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Insurance Guide

Comprehensive Guide to Natural Disaster Preparedness, Recovery and Insurance Cover

A natural disaster encompasses earthquake, natural landslip, volcanic eruption, hydrothermal activity, tsunami, or a fire resulting from any of these. A flood or storm is not classed as a natural disaster for EQC or policy purposes – but rest assured, you are still covered under your insurance policy for damage caused by flood or storm.

Natural disasters can occur unexpectedly, causing significant damage to your home and property and posing a danger to you and your loved ones. Therefore, it’s essential to be prepared, to stay safe during and after a natural disaster and to have insurance coverage to protect your property from loss. This guide will discuss preparedness, safety measures, recovery, and the role of insurance in safeguarding your property and investments.

How to stay safe during a natural disaster

Following local or national authority instructions

Your first priority during a natural disaster is keeping yourself and your loved ones safe. Usually, the Met Service provides warnings and updates about upcoming storms and severe weather events. In the event of a natural disaster, follow instructions from Civil Defence and local authorities.

Having an emergency plan

National emergency management offers simple instructions for creating a household emergency plan, essential for natural disaster preparedness, including planning for household members with special needs, emergency contacts, meeting locations if household members are separated, and communication methods if phone lines are down. When a natural disaster warning is issued, immediately implement your household emergency plan.

Here are key steps to keep yourself and your family safe during a natural disaster:

  • Ensure you have a getaway kit ready in case you need to leave in a hurry. Remember to pack any prescription medications.
  • Secure or bring indoors any outdoor furniture or items, as strong winds could cause damage.
  • Close all doors and windows. Draw curtains and drapes over the unprotected glass that could shatter.
  • Stay indoors and bring your pets inside.
  • Avoid driving if possible. If you must drive, do not drive into floodwaters, as it can damage your car, cause it to get stuck or washed away, and endanger you and your passengers.
  • Unplug small appliances to prevent damage from power surges.
  • Shut off gas mains and move valuables and furniture off the floor if there's a risk of flooding.


Finding your way back: steps to take after a natural disaster


When the immediate danger has passed, and you and your loved ones are safe, it's time to deal with the damage to your home and property.

1. Ensure your safety before entering your home

Prioritise safety while dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster. Contact our Claims Team immediately if your home is unsafe to enter due to structural damage.

Even if your home doesn't appear to have suffered structural damage, watch for hazards like broken glass and avoid wading into floodwater, which could be contaminated or conceal sharp objects.

2. Document the damage for insurance claims

Once it's safe, take photos and videos of any damage to your home and property, such as broken windows or water damage to walls and furniture. These will help us process your insurance claim more quickly.

3. Clear out flood water to prevent further damage

Treat floodwater as contaminated, as it may contain sewage, mud, chemicals, or microorganisms. Wear personal protective equipment like gloves and masks when handling items in contact with floodwater. Clean surfaces that come into contact with floodwater using a bleach or disinfectant solution.

Solid wood furniture can be hosed down with fresh water and disinfected with bleach. Place wet furniture outside to dry but cover it with plastic to protect it from further weather damage.

Soft furniture, like couches and mattresses, may not be salvageable if they have been in contact with floodwater. Carpets and underlays submerged in floodwater are likely unsalvageable. Document these items' damage before disposal.

Dispose of food items in contact with floodwater, as they are considered contaminated. Document what you throw out for your claim.

4. Ensure your car is safe

If your car has been submerged in water, do not attempt to drive it. This can cause further damage to the engine and may lead to sudden failure while on the road. Instead, contact us at 0508 806 244 to arrange for your car to be towed to a mechanic for a thorough inspection. Our team can guide you on the next steps and help you determine the best course of action for repairing or replacing your vehicle.

After a natural disaster, restoring your property to its original condition may take time. Take measures to prevent further damage while awaiting repairs, such as boarding up broken windows or removing valuable items to prevent theft if your home is uninhabitable.

 

Safeguarding your future: how insurance can help you through a natural disaster


Your home and its contents are some of your most valuable investments, whether you own or rent. A natural disaster can wipe out those investments without warning. Repairing the damage from a natural disaster can be costly, which is why having sufficient insurance is essential to protect you from unexpected disasters.

Which insurance cover is right for me? 

There are different options for insurance depending on your needs.

Home Insurance

Home insurance covers costs associated with repairing damage  to your dwelling caused by an insured event, as well as damage to other buildings or structures, such as garages or sheds. It also covers the cost of temporary accommodation - this can be up to 10% of your sum insured for a maximum of twelve months if your home becomes unliveable due to an insured event.

Contents Insurance

Contents insurance covers costs associated with repairing or replacing your household contents and personal effects damaged during an insured event. This could include furniture, appliances, computers, clothing, food, and collectibles.

AMP also offers comprehensive insurance plans that include both home and contents insurance. Consult your policy document for a detailed explanation of what's covered and what isn't.

Will my insurance cover damage to my home caused by an earthquake? 

EQC provides cover for earthquake damage to your home and land, up to a maximum of $300,000. EQC is government-backed insurance and you get automatic access by paying a levy as part of your insurance premium. Damage exceeding $300,000 is covered by your insurer, up to a maximum of the amount you are insured for.

When you make a claim for losses caused by a natural disaster, AMP’s insurance partner Vero coordinates with EQC on your behalf and keeps you informed every step of the way.

Will my insurance cover all water damage?

AMP's home and contents insurance policy covers water damage caused by a storm or flood. For example, if a severe storm causes a tree limb to fall on your roof, resulting in damage that allows rainwater into your home, that damage will be covered. However, if there is water damage caused by gradual wear and tear, such as a leaking roof, it wouldn't be covered by insurance. Homeowners should perform regular maintenance to prevent such damage, including removing at risk trees and maintaining the roof.

Comprehensive Car Insurance

Damage to your car isn't covered under home or contents insurance. Comprehensive car insurance may include cover for storm, flood or natural disaster damage within certain limits. This can include damage caused by floodwater, fire, or objects that fall on it during a storm. It can also include the cost of towing and storing an undrivable car and hiring a replacement car for up to 14 days. However, remember that damage due to reckless behaviour, such as driving into floodwater, will not be covered by insurance.
 

The claims process after a natural disaster


If you’ve suffered a loss due to a natural disaster and you need emergency repairs or accommodations, call our emergency line: 0508 806 244

If you don’t need emergency repairs or accommodation, you can initiate a claim using our online claim form at your earliest opportunity and email it to us. Be sure to take photographs and videos of any damage to your home and property. This will help us process your claim faster.

We’ll look over your claim and walk you through anything you need to do. We may need to send a specialist to view your property, but we’ll find a time that works for you. We may also need to ask you for more information. 

Natural disasters can strike at any time and are becoming more common and severe due to climate change. It’s important to ensure you’re carrying enough insurance to protect your home, contents, and car in the event of a natural disaster.


Your insurance costs will vary depending on a range of factors and the level of coverage you require. Call us at 0800 267 263 to speak to one of our insurance specialists to find the right level of cover for you or get a home insurance, contents insurance or car insurance quote online.

The information on this page is of a general nature only and intended to provide guidance about how your claim may be managed. The steps which will be taken to manage your particular claim will depend upon your individual circumstances and your policy wording. Please refer to your policy wording for full details of your insurance cover.