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Get Your House Storm Ready & Home Insured

Get your house storm ready and make sure your home insurance is in order

Auckland, 19 July 2017. As New Zealand comes out the other side of yet another weather front only to head towards another one, many home owners will be striking up a new relationship with their insurer as they try to repair the damage that has been done.

Unfortunately for some, they could be in for an unexpected and unwelcome insurance surprise.

Canstar Blue general manger Jose George says:

“Our research showed that three in five people didn’t review their home insurance policy when they renewed it, and unfortunately this could mean that they may find they’re not covered for all situations.

“One of the problems people come up against is that they have not maintained their property to a sufficient standard and as a result, storm damage can be a lot more substantial. Many insurers will not cover this situation because at the end of the day, the damage may have been avoidable.”

The elements of home and contents

Although home and contents insurance are two separate types of cover, most consumers tend to buy the two together. Broadly speaking, the home insurance element covers the structure of your house and any permanent fittings such as kitchen or bathroom as well as driveways, paths etc, within the boundary of your property. Contents insurance covers non-permanent fixtures and possessions such as (but not limited to) electrical goods, clothes, jewellery and sporting items such as bikes and even trampolines.

In 2016 New Zealanders paid over $1.56 billion in buildings and contents premiums[1].

“There are a number of steps that people can take that will not only reduce the chances of damage to their home and property, but make an insurance claim much simpler in the unfortunate event of an incident occurring.” Jose George continues.

Keeping your house in order

It’s always worth making a few quick checks of your property and even if this leads to a bigger maintenance job, it will most probably save you time and money in the long run. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Roof and gutters – including chimneys, should be regularly checked for weak spots and in the cases of gutters, blockages. Any cracks or lose tiles should be fixed as soon as possible to stop further rain or wind damage. If you live in an area prone to heavy snowfall, you may also want to install snow straps on your guttering to cope with the extra weight.

Trampolines and outdoor furniture – should be tied down or stored. Tramps are great fun for bouncing on, less so when they’re airborne and heading for your car! If possible, safety nets should also be removed for added security.

Trees on your property – should be regularly pruned and checked for rot or damage. Speak to your neighbours about trees along boundary lines and contact your local authority if you have concerns about trees in public areas near your home.

Plumbing and pipes – investigate any wet or damp patches as soon as you notice them. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away and could invalidate any insurance claim you subsequently make.

Unplug any electrical items you’re not using – if there’s a power blackout or power surge, you will avoid damage to your appliances.

• If you are unfortunate enough to experience storm damage, take photos of the damagewherever possible. These can then be submitted to your insurer and used as evidence as part of your claim.

George concludes:

“Obviously, having the correct level of insurance cover is hugely important but it’s also essential for people to keep their homes well maintained. It can be heartbreaking and hugely stressful for homeowners to see their property damaged, but ultimately by making a few regular checks they can maximize the protection and security of both their home and themselves.”

[1] Figures supplied by Insurance Council of New Zealand


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