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What happens if I cannot stay in my home?

Damage to your home can sometimes mean that you can’t continue living there. As part of your claim we can assist you, your family, and pets with temporary accommodation while your home is unliveable and being repaired or rebuilt.

Your home is considered ‘unliveable’ when it is so damaged that:

  • Normal domestic activities like cooking and sanitation cannot be performed; or
  • Local authorities will not provide permission for the home to be inhabited; or
  • We otherwise agree that you can’t live in the home.

What happens in an assessment?

During an assessment, we look over your property or items to determine what the damage was caused by and how much damage there is.

We can conduct the assessment in person with one of our assessors or a partner builder/repairer, or in some cases, we can conduct a virtual assessment using pictures and videos.

How long does a home claim assessment take?

If one of our assessors comes to your home, it’ll take them roughly 30 to 60 minutes to complete their assessment of the loss or damage to your home and/or contents.

What are exploratory costs?

Exploratory work is required to expose concealed leaks that are often found underneath walls or in floors. If a claim is accepted, we will pay the reasonable cost of exploring to find the source of the leak.

What is a leak detection test?

If we are unsure where a leak is coming from, we can arrange a Leak Detection Test. This is a non-invasive series of tests that are used to determine where a leak is coming from. If we arrange this for you, we will cover the cost of the completed test.

What happens after the assessment?

Once our assessing team has inspected your home, we will review their report, including photos and the overall Scope of Works.

We will let you know when we receive the report and if anything further is required from you. We will then contact you to advise you of the claim outcome and what the next steps are.

In some cases, we may be able to immediately authorise your repairs before an assessment report has been submitted.

Can I throw out damaged items?

Disposal of any damaged items is covered as part of your insurance policy, so we can take care of that for you. While we ask that you do not throw anything out, it’s always best to speak with our claims consultants first. 

For example, if there was a flood and your carpets and furniture were ruined due to flood water, mud, or sewage then these items may need to be thrown out before an assessor visits your home. 

In some cases, we may also need to inspect an item to assess your claim and replace it to the same standard.

Will my storage costs be covered while my home is being repaired?

Yes. We’ll pay the costs of reasonable and appropriate storage of your contents in a commercial storage facility if they:

  • Cannot reasonably be stored at your temporary accommodation
  • Cannot remain in the home.

How do you decide whether to repair or replace damaged contents?

If a damaged item can be repaired quickly, easily and economically (e.g. a television), we’ll repair it.

If it’s uneconomic to repair or damaged beyond repair, we’ll replace it with a new one.

Can I get a home insurance cash payout instead of repair or replacement?

Following discussion with you, we will choose to do one of three things:

  • Repair the damaged property to the same standard, specification, or quality as it was when it was new
  • Replace the damaged property where available, or with the nearest equivalent property available in Australia
  • Pay you the reasonable amount it would cost to repair or replace the property.

Who will be my main point of contact during the repairs to my home?

The building contractor, who will answer any questions you have about the repairs and keep you updated on progress.

We’ll also appoint a case manager, who will keep an eye on things and contact you every so often to make sure you’re happy with the process.

Who will repair my home?

Budget Direct has a panel of qualified and licenced builders across the country. Our panel of builders and suppliers undergo strict selection criteria and ongoing performance reviews to ensure they align with our expectations and values. This means that when we send someone to your property they will maintain professional conduct and endeavour to treat your home as if it was their own.

Do your repairs come with a guarantee?

All of our builders are licensed in the states they operate and offer warranties according to the local building authority and manufacturer's warranties on materials. We also guarantee the output of work from authorised repairs. And if you have a problem, you can always come to us.

Can I use my own repairer?

As a Budget Direct customer, you’ll be pleased to know that you have access to our repairer network, which offers a lifetime guarantee on the workmanship provided in repairing your home. If you choose not to use our selected repairer we will offer to cash settle your claim. If your claim is cash-settled you’ll receive the amount to cover your repair/s, determined by one of our repairers, and for you to spend with a repairer of your choice.

Can I choose who replaces my damaged contents?

Our panel of suppliers can arrange replacement items for you or you can receive store credits to pick out your replacement items.

How long do home insurance repairs take?

It depends on the extent of your home’s damage, the availability of materials, and our builder’s workload.

The builder will be able to give you an estimated timeframe and, once the repairs get underway, will keep you informed of progress.

If only part of a room is damaged, can you ensure that the replacement materials will match the undamaged part?

We will only pay to repair or rebuild the parts of your home or contents that are damaged or destroyed. We can not replace undamaged parts of your home or contents unless it’s specified in your policy documents.

We will pay to repair or replace the damaged parts of kitchen cupboards, cabinets, and benchtops. Undamaged parts are also included only if they are continuously joined to the damaged part of the cupboard, cabinet, or benchtop and made of the same material.

We will pay to repair or replace internal blinds or curtains, carpets, other floor coverings, or wall coverings, but only in the same room, hallway, or passageway where the loss or damage occurred.

What is the Scope of Works?

The Scope of Works is a detailed list of the repairs needed to restore your home. It identifies the types of material, dimensions, and areas of your home to be repaired.

A Scope of Works allows our building team to confirm the correct method for repairing your home and appoint the right tradespeople to undertake the work. For more complex or significant damage, a Scope of Works helps to manage timeframes and the coordination of multiple trades or contractors. It may also be used to obtain additional repair quotes.

Why am I getting a contract that I need to sign?

The contract gives the tradespeople permission to carry out the work outlined in the Scope of Works at your property.

How will my home insurance claim be settled?

Upon acceptance of your home insurance claim, we’ll appoint a Budget Direct team member to take care of the repairs to your home. We will:

  • assess the nature and extent of the damage or loss
  • make your home safe (e.g. remove a fallen tree)
  • source repair quotes from our preferred builders
  • appoint a building contractor to repair your home
  • obtain – through the contractor – all the materials needed for the repairs
  • keep you informed of progress
  • ensure repairs comply with the latest building codes
  • provide you with temporary accommodation, if necessary.

If your contents have been damaged or lost, we will:

  • get them repaired and/or replaced through our network of suppliers and/or retailers, and delivered to your home, and/or
  • give you a cash settlement.

Are home insurance claim payouts taxable?

According to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), home insurance claim payouts are not considered income and so do not need to be declared in your tax return.

However, if part of your home is used for a business, the insurance payout may need to be taken into account for capital gains tax purposes.

Also, if you’re registered for GST and entitled to claim an input tax credit (ITC) on your premium, you’ll need to notify us of this entitlement each time you claim.

The claim settlement amount we pay you may be reduced to reflect your ITC entitlement.

(Budget Direct does not insure all types of business use; to find out whether your business use is acceptable, contact us.)

This information was obtained from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and was correct as of 1 November 2019.

For more information, visit the ATO’s ‘Insurance payouts’ web page and/or speak to a tax advisor or accountant.

How do I complain about a decision to deny my insurance claim?

 If you’re unhappy with any of your home insurer’s decisions or actions — including a denied claim — you may make a complaint.

Budget Direct’s complaints process is as follows:

Step 1: Speak to us

We want to resolve any complaint or dispute for you as quickly as possible. The best place to start is to contact our customer service team.

Step 2: Our team will help you

We will acknowledge your complaint within 24 hours of receiving it or as soon as practicable.

Our team will try to resolve your complaint immediately and will provide you with a unique reference number.

If we are unable to resolve your complaint to your satisfaction within 5 business days, we will escalate it to our Customer Disputes Resolution Team for review.

Step 3: If we can't agree, you can seek an independent review

If you are dissatisfied with our final decision, you can complain to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). What to do before you complain to AFCA

Find out more about how to complain to Budget Direct.

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