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Insurance advice for flood-affected homeowners after Cyclone Gabrielle

10 March 2023
by Canterbury Legal

In the weeks since the Cyclone Gabrielle and the devastating floods in the North Island, residents are still coming to grips with the enormity of the event. It is, however, encouraging to see people starting to look forward and think about the way ahead.

Part of that, of course, is insurance, which should be there to protect us against catastrophes such as what happened in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle.

So if you have insurance for your house, contents, car, farm or business, what should you do?

1. Start with your policy

That’s the record of what you are covered for. Don’t take for granted what you’re told should be covered, or take your insurance company’s word for what is covered. Read your policy. If yours is lost or destroyed, you can ask for a copy. You might be surprised at what cover you have. For instance:

  • Stress benefit of up to $10,000 when the house is destroyed;
  • Cover for temporary accommodation;
  • Cover for your accommodation costs for your pets;
  • A cash benefit if someone has died in the house;
  • Temporary storage costs for your contents; and
  • Rental car costs in a car policy.

You should also check for add-ons, as it's unlikely your insurance company will point them out to you.

2. Don't be afraid to ask for a cash advance

If you are in a dire financial situation, don't be afraid to ask whether the insurance company might give you a cash advance in part of your claim entitlement. If the insurance company is satisfied your home is a write-off, it may pay an upfront amount for immediate needs.

3. Rental properties may have cover for loss of rent

If you have a rental property, it’s likely there will be cover for loss of rent.  If the house is a total loss, you could ask for this to be paid out straight away.

4. Record items before you throw them out

When starting the clean up process, make sure you do not preemptively throw everything out. Your insurance company may want to see property before paying out, so at least try and make detailed records of what you throw out, and photograph valuables. Contact your insurance company first and do not rush to throw everything away.

5. Keep records of your contact with your insurance company

When speaking to a claims handler, make a note of the person’s first and last name, date and details of the call. That way if there is any dispute about what was said, you have a date, time and name to refer to.

Our team here at Canterbury Legal has significant experience dealing with EQC and insurance claims. We've helped hundreds of homeowners to successful resolutions with theirs. So get in touch for a free, no-obligation consultation with our insurance experts.

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