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Disaster recovery

Find out what to do during and immediately after a natural disaster.


During an event

  • Remain calm.
  • Put safety first.
  • Check for danger (e.g. fires, gas leaks, damage to buildings), and if necessary to keep safe, turn off electricity, gas or water mains.
  • Stay where you are unless it is unsafe, or you are officially told to leave.
  • If asked to evacuate take your emergency kit and important documents.
  • If it is unsafe to stay where you are, arrange shelter for yourself. If possible, stay with neighbours, friends or family.
  • Seek help from those around you and offer to help them too.
  • Don't use the telephone or cell phone except to report immediate emergencies.
  • Listen to local radio stations for official warnings and advice.

For information on how to ensure your household is prepared in an emergency, with specific information on how to cope without essential services like water, electricity, sewerage, visit the Get Ready website.

Immediately following an event

  • Make sure you and those around you are safe. Follow the instructions of Civil Defence or other emergency management professionals at all times.
  • Contact your insurer or broker to understand how they can help. They will be able to talk you through the claim process and let you know what you need to do next.
  • If you need to, make your home safe, sanitary and weather-tight but if possible don’t do non-essential repairs.
  • Get essential services repaired, including water, electricity, gas and sewerage, and keep copies of invoices for your insurer.
  • Do not do anything that puts your safety at risk or causes more damage to your property. Always wear protective gear, including gloves and masks, in case you’re exposed to hazardous material.
  • Keep all damaged items for inspection unless they present a risk to health. Check with your insurer before throwing out contaminated or perishable items. If you have to throw things out, take photos and make a list.
  • If your home or building is not safe / uninhabitable, contact your insurer to discuss alternative accommodation. You may be able to access temporary accommodation through your house and contents insurance.

Contact your insurer as soon as you can

It's important to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible after an event to ensure the claims process is as easy and efficient as possible. They'll be able to advise you on the best next steps to take, and any information they need from you to get the claim process underway to help you get things back to normal.

From 30 June 2021 your private insurer will be your single point of contact to support your insurance recovery if your home or land is damaged in a natural disaster.

This means that if you have home insurance you will be able lodge one claim through your private insurer – who will assess, manage, and settle the entire claim. This will include the EQCover portion of a claim up to the statutory capped level of damage and then any claim under your private insurance to cover additional losses up to your sum insured.

EQC covers damage from natural disasters like earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, natural landslips, and geothermal events, with building damage capped at $150,000 ex GST.  It also insures for fire resulting from any of these natural disasters, and land damage from storms or floods. 

Your provider may be:

  • an insurer
  • an intermediary — such as a bank
  • a broker.

Whichever organisation you normally deal with regarding your insurance, that is who you should contact. You can find a list of insurers on our website. If you use a broker, visit the Insurance Brokers of New Zealand (IBANZ) to search for a broker. 

Other organisations you may need to contact

After a disaster, you may need to contact other organisations to help you recover. You can click on each of the links below to find out how to contact each organisation or to find contact details for your local service.

Find out more

You can find out more about preparing for natural disasters on the Civil Defence's Get Ready website.

Visit Get Ready