Melbourne residents have had a rough couple of years. Last year, it was the lockdowns. This year, it’s been the lockdowns (again), the lockdown protests and now, the 5.9 magnitude earthquake that rocked the city and its surroundings at 9:15am on the morning of Wednesday, September 22.
Fortunately, if you’re a Melbourne resident with home or building damage caused by the quake, turns out, if you already have a home or building insurance policy, you should be covered. Comparison site Finder checked 11 home insurance policies and found that all covered earthquake damage, although the exclusion period varied from three to seven days.
In other words, if you only bought the policy three to seven days ago, depending on the provider, before the quake, you wouldn’t be covered for any damage it caused. “Most policies have exclusion periods for specific insured events such as a quake to prevent people taking out a policy just before damage occurs,” says Taylor Blackburn, insurance specialist at Finder.
Blackburn says if you don’t currently have home insurance, he would recommend you take out a plan. This is particularly note-worthy given that Victorians were warned by experts to brace themselves for further earthquakes or aftershocks that could occur in the next weeks or months.
“You won’t be covered for Wednesday’s earthquake but it can protect you from loss or damage in the future,” says Blackburn.
In the case that you already had the insurance and your home or building was damaged in the quake, how do you go about making a claim? Blackburn says there are three steps you’ll need to follow.
Firstly, you’ll need to ensure your property is now safe and secure. You’ll also want to call your insurer and let them know what has happened. Next, you’ll need to collect evidence, taking as many photos and videos of the damage as possible. Down the track, you’ll need to also collect receipts and invoices for the damaged items to prove your expenses.
And finally, once you have all of your evidence, you’ll need to submit your home insurance claim with your insurer, either online or by mail.
While it typically takes insurers up to 10 days to respond to claims, given the earthquake has likely caused many people to file claims, it may take longer to process yours. IAG’s EGM Direct Claims Luke Gallagher told Insurance News the insurer has so far received more than 100 claims for property damage across its brands