NZ earthquake: How to claim on your insurance

The quake caused extensive damage to Rickard Bicknell's kitchen (dickbicknell/Twitter)
The quake caused extensive damage to Rickard Bicknell's kitchen (dickbicknell/Twitter)

The Insurance Council has issued advice for people impacted by Monday morning's earthquakes.

It says they should contact both their own insurance company and the Earthquake Commission (EQC).

Insurance Council chief executive Tim Grafton says "people's first priority will be to make sure their loved ones are safe and out of harm's way".

"If people need to take urgent action to make their home safe, secure, weather-tight and sanitary, they should also record any remedial work done and take photographs."

This is also the advice from EQC.

EQC says the priority is to get essential services, like toilets and water systems, repaired. It says people should keep records of everything the repairer replaces (and keep a copy of the bill).

It recommends taking photos of the damage before moving or replacing anyhting, if possible.

You should clean up spillages and broken crokery and glass. But the Insurance Council says you should not throw these items away yet.

However you shoud get rid of perishables, like ruined or defrosted food.

EQC says that you will then need to make a claim for reimbursement of your urgent repairs. The cost will then be deducted from any total amount that is owed to you by EQC.

EQC provides natural disaster insurance for residential homes, land and contents.

But to qualify you must have home and/or contents insurance.

More details can be found on the EQC website.

Many people also have a "top-up" provision in their policy - that means they are eligible for additional coverage from their insurance company for their house and/or contents.

A survey released on Monday by Warehouse Money found many younger people who are renting do not have contents insurance.

The survey found that among 18-29-year-old renters, 43 percent said they did not have contents insurance.