Aside from residents of Greater Sydney, residents in South Australia are also encouraged by the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) to continue making insurance claims for any damage to buildings or vehicles despite the lockdown.
The government allowed urgent repairs during the lockdown under the new Public Health Order, but insurers will temporarily cease all non-urgent home repairs.
Critical building repairs allowed to continue during the lockdown include:
- Emergency make-safes (these occur following damage and are necessary to ensure the property and residents are safe and secure);
- Necessary repairs to ensure a home is habitable (e.g., repairing a bathroom, kitchen, or hot water system if necessary for the resident to remain in the home);
- Necessary repairs that are required to mitigate the risk of further damage (i.e., completing a roof repair, so the building is not exposed to significant additional damage from wind and rain); and
- Critical repairs to damaged business premises if required to ensure the safety or security of the building (such as preventing the risk of theft or further significant damage).
“Accidents and damage will still occur during these lockdowns, so customers should not hesitate to contact their insurer if they are looking for assistance or to make a claim,” said ICA chief executive officer Andrew Hall. “Insurers are working hard with suppliers to ensure we can continue important work on people's claims while also seeking to comply with these restrictions.”
ICA said insurers facilitating critical building repairs during the lockdown may also require assessors and engineers to attend sites, for example, determining whether critical repairs are required. Insurance staff and contracts will use virtual inspections where possible. If required on the site, they will wear PPE and limit contact with residents needing repairs.
“While we play an essential function, we are extremely mindful of the intent of the government's Level 5 restrictions and where possible will limit movement of both staff and contractors,” Hall said.
“Prior to these current restrictions, a shortage of trades and goods and state border closures, on top of a number of natural disasters, have been impacting insurance repairs and remediation times for customers.
“Current lockdowns across the country are likely to exacerbate those issues, so insurers ask for patience and understanding from the community as they work to repair property and vehicles.”
For hardship assistance during lockdowns, policyholders should contact their insurer, who will have in place a range of flexible support options.