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Rebuilding your home after a bushfire
The recent bushfires shocked the nation with their intensity and scale – and have unfortunately left thousands of people with destroyed or damaged homes.
In the coming weeks and months, people and businesses will be making decisions about how to rebuild.
If your home has been affected by the recent bushfires here’s what you need to know during the repair and rebuild process.
Repairing or rebuilding your home
If your home is damaged or declared a total loss (i.e. it needs to be demolished and rebuilt), we will work with you to discuss the options available to get you back on the road to recovery. This includes:
1. Arranging for our builders or suppliers to repair or rebuild your home
We can arrange for our network of suppliers or builders to repair or rebuild your home.
This involves our partner builders working with you on a plan to repair or rebuild your home up to your nominated sum insured (i.e the total amount insured for your property).
This means working with the builder to decide how your house is rebuilt and there is flexibility to make changes to your new home in this process.
2. Paying the cost to repair or rebuild your home
If you decide not to repair or rebuild your home through one of our suppliers or builders, we will cash settle your repair costs, or provide you with store credits from one of our nominated suppliers.
3. Paying the sum insured for your property
We may pay you the sum insured for your property when your home is declared a total loss.
What might affect your rebuild
Understanding your sum insured
The sum insured for your property is the amount of insurance you choose to cover your home. Depending on your policy type, this may include the demolition and rebuild costs in the unfortunate event you lose your property completely and it needs to be rebuilt from scratch.
The sum insured for your contents is the amount of insurance you choose to cover your contents in your home.
Unfortunately, it’s estimated that eight in 10 households believe they are underinsured (Insurance Council of Australia, 2016) – meaning that the amount households are insured for is less than the cost to replace their home and contents.
In the unfortunate situation you are underinsured following a natural disaster, you have the option to sit down with one of our partner builders and design a new home based on the sum-insured you have available.
Importantly, when people are renewing their insurance each year, we encourage them to update their sum-insured by using online calculators, such as those on our NRMA Insurance and CGU websites, or by contacting our team to discuss this over the phone to make sure they have the right cover.
Building code changes
Building codes are introduced by state and local governments and change over time. They are intended to ensure your home is energy efficient, safer and more resilient if a natural disaster occurs in future.
For example, when repairing or rebuilding a home following a bushfire, you may be required to include fire resistant materials to improve protection of your building from bushfire attack rather than using traditional building materials. New codes or regulations may also require additional fixtures to your home such as shutters or perimeter sprinkler systems.
If there are changes to building codes when you are rebuilding after a natural disaster, we will work with you to ensure your home meets these new standards.
After a bushfire, we may need to organise a clean-up for your property (including removing debris) before we can start the rebuild process. Depending on your policy type, these clean-up costs normally come out of your total sum-insured.
For the recent bushfires, the Federal and State (NSW, VIC and SA) governments are funding and coordinating a clean-up in New South Wales and Victoria by removing potentially dangerous debris and hazardous materials like asbestos from properties and communities.
This approach means there is no impact to the amount (sum-insured) that customers have available to rebuild or repair their home.
Extra help for customers
We understand that repairing or rebuilding your home after a major bushfire can be an incredibly difficult.
If you are experiencing financial hardship you can contact us for assistance – read more about that here.
We also offer free and confidential counselling to customers affected by the bushfires. Please let your claims consultant know if you would like to use this service.
To find out more about how IAG is responding to the current bushfires, visit our bushfire response hub.