If your home has been damaged in a natural disaster, there are some things you'll want to do straight away.
Carry out urgent repairs
Urgent or ‘emergency’ repairs are work that’s needed to make your home safe, sanitary, secure and weathertight.
After a natural disaster, you should first do all that you can safely do yourself to make your home habitable and protect it from further damage.
- Get essential services like toilets and water systems repaired immediately, but you should keep, document or record everything the repairer replaces (and keep a copy of the bill).
- Clean up spillages of crockery and glass breakages (but you shouldn't throw anything non-perishable away yet).
- Dispose of perishables like ruined or spilt food. You should list the items as you dispose of them.
If possible, take photos before moving and repairing anything. Check our our Guide for Taking Photos to Support Your Claim.
Any reimbursement for temporary or urgent repairs is, of course, subject to EQC acceptance of a valid claim.
If accepted, the cost will be deducted from any total amount owed to you under EQCover.
Important: Don’t start permanent repairs until your EQC claim has been settled.
EQCover (the insurance provided by the EQC) requires householders to take reasonable steps after a natural disaster to preserve their insured property from more natural disaster damage.
This means that, if you’re able to, you should do things like:
- turning off the water or gas if it may be leaking
- boarding up broken windows
- putting tarpaulins over holes in the roof or walls.
You should only do these things if it is safe for you to do so.
Take photos beforehand (if you can), keep broken parts, and keep copies of invoices from tradespeople.
Make a claim
If you’ve suffered damage in a natural disaster, you should lodge a claim with EQC as soon as possible.
Claims must be made within 3 months from the date your home, contents or land were damaged by the natural disaster.
If you’re staying in your home, you'll probably want to clean up spillages and breakages straight away.
To help the EQC assessor estimate your damage later on, you should try to:
- take photographs of the damage before you start cleaning up
- keep all your damaged goods and parts, except for perishable items (eg, food from a broken freezer or that has been spilt)
- make a list of your perishables – and take photos – before you dispose of them.
Make sure you dispose of perishable items safely.
Please note: Some processes have been varied for people affected by the Canterbury earthquakes. If you’re one of those people, please also see the Canterbury section.