Earthquakes & Insurance Policies

January 15, 2014

Victorians may not be accustomed to earthquakes that spark international attention but they have experienced several earthquakes in the past few years and Victorian home and business owners have not been immune to their effects. Even when considered to be small in magnitude and mistaken for a freight train passing nearby, low-magnitude earthquakes may still cause damage to homes and businesses within their reach.

Is your home or business protected against damage caused by an earthquake?

What Victorians many don’t realize, but should know, is that their existing policy may already cover them for earthquake damage. The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) acknowledges that in Australia’s competitive insurance market, the majority of standard home and contents policies include cover for earthquakes. Policyholders who have opted for “fire and theft-only” policies however, should be aware that they may not be covered and their property may be at risk.

The most important thing is that policyholders ensure that they are fully aware of what they are covered for and what they need to do to make a claim.

If you are a home or business owner, the following tips may help you to protect yourself against loss arising from earthquake damage:

– Contact your insurance provider. Speak with your insurance provider about what your particular insurance policy covers so there are no nasty surprises.

– Adjust your policy if needed. There are over 1000 companies insuring Victorians and if you are not happy with the cover you currently have, there are many other options available.

– Take plenty of photos. Providing insurance companies with plenty of evidence improves your chance of making a successful claim.

– Move fast. Some leading insurance providers in Australia may cover for earthquake damage but not if the damage occurred more than 72 hours after the earthquake.

– Keep records. Take an inventory of damaged possessions to assist the processing of your claim.

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