Kaikoura earthquake 14 November 2016

Process for claims

EQC has received over 38,000 residential claims for damage caused by the Kaikoura earthquake. The majority of claims lodged are for building damage only (71%), 10% for building and contents, 9% contents only and 10% land damage. Christchurch, Wellington, North Canterbury and Marlborough are the top locations for claims lodged. As claims are investigated the numbers are likely to update.

Enquiries about house or contents claims should be directed to your insurance company. Enquiries about land claims should be directed to EQC. You can call EQC's contact centre on 0800 DAMAGE (326 243) which is open 7am-9pm from Mon-Fri and 8am-6pm on Saturdays. You can also email EQC on info@eqc.govt.nz.

Read EQC and insurance companies' original Memorandum of Understanding Relating to Kaikoura Earthquake Claims Management (PDF), which covers EQC claims for damage arising from Kaikoura earthquake between  14 November 2016 and 13 December 2016.

Read EQC and insurance companies’ Variation to MOU – Kaikoura Earthquake Claims Management (PDF), which covers EQC claims for damage arising from earthquakes ‘in and around’ Kaikoura between 14 December 2016 and 13 December 2017.

  • Read our guide A simpler claims process for Kaikoura (PDF) to find out more about how we’re managing claims from the Kaikoura Earthquakes along with the following insurers: AA Insurance, AMI, FMG (Farmers Mutual Group), IAG’s bank partners (ASB, BNZ, Westpac and The Cooperative Bank), Lantern, Lumley, Medical Assurance Society / Medical Insurance Society, NZI, QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited, State, Tower Insurance – Fintel, Tower Insurance Limited, Vero (including AMP, ANZ, and Warehouse Money policies underwritten by Vero), Youi NZ Pty Limited.
  • Previous claim information (from an event before the Kaikoura earthquake) may be provided to the insurer where the information is considered relevant for the purpose of assessing and settling a Kaikoura claim. EQC provides this information to the insurer on the basis that they are acting as agent for EQC under the Kaikoura Memorandum of Understanding. EQC can provide certain information on previous claims to ensure that we are fulfilling the functions of the EQC Act, such as checking that EQC has not previously settled a claim for the same damage. Each request for prior claim information is assessed on a case by case basis to ensure that the provision of the information is relevant to the settlement of the Kaikoura claim.


EQC and Insurance Council NZ have put together a frequently asked questions document for customers with insurance claims from the November 2016 Kaikoura earthquake. Visit the Frequently asked questions on Kaikoura earthquake insurance claims page  for the most common questions about assessments, settlements, post-settlement, private insurers as EQC’s agents, timeframes and customer care. 

Urgent repairs

If your home is badly damaged and you need repairs urgently to make it safe, sanitary and secure, there may be some things you can do straightaway or you may need to bring in a contractor. Remember to take photos before you do any work, and keep records of work you pay for.

See our Guide to urgent repairs (PDF) for what do first and where to get help.
See our Guide to chimney repairs (PDF) to find out more about making your chimney safe and what EQC covers.

Land damage

EQC covers the land that the house sits on, as well as land within eight metres of the house. Land within 60 metres of the house that is part of, or supports the main access to the house from the boundary is also covered.  

Find out more about land and what we cover here.

EQC also provides cover for:

  • Bridges and culverts that are situated within 8 metres of the house, or on land within 60 metres of the house that is part of or supports the main access way; and

  • Retaining walls and their support systems that are necessary for the support or protection of the house or insured land (including main access way) if they are within 60 metres of the house.

See our Factsheet on and structures (PDF) to find out what EQC covers.

Sometimes natural disasters cause damage which can lead to further damage in the future. For example, after a landslip, further land may fall from the slip area over time. Damage resulting from a natural disaster that EQC considers will occur in the year following the event is called “imminent damage”. 

See our Factsheet on imminent damage (PDF) to find out what it is and what we cover.

Land assessment and settlement

Once you’ve lodged your claim with the Earthquake Commission (EQC) or your insurance company, an EQC assessor will inspect the land damage to your property. Depending on the type and extent of land damage, further technical experts such as geotechnical engineers or valuers may be required to help EQC assess your damage and determine your claim settlement. 

See our Factsheet on the land assessment process (PDF) to find out more about happens after you’ve had your land assessment done. 

EQC land cover is usually capped at the dollar value of insured land that has been (or will imminently be) lost or damaged as a direct result of the natural disaster. 

See our Factsheet on settling land claims (PDF) to find out more about what EQCover pays for and various examples of how EQC calculates settlements for land damage. 

Cash settlement

If you receive a cash settlement to make repairs to your home either from EQC or your insurance company, you will find useful information in our Factsheet on Information for people receiving insurance payments for repairs (PDF).

Most New Zealanders only contract or do significant building work once or twice in their lifetimes. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has provided information to help homeowners make informed decisions by knowing their rights and obligations.

To manage your building repairs once you have received a cash settlement see MBIE’s detailed guide called Rebuild with Confidence.

Support available

Temporary accommodation

If your house is so badly damaged you cannot stay in it, your private insurer is the best person to talk to. It’s a good idea to read your policy to find out what you may be entitled to.

See our Guide to temporary accommodation (PDF) lists key things to be aware of, if you need another place to stay.

Related information

The Kaikoura District Council organised a community meeting to answer residents’ questions about insurance claims and pay out process. For residents who weren’t able to attend the event, the council livestreamed the meeting on their Facebook page. So far, the video has been viewed by nearly 1,000 people. To watch the video click here.

EQC guides

Kaikoura Earthquake

(PDF, 22 Nov 2016)

  • Make your home safe first
  • Earthquake Commission claims
  • Lodging a claim
  • Am I covered by EQC?

Translated material: