The General Insurance
Code of Practice
View Online Download the PDF

 

Financial Hardship

Information in this section provides an overview of the financial hardship provisions in the Code. It is recommended that anyone seeking financial hardship assistance reviews the Financial Hardship section in the Code (Section 8) for full details.

"Financial Hardship" means you are having difficulty meeting your financial obligations to an insurer.

For example, you may owe money to an insurer if you have made a claim and need to pay an excess, or if you caused a car accident while uninsured and the insurer of the other car is seeking payment for the damage from you.

You could be experiencing Financial Hardship because you have lost your job, or you’re suffering from an illness or disability, or you have received some unexpectedly large bills.

If you owe money to a general insurer and you are experiencing Financial Hardship, you can ask an insurer to assess whether you are entitled to assistance.

PLEASE NOTE: The Financial Hardship provisions in the Code of Practice do not apply to unpaid general insurance premiums.

If an insurer determines that you are entitled to financial hardship assistance for a debt owed, it will work with you on a payment arrangement, such as extending the due date for payment, paying the amount in instalments, or paying a reduced lump sum.

For more information

An insurer can provide you with more information about its Financial Hardship process, including an application form for assistance, and information about its Privacy Policy relating to the use and disclosure of your information.  Contact the insurer to request a Financial Hardship application form, and for details on where to send your application.

Free, confidential, independent financial advice is also available to you, via Financial Counselling Australia http://www.financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au and through the national financial counselling hotline 1800 007 007.

The following information will be of use to an insurer in assessing your request for Financial Hardship assistance:

Personal Details [These details are required for your application]

  • Policy Number / Claim Number / Reference Number / Identifier (as applicable to your application)
  • Name of insurer
  • Your Name
  • Your Address and Contact Details
  • Marital Status
  • No. and age of dependants
  • Occupation
  • Employment status (full-time, part-time, self-employed, unemployed)
  • Employer
  • If you would like to nominate a representative to handle your application on your behalf, include their details as well

Financial Details

A. Income you receive per fortnight 

     If any of the income you receive is paid monthly, please calculate what it is per fortnight and list below

  • Wages after tax
  • Centrelink benefits (Family Allowance, Jobstart or other)
  • Rent received
  • Child maintenance/support
  • Other

     Total income per fortnight (A)

B. Expenses you pay per fortnight 

     If you make any monthly payments, please calculate what these payments are per fortnight and list below

  • Rent and/or mortgage payments
  • Other loan payments
  • Credit card payments
  • Child support payments
  • Motor vehicle expenses (petrol, insurance, lease payments)
  • Living costs (food, public transport, telephone etc)
  • Hospital/medical expenses
  • Other

     Total expenses per fortnight (B)

C TOTAL INCOME – TOTAL EXPENSES PER FORTNIGHT (A – B)

Financial Hardship

Please provide a description of your financial circumstances and your situation with the insurer, and why you are requesting assistance for Financial Hardship.

The following documents may assist your application, if they are relevant to your application and you choose to attach them:

PLEASE NOTEIf any of the documents you provide to the insurer contain your Tax File Number (TFN), please blank this out.

  • Bank statements
  • Centrelink statements
  • Payslips
  • Letter from doctor confirming inability to earn income due to disability, injury, illness or caring for sick family member
  • Overdue medical bills/medical expenses
  • Bank notice re: unpaid overdraft or repossession of mortgaged property 
  • Eviction notice
  • Copies of unexpected bills/payments
  • Pending disconnection of essential services
  • Letter from former employer confirming loss of employment
  • Letter from charitable organisation re loss of employment or inability to provide for basic necessities
  • Repossession notice of essential items, eg car, motorcycle
  • Funeral expenses
  • Notice of impending legal action

Assistance

What assistance would you like the insurer to consider?

  • Extension of due date for payment. When will you be able to make payment?
  • Paying in instalments. What can you afford and when?
  • Paying a reduced lump sum. What can you afford?
  • Postponing one or more instalments. When will you be able to make payment?
  • Other (including a combination of the above options). Please provide details of what you are seeking
  • While you are not automatically entitled to a release, discharge or waiver of a debt, you may ask the insurer to consider this option

Complaints

If you are unable to reach an agreement with an insurer about Financial Hardship assistance, or if you are unhappy with any aspect of the application process, you may make a complaint to the insurer.

The insurer will make available to you information about the complaints process.  

More information can also be found at http://codeofpractice.com.au/for-consumers/how-to-make-a-complaint