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What you need to know about EQCover after Cyclone Gabrielle

Visit Storm, flood and landslip damage for information on what is covered and how much is covered. 

Dealing with the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle and other severe weather events have raised many questions among homeowners about where they can find the appropriate support from Toka Tū Ake EQC and their private insurer.

"We understand the unbearable stress Kiwis across the North Island are experiencing and staff across the insurance sector are working as fast as they can to help people back on their feet," says Kate Tod, Chief Readiness Officer at Toka Tū Ake EQC.

Tod says that Toka Tū Ake EQC have extensive brochures on their website to guide homeowners, service providers, councils and media, but recognises that these issues are often complex and may need some additional explanation.

"First of all, EQCover is one of the only insurance schemes in the world to cover land damage caused by a natural disasters. But homeowners need to be aware there are limits to this cover and that land claims are complex and can take months to resolve," says Tod, who adds that private insurance generally will cover the damage to your home and/or contents from a flood or storm according to your policy.

She emphasises that even though EQCover pays for some of the damage, it is important to ring your private insurer first.

"They manage the entire claim. They will be able to answer all your questions and handle all aspects of the process, including the EQCover part of your claim."

Tod says that land damage claims can involve a number of steps before settlement.

"After the initial assessment by the insurance assessor, a geotechnical engineer and valuer need to file their reports before your private insurer develops a repair strategy, estimates the costs of repair, and offers an associated cash settlement."

"For many people impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle, there are likely to be additional steps or complications before you can begin to repair or rebuild, which could include working with restricted access and unsafe properties, you might need council consent for any repair work, and then accessing the materials and specialists to do the work, which in many cases is in remote locations."

"We absolutely understand that people are anxious to get back into their homes as soon as they can, but please understand that this could take some time."

Tod explains that the Government added land damage cover to the EQC Act after the devastating 1979 Abbotsford landslip, but limited the cover based on the average New Zealand property.

In the case of floods and storms, EQCover will repair up to 8m of land around your home, and up the value of your land.

"For some homeowners this maximum cap may unfortunately fall short of the actual cost of repairing the land," says Tod.

Any homeowners affected by a landslip receive the same cover for land damage as a flood scenario, but EQCover also covers damage to your home after a landslip up to the residential building cap.

"We understand that many homeowners affected by Cyclone Gabrielle are dealing with devastating and overwhelming impact on their land, and are looking for answers," says Tod.

"We want to encourage them to stay in touch with their private insurer to find out what they are covered for, how the process works and how quickly things can be progressed."

Tod adds that in some cases homes have been deemed unsafe by local councils and red-stickered.

"But it’s important to understand that any assessments commissioned by your insurer are purely to assess damage, not the safety of your property or neighbourhood. Councils and Civil Defence are responsible for assessments relating to safety, so please refer questions around safety and stickers to your local council."

"We are here to help, but it will really help the recovery process and avoid frustration, if people ring the right agency. Insurers for insurance and your council about the sticker-system."


For more information

Homeowners should call their insurer as a first step. 

More detailed EQCover information is available at, or in:  

The Insurance Council of New Zealand has excellent resources on insurance information. Visit their Disaster Recovery(external link) page.