Insurance, banking and financial hardship - disaster advice

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Consumer Affairs Victoria can help with insurance, banking and financial hardship issues in a disaster, such as a storm, flood, bushfire or earthquake.


If you have insurance, contact your insurer to lodge a claim before you start any major repairs. Your insurer will have a copy of your policy.

Take photos before cleaning up and make a list of everything that has been damaged.

It is important to lodge a claim, as it means:

  • your insurer must assess your claim and decide if you are covered
  • if you are not satisfied with the outcome you can seek a review through your insurer's internal dispute resolution system – the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has information about how to make a complaint.

If you are still not satisfied after making a formal complaint, you can visit the Australian Financial Complaints Authority website or call 1800 931 678.

Form more information about:

  • flood and storm damage insurance
  • claiming on home insurance.

visit the Storms, floods and fires page on the MoneySmart website.

Banking and loans

Banks, building societies and credit unions have financial hardship arrangements for people affected by disaster.

They also have dedicated numbers for affected customers to call:




1800 149 549

Bank Australia  13 28 88 

Bank of Melbourne

1300 020 266

Bank of Queensland

1800 079 866

Bendigo Bank

1300 652 146


13 24 84

Commonwealth Bank

1300 720 814

Credit Union Australia (CUA)

13 32 82

Heritage Bank

1800 222 030


1300 555 988


1300 349 166

MyState  13 80 01 


1800 701 599


1800 025 484


1800 225 223

St George

1800 629 795

Teachers Mutual Bank

13 12 21


1800 067 497

Applying for a hardship variation

If you are not able to negotiate a suitable arrangement with your credit provider, you have a legal right to seek a 'hardship variation'.

This is a formal process where you ask your credit provider to vary the terms of your loan contract.

You can ask your credit provider to vary your contract in one of the following ways:

  • postpone your repayments (with interest being added onto your loan)
  • allow you to make interest-only repayments for a period
  • extend your loan period (which means you will pay less in each repayment over a longer period of time, though more interest in the longer term).

After you apply for a hardship variation, the credit provider must respond to your request in writing within 21 days.

If your credit provider refuses your hardship application, it must give reasons.

If you think the reasons provided are unfair, you can complain to an independent dispute resolution scheme such as the Australian Financial Complaints Authority on 1800 931 678.

The National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 can provide more information about help available if you cannot pay your debts.

Other resources

Help in an emergency - Department of Human Services website or call 180 22 66

Insurance Council Australia website or call 1300 728 228

Australian Bankers’ Association website for information about what support the banks are offering

Australian Financial Complaints Authority website or call 1800 931 678

National Debt Helpline website or call 1800 007 007

Victoria Legal Aid website for free legal information about insurance and related issues or call 1300 792 387

Disaster Legal Help website for free legal advice, assistance and referrals for Victorians affected by disasters or call 1800 113 432.