We’ve put together a summary of what and what not to do during the claims process.
Arranging the quote
The quote you submit must involve reinstating the property without betterment or upgrade. Where an upgrade is requested in conjunction with repairs to the damaged area, the insurer is not responsible for such upgrades or betterment. This may also apply where colour scheme is changed against non-damaged areas and does not match.
Australian Business Number
Where strata or businesses have ABN registered for GST, the ABN must be collected and recorded against the claim. This is a number that all registered entities must hold to allow the charging of GST (Goods and Services Tax) on supplies and the ability to claim an input tax credit on GST paid as applicable.
Do not dispose of damaged items without approval or instructions from the insurer.
Don’t admit liability
Be sure to take notes of the situation, including facts and photos. Don’t admit liability, but report the incident to us as soon as possible. As a Good Samaritan act, you can render support to a third party (as required).
EFT claims settlement
Electronic funds transfer (EFT) is a preferred method for fast & efficient refunds between the insurer and you. For strata claims, we are required to obtain the strata company bank account details to refund claim costs. For schemes with fewer than five lots that may not have a bank account, refunds will be provided directly to the owner. However, this must be noted at the time of the claim lodgement.
An excess sits on most insurance policies and is the first part of the claim that is funded by the insured. In most cases, the excess will be invoiced by the builder to the insured before the claim repair commences. Sometimes excesses will be invoiced directly from the insurer.
Making the situation safe
Action needs to be taken to prevent further damage and make the situation safe. If emergency services are required, please ring for their help, as well as report the claim to our team.
Proof of ownership
Some insurers require proof of ownership for theft of items, so be sure to keep records of valuable items. For theft claims involving a strata unit owner, personal contents are not covered by the strata policy, as this is a personal contents insurance item.
Replacing damaged items
The quote must involve the nearest equivalent of the pre-damaged item and the cost to repair or replace it.
Who to contact
You need to report a strata claim immediately to your Strata Manager and Property Lync Insurance Brokers. For other insurance product claims, please report them to Property Lync Insurance Brokers.
Common claim type information
With fence claims, it’s important to identify whether they are dividing fences or wholly owned fencing. Rules apply to boundary fencing, so you should establish if the fence is 50% or 100% owned. Fencing that is constructed inside a strata scheme as part lot boundaries or part lot boundary and common property, is 100% owned.
In the event of a fire, you will need to seek assistance from fire emergency services, before reporting the claim - see Who to Contact.
As per the DFES website, here’s who to call during different emergencies:
· Call triple zero (000) for fire and life threatening emergencies
· Call SES (132 500) for urgent property repairs that you cannot fix yourself.
Insurance companies usually have their own preferred glaziers. However, in the event of emergency repairs, for security reasons any glazier can be contacted to carry out the repairs. If your own repairer is used, you must complete a claim form with the invoice and pay the applicable excess. Where the glass is of unusual size or cost, the insurer may appoint a loss adjuster. In these cases, repairs must only be temporary.
Commercial glass breakage
Where a commercial property is leased out, the tenant may be responsible for glass breakage under their lease agreement. The agreement should be checked prior to a claim being lodged against the strata insurer.
By calling our 24/7 afterhours emergency number (1300 127 503), we can supply a glazier to assist repair. If you need to claim during office hours, we can refer you directly to the insurer’s preferred repairer.
If impact was occasioned by a third party vehicle, it is important to document the vehicle’s details and provide them to the insurer.
Loss of rent
Some insurers require a copy of your tenancy agreement, or where your unit was contracted to be rented. For short term leasing, you are required to provide previous rental statements prior to the loss. Various instructions from insurers will apply.
This type of claim relates to damage by unknown persons who may break windows, doors and locks, or leave graffiti on the building.
Where glass windows or doors have been damaged, security make safe[B3] should be attended to immediately. Upgrading (such as additional locks) is not covered. Claims will be assessed on whether the damage is a one-off attack or has occurred over a period of multiple attacks. Malicious damage and theft claims need to be reported to the police.
Public liability claims include bodily injury caused by trips and falls, as well as damage by a hazard to third party property. Such claims are usually instigated by a letter of demand.
As public liability claims involve third parties, you must not admit liability. However, you can render assistance and call emergency services if required. All notifications of such claims need to be reported to the insurer as soon as possible.
Resultant water damage
Water damage claims require a quote detailing the damage and costs to repair the damage. Some of these claims will require an insurer’s assessor or builder to inspect, so please notify us as soon as possible so we can seek further instructions from the insurer.
Exploratory costs to establish the cause of the water leak (i.e. suspected burst pipe etc.) various cover and exclusions apply between different insurers. Depending on the type of burst pipe, exploratory costs may not be covered.
It is important to provide supporting evidence that shows the cause (the area that allowed water to leak into the building) has been rectified.
Sewerage, burst pipes & overspills
It is important that a licensed plumber is called to the property as soon as possible to mitigate the spill and attend the clean up. In some cases, an assessor may need to attend the site.
With these claims it is important to ascertain conditions of pipes and drains. For example - was the cause of the spill from damage by tree roots? Many of these claims relate to lack of maintenance and are not claims.
Storm damage may result in power lines coming down, roofs lifted off buildings or severe and unsafe conditions of the building. For urgent emergency assistance, SES may need to be called (see under Fire).
Repairers often state the repairs as being “storm” related. However, the insurer needs to know whether the damage was caused by a single event or if the damage has occurred over time. Heavy wind driven rain is an indication of storm, while natural deterioration of the roof (that allows normal rain to enter) is triggered by lack of maintenance.
Temporary accommodation may be required in the event of emergency. Some policies now extend to cover emergency accommodation of a residential tenant, however, cover is restricted.
Temporary accommodation claim benefit is usually based on the rentable value of your damaged unit. This cover is only available to the owner occupied unit.