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What to do after an earthquake

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Safety is the priority

  • Once the shaking stops check for injuries and hazards.
  • If you suspect your property has sustained structural damage, leave it immediately and contact the SES. Contact your insurer to see if your policy covers temporary housing expenses if required.
  • Take care as structural damage may be hidden.
  • Stay away from downed power lines, poles and wires, and fallen trees.
  • Contact your insurer as soon as you can to lodge a claim.
  • Speak to your insurer before you attempt or authorise any building work, including emergency repairs, and ask for the insurer’s permission in writing. Unauthorised work may not be covered by your policy.
  • As evidence to support your claim, take pictures of damage to property and possessions, and keep samples of materials from damaged goods. This will be used by your insurer to process your claim as quickly as possible.
  • Do not be concerned if you can’t find your insurance papers. Insurers have electronic records and need only your name and address.
  • Check gas, electrical, and water lines, and check appliances for damage.
  • You can remove and discard any damaged goods that may pose a health risk, but take photos or videos to show the assessor.
  • Keep any items that could be repaired and if in doubt speak to your insurer.

The 1989 magnitude 5.6 earthquake that impacted Newcastle, NSW, caused $4.244B  (normalised 2017)  in insurance losses. In June 2012, Moe in southern Victoria was struck by an earthquake that measured 5.4 on the Richter scale, fortunately causing little damage.

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