Earthquake Claims

With our expertise in insurance and construction law we are well placed to handle claims that arise out of the Canterbury earthquakes.

Dedicated to getting results for Cantabrians

We have been actively involved in insurance claims in Canterbury since 2011, achieving a number of positive settlements for our clients in claims involving EQC, multiple dwellings, mixed use dwellings, and professional negligence.

We understand the financial and emotional stress that insurance disputes can bring, and won’t offer you any false hope or promises. What we will do is give you an honest and objective assessment based on our unique expertise and dedication to obtaining the best results at a cost-effective price.

Earthquake Claims: FAQs

What am I entitled to claim under my home insurance policy?

Your entitlement is governed by the terms of your insurance policy. Your insurer should provide you with a policy wording and a policy schedule, which will set out the terms of the contract between you and the insurer – including your entitlements.There are two main types of home insurance policies in New Zealand:

  • Sum insured policies: these policies have a capped maximum entitlement which means that the maximum amount you can recover is set at the time you enter into the policy
  • Full replacement cover: these policies are not limited to a set amount, but provide cover for the full amount required replace or repair your dwelling to the standard set out in the policy.

Your insurance policy will also set out the type of repairs you are entitled to if your dwelling is damaged. The repairs are most often either:

  • To an as new standard; or
  • To the condition the dwelling was in immediately prior to the event/damage (commonly called the indemnity value).

My insurance company has declined my claim because of a non-disclosure. What are my rights?

An insurance company can, in certain circumstances, decline cover and/or cancel an insurance policy for non-disclosure by the insured party. The non-disclosure however has to relate to the specific loss claimed under the policy, and be a fact/circumstance that would have affected the insurer’s decision to offer the insurance for that loss had it known about the fact/circumstance.If you have had a claim refused on the grounds of a non-disclosure we recommend you seek legal advice immediately. Get in touch with our team.

How does EQC affect my insurance claim?

Most insurance policies in New Zealand act to top up claims which exceed the amount of cover provided by EQC ($115,000 including GST).This means if your claim exceeds the EQC maximum of $115,000, EQC will pay the first $115,000 of your claim and your insurer will generally have responsibility for the remainder of your total loss.In most instances, you will need to have EQC confirm that your loss is greater than EQC’s cover (or, “over cap”) before your insurance company will process and/or settle your claim.

How can I dispute a decision of my insurance company?

There are a number of ways to dispute a decision of your insurance company, including:

  • By writing to your insurance company
  • Using your insurance company’s internal complaints process (details are usually provided on the insurance company’s website)
  • Using the free and independent complaint investigator the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman
  • Through the New Zealand Courts.

How can I dispute a decision of EQC?

There are a number of ways to dispute a decision of your insurance company:

  • By using EQC’s internal complaints process (online complaints can be made here);
  • By using the free and independent complaint investigator the Office of the Ombudsman (http://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz);
  • Through the New Zealand Courts.

EQC and my insurance company cannot agree on what is required to repair my dwelling. What can I do?

  • It is possible to request a “joint review”. This is a process where your insurance company and EQC will meet to discuss your claim and try to agree on the scope of repair to the dwelling.
  • If a joint review does not resolve the dispute then it may be necessary to commence court proceedings against both EQC and your insurance company to prove that they both should respond to the loss you have suffered.

What is the standard of repair that I am entitled to under my insurance policy?

This will be determined by the terms of your insurance policy, but is usually either:

  • To an as new standard; or
  • To the condition the dwelling was in immediately prior to the event/damage (commonly called the indemnity value).

Some policies will have a capped maximum entitlement (usually set out in the policy schedule). If you have a policy with a capped maximum entitlement, then you may not be able to recover more than that amount for one event or during one policy period. Again, this will depend on the terms of your policy.

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