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About EQCover

At EQC Toka Tū Ake we provide natural hazards insurance, called EQCover, to insured homeowners to help rebuild or repair your home if it is damaged by a natural disaster. Find out how to make a claim, what's covered, and how much you're covered for.


Understand your insurance cover

You have EQCover if you have a home insurance policy that includes fire insurance (and most do). The premium you pay your insurer includes the EQC levy, which gives you access to this natural hazards insurance.

If your property is damaged by a natural disaster, we can provide the first layer of insurance for your home and cover for some of your residential land. It’s important to understand what is and isn’t covered by us, and also by your insurer.

This page provides a general summary of EQCover and does not replace the EQC Act requirements. The words natural hazard and disaster are used interchangeably on our website, and have the same meaning.

The limits of EQCover are set out in the Earthquake Commission Act 1993 (EQC Act). Please refer to the EQC Act for more detail about what you are entitled to with EQCover.

In the event your home is damaged by a natural hazard event, please contact your insurer to make a claim. They will assess and manage your claim from start to finish, including the EQCover portion on our behalf. Your insurer will be your single point of contact during the claim process and can answer any questions you have.

If your insurer does not partner with us, or you are a Direct EQCover customer please use our web form to get in contact.

Read more about making a new claim or managing an existing claim. 

New Zealand’s geography and location make us prone to a range of natural hazards. EQCover insures you against loss or damage from:

  • earthquake
  • natural landslip (also known as a landslide)
  • volcanic eruption
  • hydrothermal activity
  • tsunami
  • storm or flood (land cover only)
  • fire caused by any of the natural hazards listed above.

Read more about cover for storms, floods and landslides.

The premium you pay your insurer for home insurance automatically includes the EQC levy. This is what you pay for access to EQCover. The maximum levy is currently $480 plus GST per year.

Cover for your home

For damage from a natural hazard event, we provide cover for your home, and for some separate buildings such as sheds and garages.

  • your home or holiday home
  • separate buildings that you use as part of your day-to-day living (for example, sheds or garages)
  • services that are connected to your home and you own, such as water, drainage, sewerage, gas, underground electricity and telephone lines, up to 60 metres from your home.
  • any building that did not have a valid home insurance policy that included fire, at the time of the natural disaster
  • ‘consequential’ losses that might happen after the disaster, such as theft or vandalism
  • the cost of staying somewhere else temporarily.

We will sometimes refer to a home or holiday home as a dwelling, which is the word used in the EQC Act. A dwelling is defined as any residential premises that is:

  • self-contained, and
  • either used as a home or holiday home, or
  • capable of being used and intended to be used as a home or holiday home.

A dwelling can be a stand-alone house, or in a group of flat, units or apartments.

For each natural disaster that happens, there is a maximum that we can pay towards rebuilding or repairing your home. This maximum amount is called the building cap and is generally $300,000 plus GST. Any cover over this amount is provided by your private insurance policy.

Your total payment amount (your settlement) will be based on the replacement value of your home. Replacement value is the cost to repair or replace your home to a standard that is similar to when it was new. Refer to the EQC Act for a full definition of replacement value.

However, the maximum settlement amount that you can be paid is set out in your private insurance policy. It’s important to regularly check that the amount your home is insured for in your private insurance policy is enough to rebuild.

If your home was damaged by a natural disaster before 1 October 2022, the building cap that applies to your claim will be lower than $300,000 plus GST. Regardless of what building cap applies to your claim, any cover over this amount is provided by your private insurance policy.

If you own a building, or part of a building that has more than one home or apartment in it, you can get EQCover for each of those homes. It’s important to tell your insurer how many homes are in your building, to make sure you have the correct amount of insurance, and EQCover for each home.

Cover for your land

New Zealand is one of the few countries in the world to have natural disaster insurance that covers residential land. EQCover is the only land insurance that is available in New Zealand, and you can’t buy additional cover for land through your insurer.

EQCover provides limited cover for certain areas of land under and around your home. This includes limited cover for bridges and culverts that are within these parts of your land, and limited cover for retaining walls.

We do not provide insurance for bare land without an insured home on it.

Insurers may provide extra cover for some parts of your property like your driveway surfaces, retaining walls and landscaping. Please talk to your insurer about what is included in your policy.

The land cover that we offer is limited. It’s important that you know which parts of your land are included, and what is not covered.

  • under your home
  • under certain insured separate buildings, such as sheds or garages
  • within 8 metres of your home and insured separate buildings
  • under or supporting your main access way, for example under your driveway, up to 60 metres from your home.

Any land outside of these areas is not insured.

We can only cover land that is inside your property boundaries shown on the record of title, or where you have a legal right to cross or use someone else’s land for a specified purpose, such as a right-of-way easement for a driveway on your neighbour’s land.

We provide limited cover for:

  • bridges and culverts that are located within your insured areas of land.
  • some retaining walls that support or protect your home, separate buildings, and insured land, if they are within 60 meters of your home.
  • driveway surfacing
  • paving or other artificial surfaces
  • trees and gardens
  • landscaping, such as non-structural retaining walls or fences
  • council land such as parks or reserves.

To better understand the parts of your property that are not covered, go to What EQCover doesn’t cover.

If your land has been damaged by a storm or flood, we can contribute to the cost of cleaning up the insured parts of your land, as a part of your settlement. This can include the cost of removing silt and debris, and repairing land scour.

Cover for storms, floods and landslides

If you are affected by damage to neighbouring or shared land, such as a shared driveway, please contact your insurer first. Then you can work with your neighbours to repair the damage or make the land safer.

You are covered for the cost of repairing damage up to the value of your insured damaged land. If the cost of repairing the damaged land is more than the value of that land, settlement will be based on the market value of the portion of land that was damaged. This is the maximum amount that we can pay and is also called the land cap.

The land cap is calculated by adding:

  • the market value of the parts of your insured land that have been damaged or lost, and
  • the indemnity value of any damaged or lost insured retaining walls, bridges and culverts.

Market value of land

When calculating the maximum amount that you can be paid (the land cap), we use the market value of your land. Market value is its estimated value on the day the damage happened. An independent valuer will base the market value of your land on whichever is the smaller of:

  • the size of the insured land that was lost or damaged, or
  • an area of land equal to the minimum size for a building site that is allowed under the District Plan where you live (if there is one).

For large areas of land such as lifestyle blocks, the maximum amount of insured land that will be considered to decide market value is 4,000 square metres.

Value of retaining walls, bridges and culverts

When calculating the land cap, we use the indemnity value of any retaining walls, bridges and culverts.

Indemnity value means how much something would cost to replace, after making deductions to allow for its age and condition. The indemnity value of retaining walls, bridges and culverts is usually less than what it would cost to replace them with new ones.

If it is determined that all or part of the insured land can’t be repaired, or it is not feasible to repair, some or all of your settlement might be decided by diminution of value. Diminution of value compares the value of your land before it was damaged to its value after it was damaged. We may pay the difference, up to the land cap as part of your settlement.

Excess for EQCover claims

If your claim is accepted, you pay a small part of the cost. This is called the excess, and it is taken from your settlement amount before that is paid to you.

There is a separate excess for building claims and land claims. If your claim is for both your home and land, both will be deducted.

If the cost of replacing or repairing your property is less than the excess, then no settlement payment will be made. You will need to meet the cost of repairing the natural disaster damage yourself.

The excess for a building claim is 1% of the total settlement amount, with a minimum of $200 per insured home to a maximum of $3,450.

The excess for a land claim is 10% of the total settlement amount, with a minimum of $500 per insured home, to a maximum of $5,000.

What isn’t covered

We don’t cover any building that did not have a valid home insurance policy that included fire, at the time of the natural disaster.

After a disaster we don’t cover ‘consequential’ losses that might happen, such as theft or vandalism, or the cost of staying somewhere else temporarily.

We also don’t provide cover for the property items listed below, but your insurer might. Please talk to your insurer to find out what is included in your policy.

  • driveway surfacing
  • paving or other artificial surfaces
  • trees, gardens and lawns
  • landscaping (non-structural walls)
  • roads, streets, drives or paths (other than the insured land under your main access way)
  • tennis courts
  • jetties, wharves or landings
  • growing crops (including fruit trees and vines) or cut crops in the open fields
  • animals, including livestock and pets
  • motor vehicles or the parts or accessories of motor vehicles
  • trailers or the parts or accessories of trailers
  • boats or other vessels or the parts or accessories of boats or vessels
  • aircraft or anything in or on an aircraft
  • explosives
  • the contents of your home
  • intangible property (for example, information stored on a computer).

In certain situations – for example, if they are built into your home and not easily removed, these items may be covered:

  • drains, channels, tunnels or cuttings
  • dams, breakwaters, fences or poles
  • reservoirs, swimming pools, baths, spa pools, tanks or water towers.

For more information refer to the EQC Act.

Section notices can affect your cover

In certain circumstances a notice may be put on a property's record of title under section 72 of the Building Act 2004 (called a section 74 notice) or section 28 of the Earthquake Commission Act 1993. These notices can affect the homeowners access to cover, or the outcome of any EQCover claims.

A section 74 notice on a property’s record of title can affect claims for natural hazard damage. This notice is intended to make anyone with an interest in the property, such as potential buyers, banks, lenders and insurers, aware that the property is known to be affected by or at risk of natural hazards, as well as specifying what that hazard is. If a claim is made for damage that was caused by the same type of natural hazard (or hazards) that is specified on in the section 74 notice, EQC Toka Tū Ake have the right to fully or partly decline that claim.

Read more about section 74 notices

There are some specific situations that could lead to EQC Toka Tū Ake limiting or cancelling your EQCover after cash settling a claim.

In these situations, we will first ask to see that progress is being made with repairing or replacing the property. If we are not satisfied with progress, we will notify the homeowner of our decision to limit or cancel cover in writing.  EQCover for the property is either limited or cancelled from the time of the written notice. We will then ask the Registrar-General of Land to place a section 28 notice on the property’s record of title. We can only remove this notice if the homeowner provides us with evidence of work being done, and we are satisfied with the repairs or replacement of the property. 

Read more about section 28 notices 

Direct EQCover

If you have been unable to purchase EQCover through a private insurer (for reasons other than natural hazard risk), you can apply for Direct EQCover. The EQCover that you buy directly from us is the same as what you would buy through your insurer.

To be eligible, you must have been unsuccessful in applying for insurance through the private market. We are unable to provide Direct EQCover because of high private insurance premiums. We consider applications on a case-by-case basis.

Please contact EQCover@eqc.govt.nz for more information about Direct EQCover.


Changes to the building cap, levy, and excess

The Government will sometimes make changes to the building cap, levy, and excess to keep up with rising building costs. This makes sure that homeowners in New Zealand continue to have access to our natural hazard insurance cover.

The maximum amount that we can pay for damage to your home is called the building cap. Any cover over this cap is provided by your private insurance policy.

On 1 October 2022, building cap increased from $150,000 plus GST to $300,000 plus GST.

This increase was introduced gradually over the next year to take effect when:

  • your existing insurance policy reached its first anniversary date after 1 October 2022, or
  • you entered a new insurance policy on or after 1 October 2022.

Note: Your anniversary date is the date that you were first issued your policy. This may be different from your renewal date.

The date that the natural disaster damaged occurred will affect what building cap applies to your claim.

Following 1 October 2022, if damage occurred:

  • after your policy anniversary date, the building cap is $300,000 plus GST
  • up until your policy anniversary date, the building cap is $150,000 plus GST.

The premium you pay your insurer includes an EQC levy. This levy is what gives you access to our natural hazards insurance cover. The maximum levy was increased from $300 plus GST to $480 plus GST.

The increase to the levy came into effect from 1 October 2022, at the same time that your building cap increased to $300,000 plus GST.

Imminent damage

Following a natural disaster, you might be covered for imminent damage to your property. Imminent damage is damage that hasn’t happened yet, but is more likely than not to happen in the 12 months following that natural disaster.

First make sure you and your whānau are safe, then please talk to your insurer to see if you are covered for imminent damage.