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How you can reduce natural disaster paperwork pain

The recent bushfires have affected many and while that threat continues, the looming storm season could also have a significant impact on Queenslanders’ lives.

Legal Aid Queensland’s Consumer Advocate Paul Holmes said there were several things people can do to lessen the red-tape pain further down the track.

“Firstly, I’d suggest you check your insurance is fully paid and kept up to date – this includes your car, home and contents insurance,” he said. “Even if you don’t think you have anything worth insuring, the cost to replace everything is far greater than many people expect.”

“I would also suggest everyone has a good look at their insurance, check what it covers you for, and whether it covers you for extreme weather events such as cyclones, fires or flooding.

“If you’re considering transferring to cheaper insurance, make sure the cover is at least as good if not better than what you’ve got.”

Mr Holmes said anyone who has moved within the last 12 months should check their insurer has their updated address and contact details.

“When it comes to dealing with your insurer or potential insurer, no question is a silly one, and ask lots of questions if you’re unsure about anything – basically keep asking questions until you have your answer,” he said.

“It’s also important to check your yard or property for all potential hazards, like trees, trampolines or garden sheds which could cause you or your neighbours damage.

“Be aware of things that could be an issue and have a plan to either secure them when the time comes or maintain them to prevent them from becoming a danger.”

Mr Holmes said his final tip for Queenslanders is to gather all important documents together, like passports, birth certificates and insurance policies so they can be collected quickly and easily in the event of an emergency.

“Navigating insurance claims can be downright painful without the right paperwork, so making sure you have copies of all this information at hand will reduce stress during a potentially traumatic time.”

For free natural disaster legal help information and advice call 1300 004 924 or go to http://www.legalaid.qld.gov.au/Natural-disaster-legal-help

Media contact:

Amanda Catania Ph: (07) 3917 0407 or Caroline Page Ph: 3917 0407

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