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EQC and insurance

What is the Toka Tū Ake – Earthquake Commission?

The Toka Tū Ake Earthquake Commission (EQC) is a government organisation. They provide natural disaster insurance for residential property and manage Aotearoa’s Natural Disaster Fund.

Toka Tū Ake EQC operates under the Earthquake Commission Act, which sets out who and what is entitled to cover.

What insurance does Toka Tū Ake EQC offer?

The insurance provided by Toka Tū Ake EQC is called “EQCover”. If you own residential land or property and have private insurance that includes fire, you automatically have EQCover. You don’t have to pay extra for it.

If you can’t get EQCover through your private insurance, you can also get it directly through Toka Tū EQC.

EQCover covers loss or damage caused by any natural disaster or extreme weather event. It also insures you for fire that results from any of these events.

What’s the difference between my private cover and EQCover?

You’ll be covered by both your private insurance policy and EQCover in the case of a natural disaster or extreme weather event. EQCover covers specific things up to a maximum value; private insurance covers everything else (so long as it is written in your policy).

In the case of a natural disaster, EQCover pays for:

  • Damage to land within your property boundary
  • Damage to land structures, like bridges or retaining walls
  • Damage to your home and land caused by landslips
  • Damage to your land caused by debris and silt from flooding, or loosened soil from flooding

EQCover doesn’t cover these things, but depending on your policy, your private insurance will usually cover them:

  • Damage to your home or building caused by flooding
  • Damage to the things in your home – this is called “contents insurance”
  • Damage to your vehicles – this is called “car insurance” or “vehicle insurance”
  • Damage to plants and growing crops
  • Loss of animals and livestock
  • Damage to paths that aren’t the main accessway
  • Theft that happens after the natural disaster
  • The cost of staying somewhere else temporarily

Your private insurance might also pay out extra on top of the maximum pay-outs from EQCover.

Can I get EQCover if I apply after a natural disaster has happened?

EQCover doesn’t cover a building or land that wasn’t insured against fire at the time of the natural disaster. This includes when the insurance policy had lapsed or been cancelled.

Getting EQCover after an extreme weather event or natural disaster

My property was damaged by flooding. What can I use EQCover for?

In the case of flooding, you can only use EQCover insurance for damage to land. This includes damage to your land caused by debris and silt from flooding, or loosened soil from flooding.

EQCover doesn’t cover flood damage to buildings, but this should be included in your private insurance.

My property was damaged by a landslip. What can I use EQCover for?

In the case of a landslip, you can use EQC insurance for damage to your land caused by the landslip.

How much will I get under EQCover?

For damage to land, EQCover claims are usually cash settled. EQCover will pay the lesser of either:

  • the cost to repair or reinstate the damaged land (minus the excess), or
  • the EQCover land cap (minus the excess).

The maximum amount of EQCover you can claim for residential land is capped at the value of the land. The land that is covered includes:

  • Any land within 8m of house
  • Any main driveway or access way, up to 60m from to main house
  • Any bridges, culverts, or retaining walls that directly support the land or access way

For damage to buildings cause by landslip, EQC will pay:

  • Up to a maximum of $300,000
  • If the damage is more than $300,000, your private insurance might pay for the rest.

Within this amount, EQCover will pay the lesser of either:

  • The amount your building is insured for in cases of fire by your private insurer, or
  • The amount your building is insured for under the Earthquake Commission Act in your private insurance policy, or

If there is more than one home in your building, the EQCover amount multiplied by the number of homes there are.

Exceptions and special circumstances

Can I get EQCover if my land or building is not damaged, but its at risk of damage?

You’ll be eligible for a payout if your property hasn’t been damaged by the natural disaster, but damage is likely to happen within one year because of the natural disaster. This is referred to as ‘imminent damage’. This is usually the case where there has been a landslip, where the land has become unstable.  To be considered imminent danger, the damage must be likely to happen under ordinary circumstances, not just if there is another natural disaster.

EQC said they won’t pay me because my land has been impacted by a natural disaster in the past. Is this right?

EQC may not have to pay you if you bought or built on land known to be at risk of natural disaster.

 You won’t be eligible for EQCover if: 

  • The property you bought or built on has a s 36 or s 72 notice on its certificate of title, and
  • The natural disaster which caused the current damage is the same natural disaster stated in the:
    • s 36 or s 72 notice; or
    • the council property records which led to the section s 36 or s 72 notice

You are still eligible for EQCover if your home or land has been impacted by a natural disaster before, but there isn’t a s 36 or s 72 notice on the certificate of title. You can find more about s 36 and s 72 notices on the Toka Tū Ake website.

You should get independent legal advice if EQC or your insurer tells you a s 36 or s 72 notice effects your insurance.

The process

How do I make a claim under EQCover?

 Most claims are processed by your private insurance company. They make the EQCover claim for you. You conly need to make a direct claim with EQC if you have direct EQCover.

Toka Tū Ake EQC will need to assess your claim by checking the following:

  • What was damaged
  • What caused the damage
  • Can the damage be repaired
  • If it can be repaired, what is the cost of repairing the damaging
  • If it can’t be repaired, what is the value of your loss

To work all this out, Your property and land might need to be assessed by engineers, valuers, and other specialists.

Once this has been worked out, Toka Tū Ake EQC will make you an offer. This is usually called a “settlement”. You should get independent legal advice before accepting the offer, to make sure you’re being offered the right amount.





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