There are four key changes that you need to be aware of:
- Increased cap on residential building cover. The dwelling cap has increased from $100,000 to $150,000 on EQC residential building cover.
- No household contents cover. EQC has removed the $20,000 household contents cover as they will no longer cover home contents that are damaged as a result of a natural disaster.
- Extension on EQC claim lodgements. The timeframe on lodging an EQC claim has been extended from three months to two years.
- Better information sharing. EQC has made property related information more accessible if necessary, to help settle claims and to improve service.
When will the changes come into effect?
From 1 July 2019, EQCover increases for residential buildings from $100,000 (+ GST) to $150,000 (+ GST), affecting policy holders on the anniversary date of their existing policy (which is generally the annual renewal date), or if you take out a new policy.
Also, from 1 July 2019, EQC will no longer cover contents, affecting policy holders on the anniversary date of their existing policy (which is generally the annual renewal date), or if you take out a new policy.
Will this affect my existing EQC claim?
Your existing claim will not be affected by the amendments, as we will continue to manage it under the current provisions of the Act, e.g. $100,000 cap still applies to existing claims.
When will these changes affect me?
The EQC changes will affect existing policyholders on their annual renewal date or the start date if you take out a new policy or add to a n existing policy.
How will these changes affect future EQC claims?
The EQ Cover residential building cap will increase to $150,000 on each claim from 1 July 2019.
There is now a two-year claims lodgement deadline available to any claim arising from an event. We still encourage you to claim as soon as possible because we may decline claims where delays in lodging a claim could make it difficult for EQC to attribute the damage to a natural disaster and to assess the claim.
How will contents claims be handled in the future?
The EQ Cover for contents will be removed on policy renewal. Every contents claim, regardless of the loss cause will be handled by MAS. There will be a 12-month transition period from 1 July 2019 as existing policies renew. The changes will take effect for you on the renewal date of your existing policy, or if you take out a new policy.
Will MAS and EQC still work together?
MAS and EQC will continue to work closely over the transition period to ensure members receive the correct entitlements based on the underlying insurance policy.
Will EQC continue to insure land?
Yes. The amendments make no change to EQC’s land cover. Refer to EQC’s website for definitions of cover.
What is the information sharing provision and what does this mean for personal information?
The updated provisions contained in the amendments provide scope for EQC to share information we collect about residential property claims lodged with EQC. However, this does not mean that we share your personal information such as your contact or financial details.
For example, if private insurers act as EQC’s agents to settle claims, as they have done for the Kaikōura earthquake, EQC will be able to share previous claim information on the property. Another example is that EQC can provide claim information to a prospective buyer of a house that they have previously repaired. Refer all queries for information to EQC themselves.
Regarding personal information, EQC are still bound by the provisions and protections under the Privacy Act. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner has been closely consulted in the development of the Bill and the information sharing provisions reflect the advice received from the Office.
What does ‘property information’ mean?
The amendment defines property-related information as information about natural disaster damage to a residential property (dwelling and land) and any claims made under the Earthquake Commission Act.
It also covers information about the assessed cost of replacing or reinstating damaged property, what repair work has been carried out and settlement amounts.
Who can request property information?
Anyone can make a request for information about claims lodged with EQC, including previous claims. All information will be provided in accordance with the Privacy and Official Information Acts.
Before the changes, homeowners and prospective buyers couldn’t find out what EQC claims there had been on a property they owned or were looking to buy, unless there was a deed of assignment from the former owner.
All information requests need to be done through EQC.