Services
Australian Government Disaster Assist

Insurance information
ICA
NRMA
Suncorp
AAMI
GIO
QBE
Allianz
Comminsure

Bank information
Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA)
CBA
Westpac
NAB
ANZ

Community legal information
Victorian Legal Aid

How we can help you

FOS offers free and accessible dispute resolution services to all Australian residents. If you have made a complaint to your insurance company but you have been unable to resolve the matter with them, you can then come to us for assistance. Please note, we are only able to consider your dispute once you have raised the matter with your insurer.

Things to do to help the recovery process

The ICA offers the following general advice to policyholders affected by bushfires:

  • Contact your insurance company as soon as you can, and seek advice about the claim process under your policy, as well as what you’re covered for. Many insurers have 24-hour call centres.
  • Take pictures of damage to the property and possessions as evidence for your claim.
  • Speak to your insurer before authorising repairs. Emergency repairs should only be undertaken in the first instance to make the property safe.
  • Remove and discard fire-damaged goods that pose a health risk.
  • If possible, keep samples of materials and fabrics to show the claim assessor.
  • Store damaged or destroyed items somewhere safe.
  • Make an inventory of damaged possessions. This will help insurers process your claim.

Things to be aware of in the recovery process

The ICA offers the following general advice to policyholders affected by bushfires:

  • Do not do anything that puts your safety at risk.
  • Do not undertake major repairs or employ tradespeople without checking with your insurer, as your insurance may not cover unauthorised repairs.
  • Do not drive your vehicle if it is not roadworthy due to fire damage.
  • Do not throw away goods that could be salvaged or repaired.
  • Don’t be concerned if you don’t have your insurance documents. Insurance companies keep records electronically and require only the policyholders’ name and address to find a policy.

FOS natural disaster hotline

To support people affected by natural disasters, the Financial Ombudsman Service Australia has a dedicated hotline to provide help and information on insurance claims, financial hardship and other financial issues experienced as a result of extreme weather events.

Please call 1800 337 444 to speak with our disaster helpline team. Alternatively, you can email the team at info@fos.org.au.

Financial difficulty

People affected by natural disasters can experience both short-term and long-term financial difficulties, ranging from lost credit cards and problems accessing cash through to being unable to make loan repayments. Banks and other financial services providers generally provide assistance to customers in cases of genuine hardship.

If you are unhappy with a financial services provider’s response to your financial difficulty, you can register your dispute with us, either via our online dispute form or by phone on 1800 337 444.

When you register your dispute, please make sure you tell us that you are a fire-affected customer.

More information on natural disasters and financial difficulty can be found in this fact sheet.

Insurance claims

If you need to make an insurance claim, your first contact should be with your insurer, to check your coverage and provide details of your claim. The insurance industry has developed an efficient disaster response procedure and should respond in line with the urgency of the situation.

If you have any problems with your insurance claims which you are unable to resolve directly with your insurer, you can register your dispute with us, either via our online dispute form or by phone on 1800 337 444.

More information about our dispute resolution process is available here.

Insurance claims – cooling off period

The General Insurance Code of Practice sets the minimum standard for what people can expect from their insurance provider. It explains how insurers should deal with claims that arise from a natural catastrophe or disaster – in particular, the requirements for a cooling-off period.

If your insurer is a participant in the General Insurance Code of Practice and it finalised your claim within one month of a natural catastrophe or disaster, you have a six-month cooling off period to check whether your claim included everything that was lost or damaged. The cooling-off period is available to you even though you may have signed a release when your claim was finalised.

If you think the assessment of your loss was not complete or accurate, contact your financial services provider and ask it to review your claim.

Some FSPs also have guidelines which allow a review of your claim at any time after its is finalised, if the claim arose due to a natural disaster.

To find out if your financial services provider is a participant in the General Insurance Code of Practice, view the list of subscribers to the Code.

South Australia 2015

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared a Catastrophe for bushfire-affected regions near Adelaide, where properties and vehicles have been severely damaged or destroyed – please see the ICA’s media release for more information.

Useful links for people affected by the South Australia bushfires

General information
Financial Counselling 1800 007 007
South Austalian State Emergency Services
Australian Government Disaster Assist
Department of Human Services

Insurance information
ICA
NRMA
Suncorp
AAMI
GIO
QBE
Allianz
Comminsure

Bank information
Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA)
CBA
Westpac
NAB
ANZ

Community legal information
Legal Services Commission of South Australia

How we can help you

FOS offers free and accessible dispute resolution services to all Australian residents. If you have made a complaint to your insurance company but you have been unable to resolve the matter with them, you can then come to us for assistance. Please note, we are only able to consider your dispute once you have raised the matter with your insurer.

Things to do to help the recovery process

The ICA offers advice to policy holders affected by bushfires. The ICA has set up a hot-line for South Australian consumers - 1800 734 621 - to help affected residents who are not sure which insurer they are with, or who have general enquiries about the claims process. Please see the ICA’s media release for more information.

FOS natural disaster hotline

To support people affected by natural disasters, the Financial Ombudsman Service has a dedicated hotline to provide help and information on insurance claims, financial hardship and other financial issues experienced as a result of extreme weather events.

Please call 1800 337 444 to speak with our disaster helpline team. Alternatively, you can email the team at info@fos.org.au.

Financial difficulty

People affected by natural disasters can experience both short-term and long-term financial difficulties, ranging from lost credit cards and problems accessing cash through to being unable to make loan repayments. Banks and other financial services providers generally provide assistance to customers in cases of genuine hardship.

If you are unhappy with a financial services provider’s response to your financial difficulty, you can register your dispute with us, either via our online dispute form or by phone on 1800 337 444.

When you register your dispute, please make sure you tell us that you are a fire-affected customer.

More information on natural disasters and financial difficulty can be found in this fact sheet.

Insurance claims

If you need to make an insurance claim, your first contact should be with your insurer, to check your coverage and provide details of your claim. The insurance industry has developed an efficient disaster response procedure and should respond in line with the urgency of the situation.

If you have any problems with your insurance claims which you are unable to resolve directly with your insurer, you can register your dispute with us, either via our online dispute form or by phone on 1800 337 444.

More information about our dispute resolution process is available here.

Insurance claims – cooling off period

The General Insurance Code of Practice sets the minimum standard for what people can expect from their insurance provider. It explains how insurers should deal with claims that arise from a natural catastrophe or disaster – in particular, the requirements for a cooling-off period.

If your insurer is a participant in the General Insurance Code of Practice and it finalised your claim within one month of a natural catastrophe or disaster, you have a six-month cooling off period to check whether your claim included everything that was lost or damaged. The cooling-off period is available to you even though you may have signed a release when your claim was finalised.

If you think the assessment of your loss was not complete or accurate, contact your financial services provider and ask it to review your claim.

Some FSPs also have guidelines which allow a review of your claim at any time after its is finalised, if the claim arose due to a natural disaster.

To find out if your financial services provider is a participant in the General Insurance Code of Practice, view the list of subscribers to the Code.

Perth Hills 2014

The ICA has formally declared the bushfire-affected region of Perth Hills a catastrophe – please see the ICA’s media release for more information.

Useful links for the Perth Hills bushfires January 2014

General information
Financial Counselling 1800 007 007
Department of Human Services
Department of Fire & Emergency Services
Australian Government Disaster Assist

Insurance information
ICA
NRMA
Suncorp
AAMI
GIO
QBE
Allianz
Comminsure

Bank information
Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA)
CBA
Westpac
NAB
ANZ

Community legal information
Western Australia Legal Aid

How we can help you

FOS offers free and accessible dispute resolution services to all Australian residents. If you have made a complaint to your insurance company but you have been unable to resolve the matter with them, you can then come to us for assistance. Please note, we are only able to consider your dispute once you have raised the matter with your insurer.

Things to do to help the recovery process

The ICA offers the following general advice to policyholders affected by bushfires:

  • Contact your insurance company as soon as you can, and seek advice about the claim process under your policy, as well as what you’re covered for. Many insurers have 24-hour call centres.
  • Take pictures of damage to the property and possessions as evidence for your claim.
  • Speak to your insurer before authorising repairs. Emergency repairs should only be undertaken in the first instance to make the property safe.
  • Remove and discard fire-damaged goods that pose a health risk.
  • If possible, keep samples of materials and fabrics to show the claim assessor.
  • Store damaged or destroyed items somewhere safe.
  • Make an inventory of damaged possessions. This will help insurers process your claim.

Things to be aware of in the recovery process

The ICA offers the following general advice to policyholders affected by bushfires:

  • Do not do anything that puts your safety at risk.
  • Do not undertake major repairs or employ tradespeople without checking with your insurer, as your insurance may not cover unauthorised repairs.
  • Do not drive your vehicle if it is not roadworthy due to fire damage.
  • Do not throw away goods that could be salvaged or repaired.
  • Don’t be concerned if you don’t have your insurance documents. Insurance companies keep records electronically and require only the policyholders’ name and address to find a policy.

FOS natural disaster hotline

To support people affected by natural disasters, the Financial Ombudsman Service has a dedicated hotline to provide help and information on insurance claims, financial hardship and other financial issues experienced as a result of extreme weather events.

Please call 1800 337 444 to speak with our disaster helpline team. Alternatively, you can email the team at info@fos.org.au.

Financial difficulty

People affected by natural disasters can experience both short-term and long-term financial difficulties, ranging from lost credit cards and problems accessing cash through to being unable to make loan repayments. Banks and other financial services providers generally provide assistance to customers in cases of genuine hardship.

If you are unhappy with a financial services provider’s response to your financial difficulty, you can register your dispute with us, either via our online dispute form or by phone on 1800 337 444.

When you register your dispute, please make sure you tell us that you are a fire-affected customer.

More information on natural disasters and financial difficulty can be found in this fact sheet.

Insurance claims

If you need to make an insurance claim, your first contact should be with your insurer, to check your coverage and provide details of your claim. The insurance industry has developed an efficient disaster response procedure and should respond in line with the urgency of the situation.

If you have any problems with your insurance claims which you are unable to resolve directly with your insurer, you can register your dispute with us, either via our online dispute form or by phone on 1800 337 444.

More information about our dispute resolution process is available here.

Insurance claims – cooling off period

The General Insurance Code of Practice sets the minimum standard for what people can expect from their insurance provider. It explains how insurers should deal with claims that arise from a natural catastrophe or disaster – in particular, the requirements for a cooling-off period.

If your insurer is a participant in the General Insurance Code of Practice and it finalised your claim within one month of a natural catastrophe or disaster, you have a six-month cooling off period to check whether your claim included everything that was lost or damaged. The cooling-off period is available to you even though you may have signed a release when your claim was finalised.

If you think the assessment of your loss was not complete or accurate, contact your financial services provider and ask it to review your claim.

Some FSPs also have guidelines which allow a review of your claim at any time after its is finalised, if the claim arose due to a natural disaster.

To find out if your financial services provider is a participant in the General Insurance Code of Practice, view the list of subscribers to the Code.