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Flood Definitions – Are you Covered?

By Renee Cassidy on

As we head into the festive season, we are reminded of the disastrous January 2011 floods that severely affected many areas of Queensland. Following those floods, countless people were astonished that their policy did not cover them for the loss incurred. We hope to clear this up for you.

In 2012, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) introduced a statutory definition of ‘flood’ for insurance contracts.  The main objectives of the legislation were to standardise the scope of cover as well as reduce consumer confusion.

How is flood defined?

The covering of normally dry land by water that has escaped or been released from the normal confines of: any lake, or any river, creek or other natural watercourse, whether or not altered or modified; or any reservoir, canal, or dam*.
Please note:  Storm water or water from a burst pipe is not classified as flood, and is an insured risk of most policies.

Does it apply to all insurance contracts?

No - the definition is only applicable to ‘prescribed contracts’ which are Home and Building Insurance contracts. This includes; Home and Contents Insurance contracts, contracts that provide insurance cover in respect of destruction of or damage to a Strata Title residence, or contracts that provide insurance cover in respect of the loss or damage of equipment, stock, inventory or premises of a small business*.

Can I claim for the January 2011 floods?

No, the legislation is not retrospective so it only applies to contracts entered into and flood events occurring, since 19 June, 2012.

It is also important to note that the legislation does not make flood cover a mandatory inclusion so you should contact your broker to better understand your specific policy, and whether it includes flood cover and if not, what the implications are for you.

* From section 37B(2)(a) of the Insurance Contract Act 1984(Cth).

This Whitbread insight article is not intended to be advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.  Please contact Whitbread Associates Pty Ltd ABN 69 005 490 228 Licence Number: 229092 trading as Whitbread Insurance Brokers for further information or refer to our website.

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