We are going to be honest – it doesn’t matter how long you have been in the real estate industry… submitting claims can sometimes be stressful for agents! There is a fear you won’t be able to recoup enough costs for your landlord to cover the damage, or that a claim is going to be rejected all together. These are legitimate concerns! However, at EBM RentCover, we aim to make the whole claims process easy for our agent partners.
Let’s start by highlighting the fact that contrary to popular belief, more insurance claims are actually paid out than knocked back. According to the Insurance Council of Australia, general insurers pay out an average of $135.9 million in claims to policyholders every working day. In FY18, insurers approved 3,361,016 claims and only a fraction – less than seven per cent – were declined.
Now that is out of the way, lets look at ways to streamline the claims process. Knowing how to respond in times of loss or damage makes the claims process easier and helps to minimise the pressure felt by agents when submitting claims. Let’s jump in…
Know your obligations as an agent
Before you submit a claim on behalf of your landlord, you should understand what you legally can and can’t do. There are strict rules and regulations that underpin the insurance and real estate industries, so being on top of legislation is vital! We can help with this. Here is a snapshot of what you can and can’t do when submitting claims on behalf of a lanldord:
- You can support the landlord to make a claim and prepare or submit supporting evidence as requested. You can also pass on information to clients that was provided to you directly by an EBM RentCover Claim Specialist or loss adjuster about the expected outcome of a claim.
- You can’t provide personal or general advice about claims or make a prediction on whether a claim will or will not be paid. Types of questions you should avoid engaging in include: Will my claim be paid? How much will I get? You must not answer these questions as you are not authorised to provide any advice that relates to a financial service, including claims handling. The bottom line: You can’t calculate claim settlements or advise the landlord of the payout you think they will receive.
Agents need to be cautious about what conversations they engage in as certain topics are off limits. If you are an agent partner of EBM RentCover, chat to your Relationship Manager for more information.
Do a safety walkthrough and take steps to prevent further loss or damage
Now you know your obligations, you can help the landlord to submit a claim. One of the first things you should do is support the lanldord to take reasonable steps to prevent further loss or damage. This could include boarding windows or laying a tarp on the roof. It is also a good idea to arrange all emergency repairs necessary to minimise loss – you don’t need to get our authority first but do keep the original tax invoices for the claim
Grab a notebook + camera and capture the damage
To submit a successful insurance claim you need to establish and show a loss has occurred. You can do this by:
- Providing photos or video evidence of the damage before the clean-up to submit to the insurer.
- Providing an inventory of damaged items with a detailed description, such as brand, model and serial number.
TIP: If you need to dispose of an item because it poses a health risk, such as saturated carpet, keep samples of the damaged material.
Seek quotes for repairs
We require two quotes to be provided for repairs. However, if the claim relates to a catastrophic event (e.g. natural disaster), we require just one in the first instance (if we need a second quote to quantify the claim, we’ll let you know).
Get a report from the repairer
A report from the repairer (also known as a causation report) helps insurers to quickly identify the cause of damage and make a quick and fully informed decision when it comes to processing a claim. The report typically outlines the cause and impact of damage and loss. For example, if the cause of damage is storm/rainwater or hail, the repairer will describe how and why the rain or hail entered the property.
Don’t throw out your receipts
It is important to keep hold of receipts for any work you (or the lanldord) do, or materials purchased as you may be able to claim those expenses. NOTE: EBM RentCover insurance policies do not cover repair work undertaken by tenants.
Now you know your obligations when submitting claims, and some tips for streamlining the process, you are better equipped to help landlords when they face unforeseen circumstances at their rental. To submit a claim, visit our online claims portal.
*While we have taken care to ensure the information above is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances and legislation after the displayed date may impact the accuracy of this article. If you need us we are there, contact 1800 661 662 if you have any questions.