Opting out

Properties with earthquake damage and a repair cost of more than $15,000 (+GST) but less than the EQC cap (usually $100,000 +GST per event) are usually referred to EQC’s Canterbury Home Repair Programme.

Choosing to opt out

You can choose to ‘opt out’ of the Canterbury Home Repair Programme and manage repairs yourself – using your EQC settlement to fund your repair process.

What does opting out involve?

Opting out means your repairs will no longer be managed by Fletcher EQR. Opting out allows you to:

  • choose your own contractor to undertake repairs

  • control the time when your repairs will be undertaken

  • have the opportunity to renovate your home or undertake additional work (at your own cost), at the same time as having your earthquake damage repaired.

EQC will pay your claim settlement amount either directly to you or your mortgage lender within 10 weeks from when we provide you an EQC assessment of damage (Scope of Works - SOW). If you have a mortgage registered against the certificate of title for your property you will need to liaise with your bank to understand the process for accessing your claim settlement payment to pay for your repairs. To protect yourself from the impacts of inflation, once your claim payment has been made we recommend that you proceed with your repairs promptly.

Taking responsibility for managing all of your repairs is a decision that needs to be made carefully. Taking over the role of project manager from Fletcher EQR means you’ll need to ensure you have all the necessary building consents and oversee all aspects of the repair of your house. You'll also need to manage any disputes with contractors, should they arise, as well as how you will pay the contractor throughout the repair process. 

The opting out process

If you decide to opt out:

  1. Complete and sign the request to opt out of EQC-managed repair form (included in the opting out guide)

  2. Post a hard copy of the form OR email a scanned copy of the form to us.

Post hard copy form to:

Earthquake Commission
Opt Out of EQR
PO Box 34027
Fendalton
Christchurch 8540

Email scanned form to:  optout@eqc.govt.nz

  1. We’ll contact you within 15 working days to acknowledge receipt of your form. If possible, at this time, we will confirm your eligibility.  Or if further information is required we will contact you to discuss

How it works

If you are eligible for the opt out process we will organise a time with you to visit on-site to finalise the scope of repairs at your home.  The EQC team will assess all the earthquake damage to your building and complete a Scope of Works. The assessment team will also answer any questions you have about the process. We recommend that if you have engaged a contractor or have a contractor in mind for your repairs that they attend onsite with you during the assessment.

During the assessment visit, the team will discuss what’s in the repair scope and the repair strategy. After the assessment of your property’s earthquake damage, EQC estimators will cost the damage.  Estimators operate from an approved EQC cost database which contains a range of proven repair strategies and rates derived from the New Zealand market and building industry pricing.

Once the Scope of Works is finalised, we will then send you a Settlement Statement.

Your Settlement Statement will set out:

  • The total settlement amount for earthquake damage to your building

  • Any amounts already paid including urgent repairs

  • Deductions for excess from your claim entitlement

  • The ‘Scope of Works’ document detailing the identified earthquake damage to your building.

EQC’s assessment of the cost of repairing the earthquake damage to your property includes sufficient allowance that should enable you to employ a contractor to manage earthquake repairs on your behalf.

We recommend that you do not authorise or start any repairs until you receive your EQC settlement payment for damage to your building.

Your settlement amount

We will telephone you to discuss your settlement statement within a few days of us sending it to you.

Our repair methods and costings are well proven through our repair of more than 50,000 houses to date under the Canterbury Home Repair Programme.  However, you need to contact EQC if you consider:

  • the Scope of Works does not include all identified earthquake damage insured by EQC; and/or

  • the actual cost of repair will be more than EQC’s assessment of the cost to repair.

You can do this by emailing optout@eqc.govt.nz or calling EQC on 0800 DAMAGE (326 243).

Payment

Previously, EQC customers who opted out of CHRP have had their invoices paid by EQC as repairs progressed.  EQC payments were made on receipt of invoices for repairs. Now, customers who decide to opt out of CHRP will receive their full settlement entitlement upfront. EQC will pay your claim settlement amount either directly to you or your mortgage lender within 10 weeks from when we provide you an EQC assessment of damage (Scope of Works - SOW).  

If you have a mortgage or have not discharged your mortgage, you will need to liaise with your bank to understand the process for accessing your claim settlement payment to pay for your repairs.

What to do if you find further damage

You will pay the difference if the completed work costs more than the EQC assessed value of the work. However, if further earthquake damage is discovered during the repair process you must notify EQC immediately and consider how you will proceed with your repairs.  You may be required to provide EQC with additional information about the damage that has been identified.  EQC, may make an additional payment to cover the additional costs (to the extent it is liable under the Earthquake Commission Act 1993), after determining that the damage was caused by earthquake.

Useful information

If you decide to opt out of the Canterbury Home Repair Programme, you'll find useful information on hiring competent building contractors on the Building and Housing website (formerly 'The Department of Building and Housing').

Page last updated: 24 Feb 2014

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