We appreciate you are currently facing a very stressful and worrying time as you start the clean-up of your property after the recent natural disaster here in the Nelson Tasman region.
We also recognise that the process of making a claim so that you can look to repair or rebuild can feel overwhelming and confusing, so Nelson City Council has put together some guidance on how to safely clean up, how to make an insurance claim, and how to access funding support through the Mayoral Relief Fund.
What Is A Natural Disaster?
The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) classifies a flooding or landslip event as a natural disaster. As this event is a natural disaster, the insurance companies have already set up special call centres, drafted in teams of specially trained loss adjusters, and will have specialist technical advisers on hand. All of this should mean that they can process the large number of claims that are expected after these emergency events. So be reassured that, despite the number of claimants, there are extra resources available to deal with that demand.
What Should I Do First?
Call your insurance company to make a claim. Your insurance company will be managing your insurance claim and your EQCover claim.
Private insurers will manage EQCover claims on behalf of Toka Tū Ake EQC. They will assess, manage, and settle your entire claim – including the EQCover portion – giving you one point of contact.
When you make a claim, the insurance company will appoint a loss adjuster (assessor), who may be third-party. The insurance company will also co-ordinate other specialists such as engineers (including geotechnical) and valuers, as required.
There could be multiple companies visiting your home, but rest assured your insurance company is coordinating and managing all of this.
How Should I Deal With All The Damage?
The ICNZ has this checklist to follow as you start the process of cleaning up:
- Safety first: when it’s your home and there is flood water or any other hazards, don’t do anything to put yourself or others at risk.
- Contact your insurance company and they will tell you what you can throw away. If your home has had water or silt through it, your insurance company will want you to start the drying process of your home as quickly as possible.
- Take photos of everything.
- Food waste & kitchen utensils that have been under water – get rid of this.
- Wet carpet – cut out a sample and keep it, take photos, then get it out of the house and get rid of it.
- Soft furnishings such as beds and couches - take it outside the house, take photos of the damage, then dump if ruined, but make sure you take it outside to help the house dry out. If insurers say dump, then dump.
- DO NOT lift floorboards, take out walls, or cut out the wet bottom of plasterboard etc. Qualified people must do this.
- For silt directly around under and around your home, take good photos before starting the clean-up.
Where Do I Dump It?
To make it easier, Nelson City Council has created a free dump site off Atawhai Drive, on the green field slightly north of Miyazu Gardens (access is from SH6).
This site is open to both household and commercial operators for depositing clean fill material from landslip clean-ups only.
Opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am-5pm and 9am-4pm on weekends.
Please remember this is for clean fill soil and mud ONLY.
What EQCover Is Available?
EQCover, from Toka Tū Ake EQC, provides natural disaster insurance for residential homes and land.
You automatically have EQCover for your home and land if you have a current private insurance policy for your home that includes fire insurance (and most do). Under EQCover, your residential building is generally insured for a maximum amount of $150,000 (+ GST).
If your home or surrounding residential land has been damaged by a storm or flood, EQCover will only cover damage – within limits - to your insured residential land. Your private insurer will cover any storm or flood damage to your home, according to the terms of your policy.
If a landslip has occurred, EQCover will cover any damage to your home or the surrounding residential land – within limits – that has been caused by the slip.
EQCover for residential land includes:
- Land under your home and outbuildings (e.g. shed or garage).
- Land within 8m of your home and outbuildings.
- Primary accessways out to 60m from your home and fully within the property boundary unless you hold an easement over that land, (but not including an artificial surface such as concrete or asphalt).
- Retaining walls that support insured structures and insured land.
- Bridges and culverts as long as they are situated fully within the property boundary. (If any part of a bridge or culvert lies outside the property boundary the entire structure is not covered.)
Contact your private insurer if you have natural disaster damage to your home or residential land. Private insurers manage EQCover claims on behalf of Toka Tū Ake EQC. Your private insurer will assess, manage, and settle your entire claim – including the EQCover portion.
If you’re unsure who your private insurer is to notify of natural disaster damage, call 0800 DAMAGE (326 423).
What If Don’t Have Insurance?
If you need urgent assistance because you have no house or contents insurance, it would be best to contact either the Ministry for Social Development or the Citizens Advice Bureau to see what advice they can offer. MSD can be reached on www.msd.govt.nz or by phone on 0800 559 009. The local CAB office is at 9 Paru Paru Road, Nelson or you can call them on 03 548 2117 or visit their website www.cab.org.nz
I Need Financial Help Now
The Nelson Tasman Mayoral Relief Fund is open to any resident, ratepayer, business owner and not-for-profit organisation in Nelson Tasman that has suffered financial hardship as a result of the weather event which began on 16 August 2022. It will provide assistance on a one-off basis for extraordinary circumstances where real need can be shown. To apply and find out more information, visit https://shape.nelson.govt.nz/mayor-relief-fund.
How Can I Get More Information?
Call your insurance company to make a claim or discuss any impacts from the severe weather.
Some useful information on natural disasters can be found on the ICNZ website: https://www.icnz.org.nz/natural-disasters/about-natural-disasters
Information about EQCover can be found on the Toka Tū Ake EQC website (https://www.eqc.govt.nz/what-we-do/what-youre-covered-for/), as well as additional how-to guides.
The Citizens Advice Bureau is a useful resource to lean upon for more help, particularly if you are uninsured. Our local CAB is at 9 Paru Paru Road, Nelson or you can call them on 03 548 2117 or visit their website www.cab.org.nz
MSD can be reached on www.msd.govt.nz or by phone on 0800 559 009.