Last updated: 23 January 2020

AFCA Bushfire Support Line: 1800 337 444

AFCA has dedicated support available for individual and small businesses impacted by the ongoing 2019–20 Australian bushfires.

Information about the different stages of the financial recovery process is below:

If you have been affected by the bushfires:

  • Lodge a claim directly with your insurer or insurance broker
  • If you are unable to contact your insurer or insurance broker or are unhappy with their response, you can lodge a complaint with AFCA
  • If you are not happy with the outcome of your claim, delays with the claim, the proposed settlement or the service you have received, lodge a complaint with AFCA
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Understanding AFCA’s role

Once you’re safe and the emergency has passed, the first step is to contact your insurance company or financial provider.

If you find yourself in a dispute with your insurer or financial provider about your claim or request for assistance AFCA can help to resolve it. We have special processes that identify and fast-track complaints from people in impacted communities, so we can assist you to resolve any complaints with your financial firm as quickly as possible.

AFCA’s role is to help you to reach an agreement with your financial firm about how to resolve a complaint you have about them. We are impartial and independent, and we can award compensation for loss you have suffered because of a financial firm’s actions.  Our decisions are legally binding.

Making an insurance claim

If you need to make a claim on your home and contents, travel, small business or other insurance policy, the first step is to contact your insurer to make a claim. If you run into problems during the claim process that you can’t resolve directly with them, you can contact AFCA.

More information about making a complaint to AFCA about insurance

What to do
  1. Make sure you’re safe
  2. When it’s safe to return, take photos or make notes on the damage
  3. Contact your insurance company
  4. If you’re not happy with their response, you can contact AFCA for help

 

Getting help for financial difficulty

If you’re having difficulty accessing your cash, have lost your credit cards or can’t make your loan repayments, contact your bank or financial service provider. They can generally provide you with help when you’re experiencing hardship. 

More information on natural disasters and financial hardship can be found in this fact sheet.

What to do
  1. Contact your bank or financial service provider
  2. Explain your situation and the assistance you’re asking for
  3. If your request is denied, you can contact AFCA for help

If you continue to experience financial difficulty after the initial crisis has passed and after the financial firm has already provided initial assistance, you can speak to your financial firm again, or contact AFCA.

Support for small businesses and primary producers

If you’ve lost your business or can’t work in your business due to disaster, or you’re a primary producer who has been impacted, you should contact your financial providers as soon as possible to let them know your situation.

Whether a financial firm can assist a small business or primary producer in financial difficulty will depend on the circumstances. However, AFCA expects that a financial firm will give any request for assistance genuine consideration.

What to do
  1. Contact your bank or financial service provider
  2. Explain your situation and the assistance you’re asking for
  3. If your request is denied, you can contact AFCA for help

 

Other help is available

Financial assistance from the government
Financial assistance from the government
Financial counsellors

If you’re struggling financially after this disaster, there are free financial counselling services you can contact for help. This is a free service offered by community organisations, community legal centres and some government agencies.

 

Other places to get help and emergency relief

Beyond Blue

If you need help dealing with the emotional impact of a bushfire, there are resources available through Beyond Blue. This organisation provides mental health resources and support services to all Australians.