Beware of storm chasers

    RACQ warns Wide Bay residents to beware of disaster-chasers. Picture: Joanne Robertson.

    A warning comes after recent RACQ research revealed 70 per cent of Queenslanders were unaware of what constituted disaster-chaser activity.

    RACQ chief executive insurance Trent Sayers said disaster chasers typically presented themselves in a storm-impacted area and often targetted highly vulnerable people.

    “Disaster chasers, also known as ‘storm chasers’ or ‘claim farmers’, often door-knock owners of storm-damaged homes offering services for repair work and promising homeowners that their insurer would pay,” Mr Sayers said.

    “This can leave the homeowner liable to pay a commission or inflated repair bills not covered by their insurance policy.

    “Our survey revealed 13 per cent of Queenslanders have been contacted by a disaster-chaser in the past and four per cent have fallen victim to a disaster-chaser scam.

    “Disaster-chasers may even try to make their margins by cutting costs on quotes, which leads to poor quality repairs.

    “In most instances, if an uncertified builder has completed the work, the insurer is unable to offer a lifetime guarantee on the repair, meaning the member may not be covered if something goes wrong in the future.

    “You should always speak to your insurer before agreeing to any repairs or rebuilding work to make sure you will be covered.”

    Mr Sayers also reminded residents to prioritise their safety when inspecting damage after a storm.

    “When it comes to getting back to your property and starting the cleanup, the immediate priority is the safety of yourself and loved ones,” Mr Sayers said.

    “If you need urgent help call your local SES on 132 500, and if you see an electrical risk call Energex on 13 19 62.

    “You don’t need to wait for insurance assessors to start cleaning up your home.

    “Staying safe and removing potential hazards from your home is a priority. Making notes and taking photos of your belongings will make it easier to submit any claims.

    “If you need to lodge an insurance claim, you can do so online, the earlier we receive it the sooner we can assist.”

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