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I need urgent financial assistance – can my insurance payout be fast tracked?

Yes. The General Insurance Code of Practice (“the Code”) says insurers must fast-track your claim if you are in urgent financial need. The Code sets out the guidelines that insurers need to follow when dealing with claims and complaints. You can find out more about the Code at the web site www.codeofpractice.com.au.

If you can demonstrate to the insurer that you are in urgent financial need of the benefits you are entitled to under your policy, clause 7.7 of the General Insurance Code of Practice requires the insurer to fast track the assessment
and decision making process for your claim.

The insurer must make an advance payment to help alleviate your immediate hardship within five business days of you demonstrating your urgent need.

Examples of urgent need include:

  • money for alternative accommodation
  • basic living requirements (ie a working fridge where you can access power)
  • urgent electrical repairs to ensure medical equipment can work.

Any advance payment will be taken off the total value of your claim. Talk to your insurer about your situation. If you cannot come to an agreement with your insurer, read the sections “When will my insurer advise if my claim is accepted?” and “My insurance claim has been refused — what are my options?” for information on your options.

What if I can’t pay my excess?

The excess is the amount you have agreed to pay (if any) if your insurance claim is successful.

If you are in financial difficulty, you may not be able to pay the excess. If this is the case, ask your insurer to take the excess out of any claim you are to be paid. Alternatively, you can ask to make payments by instalments. It is unreasonable for your insurer not to agree to do this. Your insurer cannot refuse your claim just because you cannot pay the excess up front.

If you think the insurer is being unreasonable—lodge a dispute about this issue with AFCA. Refer to the “Can’t pay excess” in sample letters.

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