EQC – Earthquake Commission is relevant to all New Zealanders irrespective of where we live. It's managed under its own NZ Government Act being the Earthquake Commission (EQC) Act.
Following lessons learned from recent events and issues identified by the Ombudsman, Office of the Auditor-General and the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission, changes are being made that will affect all New Zealanders who hold a current house or contents insurance policy.
There are important changes you need to familiarise yourself with and these take effect from 1st July 2019. You’ll notice these when you either renew your existing policies or take out new ones.
We’ve summarised four of the main changes here: (1) The EQC cover for domestic houses is being increased from $100,000 + GST up to $150,000 + GST. Your insurer will continue to pay the difference between the EQC cap and your total Sum Insured. Unfortunately the EQC Levy will also increase at the same time, from $200 + GST up to $300 + GST per year.
(2) EQC is removing the $20,000 + GST Household Contents cover entirely. This means their current $40 + GST per annum will no longer be applied and your Household Contents insurer will provide full cover themselves, without contribution from EQC.
(3) The current 90 Day timeframe for lodging EQC claims has been extended to Two Years. We still recommend that claims are lodged as early as possible, so that the claim can be attributed to a specific event. Delaying lodgement may make proving the event or damage more difficult.
(4) There is wider scope for the EQC to share property-related information to help settle insurance claims. This makes it easier to collect and review details about costs of replacing or reinstating damaged property, what repair work has been carried out and settlement amounts paid. EQC is, however, still bound by the provisions and protections under the Privacy Act.
Other lesser changes will also come into effect – you can review these on the EQC website by following this link www.eqc.govt.nz
The EQC changes will be reflected in your policy renewal regardless of your insurer and phased in over 12months from 1 July 2019 on your renewal date. The changes are also included in new policies from 1 July 2019.
So...What do you do?
Please look at your current house and contents policies and check your Sums Insured!
Have you updated your home by adding an HRV system, installing an Archgola or putting in a pool? Have you bought anything of high value in the previous year such as eBikes, drones, jewellery or electronics that may warrant increasing the overall value of your contents cover?
Please let us know at any stage if you wish to update your policy coverage – you don’t need to wait until your renewal date!
If this article raises any questions, simply contact us and we will refer you to Bridges Insurances by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org