Have you been affected by the recent Kaikoura earthquake events?
Are you wondering whether or how to make a claim?
Q: Should I lodge an earthquake claim with EQC?
A: If you suspect that your property (house, contents and land) has suffered damage, make a claim with EQC. Just because you can’t see any damage does not mean there isn’t any land or hidden or structural damage. It is a good idea to obtain evidence including taking photos and/or video footage of any damage and the house or land prior to making any urgent repairs or remediating any damage.
Q: Why do I need to make a claim with EQC?
A: EQC generally covers the first $100,00 of house claims and $20,000 of contents claims. You need to make separate claims for house and contents. Once a claim is made EQC will check and verify if you have private insurance cover.
Q: Is there a time limit to lodge claim with EQC?
A: Yes. Within 3 months from the date of the event (in this case, 14 November 2016) so you need to act promptly.
Q: Should I also make a claim with my insurer and if so when?
A: Yes. Contact EQC first, then your insurer, and provide them with your EQC Claim number. Some items may be covered by your private insurer and not EQC such as the surface of driveways and paths and some contents items. Your policy may require your claim to be lodged within a certain timeframe, so you should do this as soon as you can.
Q: What happens following making a claim with EQC?
A: EQC will send you a letter to acknowledge your claim (obtain this information). EQC will then assess the claim and decide if it is over or under the cap. The information will then be passed on to the settlement team who will work out your settlement. EQC will generally pay any funds directly to the bank if you have a mortgage. You do not need to accept the settlement in full and final settlement of your claim.
Q: What should I do if I dispute EQC’s assessment?
A: Inform them that you do not accept this in full and final settlement. In cases where there is significant damage we recommend obtaining a building report or a quantity surveyors report on the extent of the damage and the anticipated cost to repair or remediate any damage. If any emergency repairs are conducted, keep a record of the work done and keep copies of receipts of the costs incurred.
Q: What if I feel the settlement payment being offered is less than I am entitled to?
A: Do not feel you have to accept it, and certainly do not be pressured into this. Pause while you have the figures (and any costings, prices or quotations provided by the insurer) checked by someone else, such as a quantity surveyor.
The bottom line: If in doubt, make a claim. It is better to make a claim, and get written confirmation of your claim, than to end up in the position of the claim not being covered either by EQC or your insurer. If you anticipate any issues in lodging a claim or are concerned about it being declined, or being offered a lesser settlement than you expect, please contact us for legal advice.
Q: Should I make a claim with my insurance company for business interruption or property damage?
A: Yes, if you have business interruption insurance, or property insurance (known as “material damage” cover), make a claim. It is a good idea to obtain evidence of the damage (photos/video footage) and obtain a price or estimate of the costs to repair. Keep a record of the work conducted and copies of receipts of the costs incurred.
If you anticipate any issues in terms of lodging a claim or are concerned about it being declined, please contact us for advice.
Disclaimer: Please note that this is not legal advice and should not be relied on as such. Every fact situation is different and you should seek legal advice specific to your situation. Please contact us here.