Natural disasters and your insurance

We can’t predict natural disasters, but we can prepare for them. 

New Zealand has experienced more than 150 severe weather events and natural disasters since the Insurance Council of New Zealand began keeping records in 1968. Natural disasters and hazards have cost New Zealanders millions of dollars over the years. 

Fortunately, New Zealand property is extremely well insured compared to other countries, which means the insurance industry bears most of the costs when disaster strikes. 

The Earthquake Commission 

The Earthquake Commission (EQC) is a New Zealand Crown entity that invests in natural disaster research, education and insurance. 

In the event of an earthquake, volcanic eruption, natural landslip, tsunami or hydrothermal activity, EQC primarily provides natural disaster insurance for residential homes and some of the land within defined limits.  

This insurance is called EQCover and you need to have home insurance to access it. 

House Insurance and EQCover 

Don’t leave the coverage of your home and contents to chance, make sure the things that matter the most are covered. If you’re hit by a natural disaster and you have a home insurance policy, you’ll also have cover through EQCover.  

However, certain items fall outside of EQCover, like boats, trailers and trees. Make sure you understand your EQCover and find out what your insurance policy covers, as well as its exclusions. 

Your insurance documents include the policy wording as well as your policy schedule. If a disaster strikes, you’ll want to be able to get to these documents quickly and easily. Store physical and digital copies somewhere safe (digital copies might be saved to your computer, a memory stick, a ‘cloud’ storage service or all three locations. 

Business Insurance and EQCover? 

Whether you’re a small business owner or a Body Corporate, commercial property insurance can be complex, especially with regard to natural disasters. 

Generally, EQCover does not provide cover for commercial buildings. However, if you have a mixed-usage property (residential and business), you will need to check your policy to see whether EQC coverage applies. 

If a disaster should strike, you should immediately: 

  • Take photos of all damage (including any spoiled freezer / fridge contents) 
  • Arrange emergency repairs and secure your premises  
  • Remove water damaged property (the sooner it is out the drier your premises will be) 
  • Seek engineer advice on the structural integrity of your building, and get clearance 
  • Take account of lost business, lost production, staff wagesetc. 
  • Report claims for business or commercial property damage via your claims team. 

Do not throw property away (unless it is perishablein which case take photos and notes). In most cases, an assessor will need to look at your property and confirm what repairs and replacements are needed. 

How can we help? 

Insurance around natural disasters can seem complex and may require developing a layered structure, especially with regard to business insurance.  

At Wayne Grayson & Associates, we believe an informed insurance decision is the right one. Whether you’re after a business or personal insurance, our expert brokers will ensure your insurance is the right fit for you. 

Contact one of our Auckland-based insurance brokers for advice on the best solution to suit you or your organisation. 

Back to Blog