Damage from extreme weather

This is why you have insurance.

You’ve purchased insurance from us for exactly this type of situation. Most importantly, you and your family are safe and dry.  We are here to get your house, vehicles and belongings back up and running.  Here’s some important information and tips on how to best handle things:

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Learn more about our major event claims process

Major event claims process

If you have had to leave your home

Our thoughts are with you during this tough time.  If you have already managed to find alternative accomodation, thank you and we hope you are staying safe.  Please get your claim lodged with us and let us know the cost of the temporary accommodation so that we can prioritise it and have this form part of your claim.

Our response

We have received and are managing a significant number of claims and we have had a team working to prioritise and acknowledge your claims.  The vast majority of these are for water damage to homes and contents from rising flood waters in owner-occupied homes and landlord rental properties.  We have also received claims for submerged vehicles.

Our focus is to ensure people are safe and that homes are secure following damage.

If you already have a quote from a contractor please send it through to us as we are trying to take a pragmatic approach to repairs.   Learn more about the major event claims process.

We are prioritising claims for those vulnerable, most in need, emergency accommodation, and serious damage.  

Your response

  • Do what you can to prevent further damage.  Do not take any risks to your personal well-being.
  • If you have suffered water damage and it has subsided, you can start cleaning up.  Don’t worry, you are not going to invalidate your insurance by doing this.
    • In each room mark with a pen or permanent marker the approximate height of the water
  • Take plenty of photographs.
  • Lodge a claim online through your dash when you get a chance.
    • As best you can during the claim lodgement please advise if the water swept through the home and subsided quickly, stayed in the water for a period of time (your best guess), or whether the property is still flooded.  This will help us triage claims.
    • There are specific claims flows for ‘Auckland Anniversary Flooding’ and ‘Cyclone Gabrielle’
  • We are prioritising claims with serious damage and uninhabitable houses.  If this is you and you require additional support after lodging your claim you can get a hold of us through [email protected]  or by phone 0800 763 929
  • If have a rental property that is damaged and the house is now uninhabitable you are NOT responsible for finding your tenant’s emergency or alternative accommodation.  The tenant won’t be obligated to keep paying rent to you and they will need to source their own alternative accommodation.  You will have cover for this lost rent per the policy’s terms.
  • If you have ‘black water’, i.e. rising flood damage, and you want to get on with cleaning up you can lift the carpet and underlay and move it outside.
  • For damaged contents, start to make a list and take photos. Retain as many items as you can as an Assessor may want to see them.
  • If emergency temporary repairs are needed to mitigate further loss/damage to the property, feel free to engage a tradesperson and we will add these costs to the claim.  For example, securing lose roofing.

Vehicle damage?

  • If your vehicle has been in deeper water (over the tyres) do not attempt to drive the vehicle due to the potential risk of electrical damage and contamination.
  • Use a permanent marker to mark on the vehicle where you think the water level got to.
  • Lodge a claim online through your dash when you get a chance.
  • For abandoned vehicles we will arrange for the vehicles to be towed when roads are open and tow trucks have availability.  Please let us know during the claim lodgement if the vehicle has been abandoned away from your usual residence.
  • Where possible and only if it is safe, remove personal belongings from the vehicle.

Other tips

  • Never wade through flood water and avoid using vehicles or electrical appliances that might have water damage.
  • Wear gloves, masks, and protective gear so you don’t come into contact with anything dangerous.
  • Turn off the power at the mains if flood water has entered the home.
  • If you are a landlord, check in with your tenants
  • Learn more about staying safe on the Civil Defence website


Can I start cleaning up?  
Yes, but take photos and keep a schedule of damaged contents/items you remove from the house

When will an Assessor come and see me?
We are currently appointing assessors and priority will be given to those with serious damage and to those homes that are accessible.

Do I need to find accommodation for my tenants? 
No, you can if you like but this is not your responsibility.  Your tenant(s) will have to sort this on their own and they will incur costs to do this, however, if the house is not habitable they will be entitled to stop paying you rent.  You can claim this loss of rental income through your landlord policy.

My house needs drying, how do I do that?
We use the services of Jaes for drying and pumping water. They are currently over capacity and we will be working with them on the most serious losses, but it could take many days before they can get to you.  If you have your own ability to source pumping or drying equipment you can add this to the cost of your claim,

Do I have covered for alternative accommodation, a place to stay?
Yes, all initio own home policies provide cover for the cost of your finding emergency accommodation or temporary accommodation if you are required to evacuate your residence by a local authority or government agency (like a council, Civil Defence, NZ Police or Fire and Emergency NZ) OR because the property is at risk of damage, from an event that would be covered by the policy.  Flood damage is automatically covered for initio policyholders.  Keep copies of accommodation receipts and record timing/dates and we will include these costs as part of the claim.

Am I covered for damage to my land?
The Earthquake Commission (EQC) provides certain cover for land damage; the EQC provides more than just cover from earthquake damage.  Your insurance policy with initio includes EQC cover, and if your land is damaged by storm or flood, you’re eligible to make an EQC claim.  To make the claim process simpler, you no longer have to claim through the EQC, we/our underwriter (IAG) will handle your EQC claim on behalf of the EQC.   To understand more about how EQC land cover works see this EQC Landcover Guide

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