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Why does EQC want to re-assess my damage?

Assessing earthquake damage can be complicated – especially in older homes.

EQC may undertake a further assessment of the damage to your home.

This may be for one of the following reasons:

  • An earlier assessment may have uncovered information suggesting that some damage may not be directly related to the earthquakes.
  • There may be disagreement between you and EQC over the amount of damage caused directly by an earthquake.
  • There may be disagreement between your private insurer and EQC about the extent or cost of damage.
  • There may be new reasons for assessing previously identified damage – eg, new requirements for foundation repairs in TC3.

Damage caused by natural causes

There are several types of damage that can happen to a home through natural causes, such as ground or building settling and thermal dynamics.

  • Natural settling of a building can be due to different types of soils underneath; shrinkage of plaster; old, inadequate or partly rotting piles; or simply the building’s age. Uneven floors are quite common in an older home, as are hairline cracks and movement of plasterboard.
  • Thermal dynamics is the natural movement of building materials because of temperature changes inside and outside. These movements can cause building materials to shrink or expand, leaving small gaps and cracks.

After an earthquake, when assessors visit to inspect the damage, these cracks and gaps are often noticed for the first time.

What the reassessment involves

A highly experienced, trade-qualified builder and an experienced assessor will be assigned to reassess your home.

On most occasions, a visual inspection is all that is needed to determine whether the damage was caused by an earthquake – although sometimes the building expert will need to use measuring tools and lasers to confirm their assumptions.

When an engineer's assessment is necessary

If the EQC re-assessment is at odds with your private insurer’s assessment of damage – or an independent engineer’s – we may ask EQC or Fletcher EQR engineers to visit and make an engineering assessment.

Information for EQC customers obtaining engineer reports

What to do if you don't agree

If you feel the engineer’s reassessment isn’t correct, you can make a complaint via our website or email complaints@eqc.govt.nz.

You'll receive acknowledgement of your complaint and our team will look into it and contact you to work through it.

If you're still not satisfied with the outcome, your options include going to the Ombudsman, or being invited to participate in EQC’s free mediation service.

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