Flood Lawyer NSW & QLD
An expert flood insurance claims lawyer can make all the difference
Between New South Wales and Queensland, there have been around ten major floods in the last ten years. Even if the chances of a river near you flooding are one in a hundred years, who’s to say that chance won’t strike today or tomorrow? No matter the odds, it’s always best to be protected.
At Main Lawyers, we’re here to help if you’ve been affected by a flood and your insurer has rejected your claim. We’re expert flood lawyers and we’ve successfully won a number of flood insurance claims for our clients.
We’re based in Coolangatta, Gold Coast and offer mobile services for flood affected people in Brisbane, Townsville, Gold Coast, Tweed River and surrounds. We may still be able to help if you’re looking for a flood lawyer anywhere else in Queensland or New South Wales.
You may have a valid flood damage claim, even if it’s been rejected by your insurer
It is quite often that insurance companies reject claims for flood or rainwater damage to homes, properties, equipment and businesses. In some instances, this decision may be correct, but there are others where it may not be. It all comes down to what your insurance policy covers and the hydrological evidence put forth.
As expert flood lawyers, we have successfully helped a number of NSW & QLD families and businesses claim compensation for flood damage. Take business owner Greg Milham, for example, whose claim was rejected three times before he approached our team and was able to succeed.
If your flood insurance claim has been rejected anywhere in NSW or QLD, contact us today!
Our expert flood lawyers have helped many others successfully gain flood damage compensation even when their initial claims were rejected.
Flood Insurance Claims Process
Step 1: Check Your Insurance Policy
Some home insurance policies cover you for storm, rainwater and/or run-off damage. However, many policies exclude damage caused by floodwater. The obligation of proving an exclusion, such as a flood, ultimately lies on your insurance company. The fine print matters when it comes to whether or not you can claim flood damage compensation.
Step 2: Collect Evidence of Damage
Once the floods have passed, go through your property and belongings separating damaged items from non-damaged ones as you go. Having a clear idea of exactly what was damaged will help when assessing what you are asking compensation for.
While it will be tempting to dispose of damaged property, it may be worthwhile to hold onto it until it has been documented by your insurer. Also, keep in mind that undamaged property may be at risk of future damage from mould and residual moisture caused by the floods. Keeping undamaged items separate can help avoid this further damage.
Taking photographs of the damage and also creating inventory lists may also help your claim. If your insurer doesn’t send out a Hydrologist, you’ll also need to make sure you have a hydrological report and evidence completed as soon as possible.
Step 3: Lodge Claim With Insurer
Different insurers have different processes for lodging a claim. You may be able to lodge a claim online or you may need to give them a call. In either case, make sure you find out what documentation they will need you to submit and have it ready to go.
Step 4: Contact a Flood Lawyer if Claim Has Been Wrongfully Rejected
If a insurer rejects your flood claim and you think you have reasonable grounds to receive compensation, an expert flood lawyer can help. At Main Lawyers, we have helped many families and businesses receive compensation for flood damage even if their original claim was rejected.
By chatting with an experienced flood claim lawyer, you will be able to find out if and how you can proceed to receive the compensation you may be due.
I never knew I had a flood exclusion until now. Can I still claim?
A general insurer is under legal obligation to clearly inform you in writing whether your policy provides you with flood cover. Your policy must clearly state if loss and damage caused by, or resulting from, a flood is included.
Usually your Product Disclosure Statement will contain this information. Your insurer may have mailed a physical copy or sent an electronic one via email when you first took out the policy with them.
You may also find this information in your Certificate of Insurance. If these documents have been issued and they contain, in writing, the nature of cover offered in the extent of flood, then you have probably been ‘clearly informed’ according to the law.
How does the law define a flood?
An important consideration which will affect whether you can make a flood insurance claim is whether the damage was caused by a flood, storm, heavy rain or run-off. A flood is defined as:
“ the covering of normally dry land by water that has escaped or been released from the normal confines of any of the following:
(a) a lake (whether or not it has been altered or modified);
(b) a river (whether or not it has been altered or modified);
(c) a creek (whether or not it has been altered or modified);
(d) another natural watercourse (whether or not it has been altered or modified);
(e) a reservoir;
(f) a canal;
(g) a dam.”
To assess whether or not a flood has occurred it may be important to know:
- Timing: At what time did the water peak? At what time did the water first enter the premises? Are there gauges to prove this? Did the water rise at a constant level or was there a rapid increase and decrease in water levels?
- Rainfall data: Is there data regarding the rainfall levels and timings? If so, how does that coincide with the water entering the premises? Was it raining when the water first entered the premises?
- The premises: What is the colour of the waters left in the premises (ie muddy or clear?). What damage was done to the building. Is there evidence on the building regarding where the water came in (ie hole in the roof; higher water marks on one side of the building; Is there evidence that water came through the drains?
- Witness evidence: Were there witnesses? What is their evidence regarding the direction of waterflow, timings, levels and colour.
- From where did the water come? What direction?
- What is the distance to the lake, river, creek, reservoir, dam, canal or another natural watercourse from which the waters supposedly came?
- What is the topography and geography like between the lake, river, creek, reservoir, dam, canal or another natural watercourse from which the waters supposedly came and the subject premises?
- Have other premises in or around you submitted claims? If so, were they also declined because of the flood exclusion and by which insurer?
These are a few of the questions and information needed to assess a flood claim. Generally, it is best to undertake a site inspection at the premises to assess a potential claim. In most instances evidence from an hydrologist will be needed.
How long will the claim process take?
If your claim has not been lodged yet, it could take up to a month or so for the insurer to obtain hydrological evidence and make a decision. If the decision is to deny the claim (as having a flood exclusion), then you may wish to receive your own hydrological evidence and seek an internal review of the insurer’s decision. This may take a further couple of months.
If the claim is declined, you have two separate and very different avenues of recourse: The Financial Ombudsman Service (“FOS”) and the Courts. There are advantages and disadvantages to both avenues. We will happily discuss this with you in your free initial consultation with us. In either situation, you could generally expect at least 12-18 months before your matter is resolved.
How much will all of this cost?
It all depends upon the complexity of your case, the number of witnesses you have and the number of experts (including hydrologists) we will need to pursue your matter. In some circumstances some legal costs are paid by the Flood insurer. Those costs can be 50% – 70% of your final legal bill with us.
An estimated range of our costs is given to you at our initial consultation after getting details of your claim and assessing the complexity of the matter. Flood insurance matters are time costed. That is, we charge for the amount of time we put into your claim.