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Building cover

Under EQCover, your residential building is generally insured for a maximum amount of $300,000 + GST.  If your property was damaged by a natural hazard before 1 October 2023, the relevant building cap may be lower than this, however your cover will still be topped up to the sum insured by your private insurer.

Read more information about the EQCover building cap and premium changes.

We use the term ‘home’ or ‘building’ while the EQC Act uses the term ‘dwelling’ to refer to any self-contained premises used, or capable of being and intended to be used, as a home or holiday home.

building cover web

How much can be paid out

The settlement amount is calculated in one of three ways.

EQCover for a building is the least of the following:

  1. Any replacement sum for which your building is insured against fire by your private insurer; or
  2. Any amount specified in your private insurance policy for which your building is insured under the Earthquake Commission Act; or
  3. The amount arrived at by multiplying the maximum EQCover amount by the number of homes in the residential building.

If your private insurance policy specifies an amount for which your building is insured under the Earthquake Commission Act, that amount must be no less than the amount arrived at by multiplying $1,000 or $2,500 (depending on when you took out or renewed your policy) by the area in square metres of the residential building.

If you incur GST repairing your property, the GST amount will also be paid.

If your loss is greater than the amount that is paid under EQCover, please talk to your private insurer.

Flats and apartments

A building may contain more than one home and is generally eligible for the maximum EQCover amount multiplied by the number of homes in the building.

If you own a building – or part of a building – with multiple homes in it, you must inform your insurance company of the number of homes in the building. Otherwise, you will have cover for only one home.


The EQCover building excess is a minimum of $200 (incl. GST) multiplied by the number of dwellings in the building up to a maximum of 1% of the EQCover amount payable. 

Premium (Levy)

Your EQCover premium (levy) is 16c per $100 of the EQCover amount, up to a maximum of $480 (+ GST). 

What is and isn't included

EQCover may also cover sheds and garages, and water and electrical service pipes and cables.

As well as your home, EQCover includes cover for:

  • separate buildings or structures that are “used by the household of the occupier” (e.g. sheds and garages)
  • services that you own (e.g. water pipes and electrical cables) up to 60 metres from your home.

EQCover doesn't cover:

  • a building that wasn’t insured against fire at the time of the natural disaster
  • a building for which the private insurance policy had lapsed or been cancelled at the time of the natural disaster
  • ‘consequential’ losses that might occur after a natural disaster – such as theft or vandalism
    the cost of staying somewhere else temporarily after an earthquake or natural disaster.

Read the Householders' Guide to EQCover to find out more about what is and isn't included. 

Private insurance cover

Your private insurance may cover items that aren’t covered by EQCover: check your policy or contact your private insurer to find out.

Conditional building consents

Some property owners have an entry on their Record of Title which indicates that the land is likely to be subject to specified natural hazards. This can affect your EQCover and cover from your private insurer. Read about conditional building consents (land title notifications) to find out more.