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Law changes: Natural disaster cover for landlords and tenants

Changes to the Earthquake Commission (EQC) Act are now in effect. If you have residential fire insurance for your home or contents, find out how you’re affected.

What: Changes to the EQC Act include the following:

From 1 February 2019:

  • an extension of the time frame for lodging a claim with EQC for natural disaster damage from three months to two years
  • an increase in EQC’s ability to share property-related information, as necessary, to settle insurance claims.

From 1 July 2019:

  • removal of the $20,000 (+GST) EQCover for contents
  • an increase in the cap on EQC residential building cover from $100,000 to $150,000 (+GST). Under the Act, EQC provides cover for damage to a residential building up to the cap for each natural disaster event, depending on individual policy arrangements.

Changes to contents cover and the increase in the residential building cap will be phased in over 12 months from 1 July 2019. If you have a current fire insurance policy, the changes will take effect on the anniversary date of your existing policy (which is generally the annual renewal date). If you take out a new policy, the changes will take immediate effect.

Who: Residential property owners and landlords who have a current private insurance policy for their home that includes fire insurance. Tenants that reside in residential rental properties may also be affected.

Why: EQC is incorporating lessons learned from the Canterbury earthquakes and other events. The changes are aimed to improve the EQC claim management process and customer experience.

What you need to do: Talk to your insurance provider or broker about home or contents coverage for your residential property. If you have tenants, they’ll want to check their insurance policies as well.

If you’re thinking about buying a property that you believe may have been damaged in a natural disaster, be sure to ask the vendor for any documents they have available (eg historical records, previous claims). You can also contact EQC to see what information they have on record about the property.

EQC Act changes(external link) — Earthquake Commission

Do you have more questions about changes to the EQC Act?

Do you have more questions about changes to the EQC Act?

Contact the Earthquake Commission by phone at 0800 326 243 or by email

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