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Making urgent repairs

If your home has been damaged by a natural hazard event, you may need to carry out urgent repairs to make your home safe.

For advice about urgent work to both your home and residential land your insurer is your first and best point of contact. They manage your natural hazards cover claim on our behalf and will be able to provide you with advice specific to your situation. Before any work is started, please talk to your insurer and check if the costs incurred will be reimbursed as part of your claim

If you’re concerned about the safety of your property, contact your council, or local civil defence. They’ll help you understand the state of your property and will be able to advise if your property is considered dangerous or insanitary under the Building Act 2004.

When making any urgent repairs to make your home safe, sanitary, secure and weathertight please:

  • only do the work if it is safe to do so
  • take photos before you throw away anything, and before and after completing any work
  • keep a record of all work that you have done, including quotes and invoices.

If you need to clean up parts of insured land urgently, such as removing silt, we can’t reimburse you for work you do yourself, but we can contribute to some costs you might incur.

We provide limited cover for certain areas of land under and around your home. Our land cover is not intended to be a comprehensive cover and it sometimes won’t be enough to fully repair all of the damage to your land after a natural hazard event. It’s important that you know which parts of your land are included, and what is not covered. The cost of any work to uninsured land may not be reimbursed.

Definition of urgent work

Urgent work is work needed after a natural disaster to make your home liveable and protect it from further damage by ensuring it is safe, sanitary, secure and weathertight.

Permanent repairs should only start once you have had all damage assessments completed and you have received your EQCover settlement. Your private insurer will talk you through this process.

Examples of urgent work to your home may be:

  • turning off power if there are exposed wires
  • boarding up a broken window
  • restoring essential services, such as toilets and running water
  • replacing a damaged heat source
  • covering any holes in the roof or walls
  • making a damaged chimney safe.

Examples of urgent work to your residential land may be:

  • fencing off any unsafe areas
  • temporarily bracing a retaining wall which is at risk of collapse
  • temporarily diverting any overland water flow away from a landslide area (e.g. placing a tarpaulin along the top and sides of a landslip)
  • removing debris from a driveway to restore access to a home.

Landslides can be dangerous, we don’t recommend undertaking urgent work without specialist advice.

Carrying out urgent work

Contact your insurer

Contact your insurer about any urgent work you think you may need to undertake.

In some cases, your insurer might arrange for the urgent work to be completed on your behalf and deduct this cost from your overall natural hazards cover claim entitlement.

Cleaning up

If you’re able to stay in your home after a natural hazard event, you'll probably want to clean up spillages and breakages straight away. There are some things you can do before you clean up to help your insurer estimate the damage.

If it’s safe to do so, you should:

  • take photographs of the damage before you start cleaning up
  • keep all your damaged goods and parts, except for perishable items, like food that has been spoilt or that comes from a broken freezer
  • make a list of your perishables and take photos of them before disposal
  • make sure you dispose of perishable items safely.

Completing repairs 

If you are engaging your own contractor to complete urgent work to your property, you must:

  • keep copies of any invoices and receipts and send these to your private insurer for review. If your claim is accepted, the costs will be reimbursed. 
  • keep a record of what work was needed and why. 
  • keep a record of what work was completed and when. 
  • take before and after photographs of the work.

Our Take photos to support your claim page has some useful tips on the type of photos needed and how to make sure you get the images you need. 

How costs are reimbursed

Any reimbursement for urgent work needs to be reviewed by your insurer.

If your reimbursement request is accepted, the cost of any urgent work will be included in your overall natural hazards cover entitlement. However, the payment may be made separately. 

It is important that you do not start permanent repairs until your likely natural hazards cover entitlement is known. Your insurer will talk you through this process. 

For more information on cleaning up after a natural hazard event, you can view the Dealing with flood damaged items factsheet(external link), created by The Insurance Council of New Zealand.