Homeowners, businesses and motor vehicle owners affected by last month’s destructive hail storm can have their questions answered at a policy holder meeting in Canberra on Thursday.
The meeting will be hosted by the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) and will provide guidance on insurance claims to those affected by the January 20 hail storm that swept across the ACT and surrounds.
The meeting is for policy holders who have lodged a claim or are planning to lodge a claim for damage to vehicles or property arising from the hailstorm.
ICA head of risk and operations Karl Sullivan said the meeting will provide general guidance on the insurance recovery process and give residents the opportunity to meet directly with their insurer.
“Insurers have received more than 55,000 claims to date, with estimated losses at $514 million. About 70 per cent of claims are for domestic motor vehicles,” Mr Sullivan said.
“ACT policy holders can be personally assisted by the ICA’s disaster recovery experts and the insurers attending the meeting.”
Head of communications for the ICA, Campbell Fuller, said people should be wary of scammers and speak to their insurance agent as soon as possible.
“The first rule is, do not believe any tradesperson who says they can complete the repairs for direct payment from you and that your insurance company will cover or reimburse you for the cost,” Mr Fuller said.
He also urged people to not drive their cars if there is damage to windscreens.
“If you’re not sure whether your car is safe to drive or not, there’s a very good chance that it’s not.”
Mr Fuller said once an assessment has been completed and before repairs commence, policy holders can opt-out and pay for repairs rather than making a claim and paying the excess.
If a car is a statutory write-off, he said, it can never be registered again and will be disposed of by the insurance company, which may also extract and sell any usable parts to redeem some of their losses. Policy holders who would prefer to take out and sell parts themselves can negotiate with their insurance company to buy back the written-off vehicle at an agreed price.
Registration to attend the community meeting via the Insurance Council of Australia is essential. The venue of the meeting will be made available once registration is completed. It will start at 5:30 pm, followed by the opportunity for policyholders to talk to representatives from their insurer about their individual claims.
Visit www.disasters.org.au/canberra or call 1800 734 621 for more information.