As Aotearoa New Zealand’s insurers are helping owner occupiers affected by the ongoing climate event, they are also working with many landlords and tenants. Many are facing their homes being at least temporarily uninhabitable, fully or partially flooded or otherwise in need of drying out and repair.
“The priority has to be people having a safe and dry place to stay,” said Insurance Council of New Zealand Te Kāhui Inihua o Aotearoa (ICNZ) Chief Executive, Tim Grafton. “If you have house or contents insurance and your house is unable to be lived in, contact your insurer or broker as you maybe able to claim for a temporary accommodation benefit. Likewise, many property owners will have taken out landlord insurance that includes loss of rent cover as an option.”
Council inspections may result in a property being declared uninhabitable, a process that will take precedence over any other. Insurers also have guidelines around whether it is possible to stay in a property because of its condition as a result of this event and during any repairs.
For flood affected homes, once the danger of further flooding and damage has passed and your power is working and safe, the priority is to get on with drying the home out and reducing mould. Wearing appropriate protective equipment, this needs to start with the removal of fully flooded carpets, furnishings and beds, and turning on any air-conditioners, dehumidifiers, ventilation system, or fans. This should be done after insurers have been informed. Photographs or other records should be kept of what’s removed.
Under no circumstances should property owners attempt to remove any other floor covering or wall linings if there is any suspicion that they might contain hazardous materials such as asbestos. If there is any suspicion of this, they should arrange with their insurer to have it checked and for its professional removal if required.
“While it is good that temporary accommodation benefits are in place for many insured tenants and owner occupiers alike, there is clearly very high demand for claims to be processed right now,” added Tim. “It’s in the best interest of tenants, property owners and insurers to get on with drying out homes and getting them back to normal as soon as possible. However, given the scale of damage we are seeing across much of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and the rest of the Te Ika-a-Māui The North Island, we can expect this to take longer than normal. Aotearoa New Zealand’s insurers are in this for the long haul.
ENDS – KA MUTU
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