With more than 2,000 homes destroyed by this summer’s catastrophic bushfires, many home and business owners across Australia are in the unfortunate position of assessing the damage done to their properties.
Unfortunately, some may seek to take advantage of the situation. According to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) Commissioner Sean Hughes, consumers and small business owners need to ‘watch out for unscrupulous or fictitious tradespeople, repairers or firms offering to assist them with their insurance claim.’ These individuals or groups target vulnerable home and small business owners in the aftermath of natural disasters.
If your home or business has been damaged or destroyed as a result of the bushfires, you should be wary of any individual who claims they can identify damage to your property – they may offer to do so by free inspection. You should also be aware of anyone who requests payment up front or asks you to sign a contract immediately. It’s also important that you don’t agree to sign anything which prevents you from dealing directly with your current insurer, broker, lawyer or financial adviser.
If you need someone to talk to
It can be hard to know where to start when you have experienced a natural disaster. Fortunately, help is available. If your mental health has been adversely affected by the bushfires and/or the severe climactic conditions, there are numerous mental health groups that can assist you, including Beyond Blue, SANE Australia and many more.
If you need to assess damage
As a result of the devastation caused by the bushfires, many small business owners are facing an uncertain future. Among those who are worst hit are the many small business owners whose property and equipment have been destroyed by the fires. It’s important to note that if you’re in such a situation support is available. If your property has been damaged or destroyed, ASIC have provided guidelines on what to do next, including how to assess the damage to your property.
If you’re a RedZed customer and have been impacted by the bushfires, our Client Services team can help should you need assistance with your loan. You can call them on 1300 722 462 or email them here.
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