Do this Now for Faster Personal Property Damage/Loss Claims

Making an insurance claim, whether for stolen or damaged personal property, can be stressful. This article steps you through the process, so you’ll know how to claim.

Understanding your policy

You may have contents insurance for possessions you keep in your home and yard if you have one. This policy usually covers you for theft of goods and property damage due to fire, storm, etc., at the insured address.

Personal effects insurance is an optional benefit, not standalone, cover. It offers protection – for damage or accidental loss – for your items when you’ve taken them away from home. This policy covers you year-round across Australia. Some policies even protect you for up to 90 days overseas.

You can choose either specified or unspecified cover. Specified covers you for specific valuables, ​​usually in excess of the specified limit in your home contents insurance policy, such as a ring, smartphone, laptop, etc. Be sure to keep the receipts and valuations as evidence for your claim. 

You won’t need to list each item and value separately on your insurance for unspecified personal effects cover. It comes into play to protect against damage or accidental loss of portable items, including:

  • Cosmetics
  • Musical instruments
  • Photography equipment
  • Sporting gear
  • Glasses or sunglasses
  • Clothing, handbags, etc.

For this policy, you’ll decide the individual item limit and a total claim limit that works for your circumstances.

Documenting the damage or loss

Take photographs and document the damage. Collecting this level of detail will help speed up your claim:

  • Descriptions of each item
  • The extent of the damage
  • Value – an approximation is better than nothing
  • Date of purchase, such as listed on your credit card statement
  • Model number, brand, serial number and warranties if you have them
  • Photographs before the damage/loss occurred
  • Declarations from people who have seen your lost/damaged possessions.

Don’t throw out damaged items before checking with us. Consider storing them in a secure shed or garage, if possible, so they don’t get in the way of your everyday living.

What you can do now: The list above might sound onerous, so now’s the time to create a home inventory, a complete list of your belongings. Start by focusing on the essential and most valuable items. ‘Before’ photographs are great, but may not have all the detail you’ll need to make a claim.

Contacting us 

Ensure you contact us promptly to reduce your claim waiting time. We’re knowledgeable about insurers’ processes, can guide you on filling in claim forms and explain the documentation plus information needed. We’re on your side to help you fast-track claims and communicate with insurers on your behalf.

A Deloitte report has found brokers save their clients an average of 11 hours from when the policy is purchased and includes claims.

What you can do now: Get in touch with us at other times to review your cover to ensure it’s right for your changing circumstances. We can demystify the fine print about having replacement cost and actual cash value covered, too.

How long will the process take?

Once the insurer has all the relevant information & completed their enquiries, they will have 10 business days to decide to deny or accept it.

They must do so to comply with the General Insurance Code of Practice, section 7.10. If they fail to do so, we may report a breach of the Code or lodge a complaint.

The code of practice has a provision (clause 7.7) for fast-tracking claim assessments and decisions if you’re experiencing financial hardship. We’ll guide you about collecting evidence so that the insurer makes an advance payment within five business days if they accept your request for urgent financial need.