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Post Ex-Cyclone Fehi - Insurance Information

For EQC information please click on the following link.

And an advisory note from Insurance Council of New Zealand:

Insurance advisory: Temporary Accommodation

The Insurance Council of New Zealand advise people who have uninhabitable homes due to flood damage to contact their insurer directly for help with temporary accommodation.    

Most home policies as well as contents policies provide cover for temporary accommodation.  Each policy wording will differ so people should check with their insurer.

Key points from Home policies:

  • Contact your insurer first – they must agree
  • The home needs to be uninhabitable due to loss
  • Covers you and your domestic pets
  • The choice of temporary accommodation needs to be reasonable i.e. a similar standard to your existing house
  • It doesn’t cover additional costs such as travel, letting fees, utilities, meals, phone, internet
  • You are covered, even if the damage to house is under $100k EQC cap
  • Limit of cover will be to a dollar value – each policy is different, so check
  • Some insurers will pay you direct and others you’ll get reimbursed –  discuss with your insurer
  • Some policies will also cover you where your home is otherwise safe and sanitary, but you are prevented from accessing it by order or direction of government or local authorities
  • Reasonable moving or storage costs are covered 

To decide what counts as uninhabitable, insurers will assess on a case by case basis and are likely to ask questions such as: 

  • Is the home safe and structurally stable?
  • Has a Government/Local Authority issued instructions for you to vacate the home?
  • Is the home secure against theft and outside elements (e.g. watertight?)
  • Can the kitchen and bathroom be used?
  • Can people sleep in the home?
  • Is there water? Electricity? 

Key points from Contents policies 

  • If you are renting and only have Contents insurance, check with your insurer as most insurers will cover your temporary accommodation
  • The alternative accommodation benefit will likely still require you to contribute your normal rent towards the cost
  • Damage may need to be caused to your contents to be eligible for the temporary accommodation benefit
  • Insurers will also pay for the temporary storage of your contents – including removal and returns. 

Reasonable costs of emergency evacuation is also often covered in home and contents policies if the evacuation is due to safety concerns or other emergency and the police or a local authority has advised against you living in your house or you are unable to access your home.  This cover needs to be agreed in advance with your insurer.

Residential body corporates should contact their insurance broker, if they have one, or their insurance company directly. 

Recovering from Flood Damage

What your insurer is likely to do to reinstate your flood damaged property.

These guidelines are generally accepted by all local authorities in respect of residential property and home contents and the NZTA in respect of flood damaged motor vehicles.

Buildings [dwellings]

Where water has entered a building, then adequate drying of internal framing is important to reduce the risk of long-term damage.

Removal of drywall linings to the first dwang above the high water mark should be undertaken. Moisture-laden and contaminated insulation should be discarded and framing dried to a moisture limit of 18% [as confirmed using a calibrated moisture metre] before wall linings are reinstated.

It is important to reinstate sheet bracing elements as a complete element, ie bracing sections should not be sectioned. Attention needs to be paid to sheet brace fastening requirements.

Electrical installations should be checked by a licensed electrician before electricity is reinstated.

Micro-bacteria chemical agents should be used to prevent the formation of future bacterial/fungus growth due to contaminated water.

Buildings with suspended timber floors should have any insulation removed from the underside to allow adequate drying, and any debris build-up beneath the floor space removed to allow for adequate crawl space and air movement.

Check to make sure that sewerage and storm water drains still operate.

Building Contents

Soft, absorbent furnishings would need to be adequately cleaned, bearing in mind that sewage contamination is likely to be present. If furnishings can’t be adequately cleaned, then they should be disposed of.

Sanitary items, such as refrigerators and other home appliances, may need to be disposed of if they can’t be cleaned. Refrigerators and freezers are difficult because it’s possible the contaminated water may have soaked into insulation making disposal the safest outcome.

Motor Vehicles

Motor vehicles that have been flooded where water has entered the vehicle should be thoroughly inspected. Vehicles that have suffered water damage where electrical and safety systems have been immersed in water and are uneconomical to repair, should be deregistered before they are disposed of.

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