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PRACTICAL TIPS AND GUIDELINES FOR INCIDENTS OR CLAIMSPractival Tips & Guidelines for Incidents or Claims

Over the last few years, we have experienced a significant increase in severe weather catastrophes and a surge in litigation claims for personal injury.

If you have never had your property damaged or had someone take legal action against you, the first time it happens, you might not be sure what to do, or even where to start.

Below are some practical tips/guidelines that you can follow should an incident occur, which may give rise to a claim.

Property Damage: Practical Tips

  • If the incident involves theft or loss of property, the police must be advised and a police report obtained.
  • If the incident involves water damage to carpet, immediately telephone a carpet firm to have the carpet dried, stretched and/or lifted. If the carpet has shrunk to the extent that it cannot be re-laid, obtain two quotes for its replacement. 
  • For other damage incidents, obtain at least two quotes for the repair or replacement of the damaged items, retain colour photographs evidencing the damage and take any reasonable steps to minimise any further damage. 
  • For any claims exceeding $3,000, a loss adjuster is likely to be appointed by your insurer. 
  • Report claims for damage to your insurance broker as soon as practicable to enable prompt lodgement of the claim with your insurer.
  • Where a broker is not involved, report the matter to your insurer without delay.

Motor Accidents: Practical Tips

  • If an accident occurs, exchange names, addresses, registration numbers and obtain the third party's insurance company details.
  • Note the location of the accident, time, date, road and weather conditions, including names and addresses of any witnesses. 
  • The police should be advised if appropriate and required by law. 
  • Retain details of the police station, reporting officer as well as police event number. 
  • If the incident involves a third party, do not admit liability. 
  • Report to your insurer as soon as practicable.

Liability: Practical Tips

  • Complete a detailed incident report containing the third party's name, date and time of loss as well as a full description of any loss, damage or injuries. Include any relevant photographs and supporting documentation detailing the circumstances. Do not give an interview or make any statements to a loss adjuster or other person investigating any incident unless such person is acting on behalf of your insurer.

  • Do not reply to any letters of demand (other than to acknowledge receipt of the correspondence and/or any Court proceedings). Forward same immediately to your insurance broker for provision to your insurer.

  • Incidents which involve children may result in claims for damages being made many years after the incident so keep incident reports and records of such incidents in a safe place and make doubly sure that your insurer has been notified.

  • Do not admit liability regarding any incident that may give rise to a claim against you.

Should any circumstances arise which may result in a claim, you must immediately notify your Insurance Broker or Insurer, as appropriate since any delay in notifying the insurer may result in your insurer refusing to accept your claim.

If you would like further information, please feel free to contact Rebecca Fleming, Account Manager of our Special Programs Division at Gow-Gates Insurance Brokers on (02) 8267 9919 or rfleming@gowgates.com.au to discuss your circumstances or to obtain a quotation.

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General Advice Warning – the information in the above article is intended as a guide only and should not be relied upon without consulting your relevant insurance policy wording and conditions or conversely seeking professional advice from either your insurance broker or insurer regarding a claim or potential loss. Failure to adhere to this warning could result in a denial of a claim or potential loss or a reduction in settlement of a claim or potential loss.