What to do after a bushfire

Living Well | Sue Hewitt | Posted on 12 November 2019

How to claim insurance and emergency payments after bushfire.

As bushfires ravage Victoria and Australia’s east coast, RACV is urging members affected by the fires to contact their insurer quickly.

RACV spokesman Brodie Bott says RACV is doing everything possible to help Victorians affected by the fires.

“We are urging our insurance members to get in contact with us as soon as possible to make a claim so we can provide immediate support, such as emergency accommodation and financial assistance,” he says.

“Our disaster response customer support program is also available, where customers can receive free and confidential counselling by a team of psychologists experienced in providing post-incident support.

“A team of assessors and builders from our major events claims team will be on the ground to help our members once it is safe to enter the affected areas.”

CFA vehicle with headlights on drives beside trees and flames in East Gippsland

Brodie says RACV’s priority is the safety of its members and helping them recover quickly. 

“This is already a particularly difficult bushfire season for our emergency authorities and impacted communities and we will continue to support them through the difficult times ahead.” 

To lodge a home insurance claim, RACV Insurance customers should contact the claims and assistance centre on 13 19 03 or follow the prompts online

How to claim bushfire emergency payments

The federal government’s Disaster Assist program is offering a one-off financial payment of $1000 per adult and $400 per child for people affected by the Victorian bushfires. 

Its Disaster Recovery Payment is available to people who have been seriously injured, have lost their homes or whose homes have been directly damaged. Immediate family members of a person killed in the bushfires are also eligible. 

The Victorian government’s Personal Hardship Assistance Program provides emergency relief payments to help pay for such things as temporary accommodation.

How to make a bushfire insurance claim

Insurance Council Australia provides a guide to what to do if your home, contents or other assets are damaged or destroyed by a bushfire. 

  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible for advice on making a claim. RACV members can call 13 19 03 or visit the website
  • If you don’t have your insurance documents, insurers can use your name and address to find your policy.
  • People in urgent financial difficulty can ask their insurer to fast-track their claim and make an advance payment within five business days of them showing that they are in urgent financial need. Advance payments may be deducted from the total value of your claim.
  • Get your insurer’s permission in writing before authorising any building work, including emergency repairs.
  • If your home is unsafe, notify local authorities and check with your insurer whether you can claim temporary accommodation costs.
  • If your claim is finalised within one month of the disaster, you have six months from the finalisation date to request a review of your claim.