Most New Zealanders don't trust insurance companies - survey

Kiwis don't trust their insurers or believe they get a fair deal from their insurance policies.

Only 18 percent of those responding to a Consumer NZ survey even understand the terms of their insurance policies. But insurers are hitting back at the survey.

Insurance is meant to protect people when things go wrong however many Kiwis don't trust their providers to do the right thing.

"They take the money, but they're very slow on paying out when you call on them," one person told Newshub.

A new Consumer NZ survey found only 13 percent trust their insurers. The study also found just 8 percent thought they were getting a fair deal from their provider, with one in four saying they have had a problem with a claim they'd made.

"There's low trust in the industry but people are paying a lot for it and I think that's a real issue," says Consumer NZ CEO Sue Chetwin.

The survey also found 18 percent of respondents didn't fully understand their insurance policies.

But Insurance Council CEO, Tim Grafton, says people need to start reading the details of their policies.

"How many people understand the T's and C's of their Google, Facebook, Spotify accounts? Very, very few - and it's the same with insurance as well," he says.

"That's not a good thing, so it's up to us now to try and communicate a hell of a lot better."

Grafton says insurers cop a lot of blame. He says it's an odd product that people buy then never hope to use.

"It's look at the small print, what are the acts of god that are going to get in the way?" he asks.

"The truth is over 90 percent of our claims are paid."

Chetwin says New Zealand needs better consumer protection laws - to stamp out practices such as claims being denied if a customer accidentally fails to disclose information.

She says insurers will only win back faith if they show consumers they're more important than profit.