The 2020 bushfires across Australia had devastating effects on the lives of so many Australians. Many lost homes, treasured possessions or most terribly, a family member or friend.
In the aftermath of this natural disaster, we had clients call us to seek advice on their rights in respect of their home insurance. Some overlooked paying their insurance premium. When they were told to evacuate their homes, they rang their insurer to check that their policy was current and were told that they had not paid the premium and therefore the policy had expired. They asked to pay the premium immediately to renew the policy. However, their insurer refused to renew the policy due to the high risk of bushfires in the area.
Notice Provided by Your Insurer
The Insurance Contracts Act 1984 provides that an insurer must notify an insured customer in writing no later than 14 days before the expiration of their policy stating that their policy will expire if not renewed or negotiated in that time.
It is important to note that if the insurer did not provide this notice, even though you did not renew your policy, the policy is taken to continue as if you had renewed for the period of the original policy. So it is important to check first whether you have received this notice.
You might be able to show that there were special circumstances that made it impossible for you to renew your policy. These may include that you were overseas, or severely ill and in hospital.
Seeking Legal Advice
It is important to be fully aware of your insurance renewal date and ensure your insurer is keeping you accurately informed about the status of your policy.
If you would like further information regarding building insurance or general litigation or insurance advice, please do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced litigation solicitors on (02) 9963 9800 or via our contact form.
The team at Etheringtons would also like to extend our heartfelt sympathies to all those affected by the recent bushfires and commend the hard work and sacrifice by the fire fighters.