Insuring your House and Contents in New Zealand

Get the best cover for your home.

For many Kiwis, their home is their most financial asset. When they tally up the value of all the things contained within said home, the contents may come in second on the list. For business owners, it may be a different story—but a home is valuable in more ways than just money.

It goes without saying that insuring your home and/or contents is hugely important! Knowing that you can replace, rebuild, and redecorate in case of fire, burglary, natural disaster, or other misadventure provides peace of mind and security for any household.

Obtaining cover for your house and all within it is an easy decision. Knowing how and where to get the best insurance for your individual needs, however, is where it becomes tricky. There are many home and contents policies on the market in New Zealand, and most Kiwis don’t have time to compare every possibility. To help out, we have put together a few points to consider when searching for cover that suits you. Use these tips when choosing a policy or reviewing the ones that you already have.

What does it cover, exactly?

To make the best decision around your house and contents policies, you need to be properly informed. That starts with an understanding of what house and contents insurance is—what it protects against and what it does not.

The “house” portion refers to the physical structures on your property. As well as your home, it will generally include any garages and permanent sheds, outhouses, or cabins. It will also usually include anything inside the buildings which is fixed—carpets, for example. It will often specify a maximum sum that can be claimed. Those renting out their property will need specific policies that will cover damage by tenants.

The “contents” portion refers to all that’s insurable inside the house or building: personal effects, furniture, bicycles, jewellery, artwork, furnishings, electronics, and more. It usually excludes vehicles, which require their own policy. It also may exclude the belongings of anyone not living in the house, and some items may need to be specified, such as valuable jewellery items.

It’s important to check exactly what your policies cover, particularly contents insurance policies as these can vary significantly. Finding out after a disaster has struck that key assets are not covered is not a good position to be in! An insurance broker has the experience and technical knowledge to read and compare policies effectively and recommend the best option for your unique needs.

Location considerations

What are the risks for the specific region or city in which your home is located? New Zealand has areas prone to earthquakes, flooding, storm damage, and more. If you live in one of these areas you need to make sure you are covered for all eventualities, and it may require additional paperwork and documentation.

Look into any extra risks that may apply to your home, and make sure your insurance takes these into account. Many homeowners in Canterbury, for example, had troubles claiming on their policies post-earthquake to the extent that the Canterbury Earthquake Tribunal Act was made law in 2019. A damaged home is stressful enough without uncertainty surrounding insurance coverage. It’s crucial to check all of those boxes right from the start.

Seek expert assistance

Using an insurance broker to help you choose and buy house and contents insurance makes the entire process smoother, ensuring that you get the cover you need and the best value for your money. Deciphering the wording of multiple policies is a tiresome task for the uninitiated, but it’s all in a day’s work for a broker.

Additionally, brokers often have agreed policy wordings with various insurers. This gives their clients access to extra benefits such as higher limits for alternative accommodation should you have to move out temporarily. They can negotiate things that most individual buyers can’t.

Understanding all the implications of any insurance policy is not easy for your average buyer, and house and contents insurance can be especially difficult, as it is multi-faceted and includes an array of assets and scenarios. Working with a broker makes the process much easier. They serve as an advocate and a go-between, using their extensive knowledge of insurance companies and policies to secure the best possible cover.

Are you looking to insure your house and contents, or reviewing and assessing your current policies? Get in touch with the team at Runacres. We’d love to discuss your insurance requirements and answer any questions you might have!