Go to content

Legal help for victims of natural disasters

We can help

Legal Aid NSW can give you free legal advice if you are affected by bushfires, storms or floods in New South Wales. For example, we can help if:

  • your home has been damaged by fire or floods (help is available to both owner and tenant)
  • you have insurance or repair problems
  • your job has been affected by the fires or floods
  • you need help renegotiating credit commitments due to loss of income from the disaster

What you should do - insurance claims

The insurance claims process can be tricky. Remember that you always have a right to lodge a claim and also to have your refused claim reviewed internally or independently at the Australian Financial Complaints Authority - your rights exist even where your insurer doesn't agree with you.

So it's a good idea to lodge an insurance claim even if you are unsure about the cover.

  • Keep a record of damage - take photos and videos where possible.
  • Carefully check the wording of their insurance policy and, if in doubt, get legal advice before speaking to claims assessors, who usually visit on site.
  • Make sure that premiums have been paid in full, or are up to date, before lodging any claim because premium shortfalls may affect payment.

Your home insurance policy may cover the costs of your temporary accommodation if you can no longer live in your home. Check with your insurer as early as possible.

If your insurer doesn’t agree with you about your claim, ask them to put their refusal in writing to you with reasons. You should get legal advice if you are unsure about your cover.

Contact us

People affected by natural disaster can contact Disaster Response Legal Service NSW 1800 801 529, visit our closest Legal Aid office, or contact the Insurance Law Service.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for regular updates.

More information