This year from June (2013), houseowners will need to pay special attention to the insurance renewal notices for their house insurance cover.
For a long time, New Zealanders have had 'replacement house insurance'. This means that we tell the insurance company the size of our house, and what it is constructed from, and the insurer agrees to 'build a replacement' if the house fits the policy conditions for demolition.
The Christchurch earthquake brought the viability of such policies into focus for the insurers. In other countries, houses are insured based on a 'replacement value' basis. This means that house owners work out how much it would cost to rebuild the house (including demolition costs) to the same standard, and insure their house to that level.
It will be quite a change for New Zealand house owners, and one that you need to put effort into. If you under-insure, you won't have enough money to rebuild your house if required. If your over-insure, you will only get the money to rebuild the house - if there is extra that you have been paying your premiums for, it won't be repaid to you.
For a standard house, insurers will have online calculators for you to use to work out the appropriate value of the house. However, if you have done any renovations, or if your house has non-standard fittings, it is strongly recommended that you pay a quantity surveyor to do the calculation for you.
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By Carey Church