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Is Code of Compliance required to insure a house?

Code of compliance is generally required to insure a house. But don’t worry, there are situations where we will cover your house without full code of compliance.

Most Common Reasons for Non-compliance

House or addition was built before code of compliance requirements

Current building code of compliance requirements came into force in 1992. This means homes built before this will often not have code of compliance, as it simply wasn’t needed.

Records of building consent have been lost or are unknown

It’s surprisingly common for houses to have no record of their code of compliance sign-off. A number of councils around New Zealand lost their records in fires and floods before records were stored electronically.

Code of compliance was not obtained on part of the home (e.g. extension)

The previous owner may have made improvements to your house without getting full building consent sign-off. This is most common for an additional deck or unconsented garage at the home.


What would we require to insure?

If your home lacks a compliance certificate for any of the above reasons, we can consider insuring it. If your home does not have a code compliance certificate this does not always mean your home is non-compliant, especially if records have simply been lost. To insure your house, we would need confirmation of the following:

a) House is structurally sound and well maintained, with no known reasons for its lack of compliance

b) Confirmation that the building or addition would have met building requirements at the time it was built

No known reasons means anything other than that it was simply not requested, required or was lost. We want to make sure we only insure houses up to building standards.

Other Reasons for Non-compliance

New build or recently built property

When a house is built it legally must obtain a code of compliance certificate. This is normally done before the home-owner can move in. If your house is a new or recent build it may not have code of compliance, but will require standard house insurance. Occasionally there will be a situation where you have moved in, but no consent has been obtained as there are still minor works being done.

What would we require for a new build?

Before we can consider insurance on a non-compliant new build, we need confirmation that it meets the following requirements:

  a) House has practical completion, including a kitchen, and power/water supply

  b) House is structurally complete, fully secure and lockable

  c) Someone is living in it

  d) There is no major or structural work still to be completed

If your property meets the above criteria we can consider cover. You will need to disclose that there is no current code of compliance certificate obtained.


Conditions That Will Apply

If we agree to provide cover on your house without code of compliance, there are conditions that will apply. It is important that you are aware of these and know what they mean. These conditions are as below:

1. Additional costs associated with making the home compliant may not be covered

We will pay to rebuild a non-compliant deck on your home that has burnt down. However, you will need to pay for the extra costs if you want to get code of compliance sign-off on the new deck.

2. Any loss that directly arises from the lack of compliance will not be covered

For example, where your non-compliant deck collapses and also causes damage to the house. If the collapse of the deck is later proved to be a direct cause of its non-compliance (i.e. the deck was not up to building standards), then damage to the deck and home may not be covered.

Note that any other loss that is not a direct result of non-compliance (such as a storm or fire) remains covered.

3. Any loss that arises from the construction perils to complete the home and obtain compliance are not covered

If there are still major works being done at your property these are not covered. If a roof is being installed and it collapses, this should be covered under a contract works or construction insurance policy as this is not covered under a standard house insurance policy.

4. Building consent obtained within 30 days (if your property is a new build)

This gives you some time to get code of compliance approved. If you need longer than this you will need to let us know.


How can I get a quote?

If your house does not have full code of compliance but meets the above criteria you can go ahead and get a quote. If you proceed with the quote you will need to disclose that the property does not have full consent when you answer the declaration questions during the sign-up application.

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Examples of where we can provide cover

  • Compliance certificate is not signed off as the driveway is unfinished. Driveway concrete will not be laid until construction is complete on the neighbouring home as trucks are using the driveway for access. The home is structurally complete, fully secure and lockable, and is being lived in. Cover is able to be provided.
  • Final code compliance check was completed by the council in December, minor and non-structural defects were identified, and repairs were completed. Due to the Christmas break, council staff were not able to return to issue the code compliance certificate until mid January. The home was structurally complete, fully secure and lockable, and being lived in. Cover is able to be provided.

Examples of where we are unable to provide cover

We can not offer insurance if your home does not meet the above requirements, or does not have code compliance certificate for reasons such as the following:

  • Code of compliance certificate was applied for, but the building work contained defects which were not rectified.
  • House was self built and consents were never obtained.
  • Home is a converted building (such as woolshed or garage) and the conversion was not consented.
  • A certificate of acceptance was applied for and denied because the building work contained defects.
  • A safe and sanitary report confirmed the building work was unsafe and/or unsanitary.
  • The builder’s report on the home identified that the building was not structurally sound.

How do you legalise existing building work?

Building work carried out before 1 July 1992 without the appropriate building approval requires a safe and sanitary report. A safe and sanitary report does not serve as an approval of the unauthorised work, just a reassurance that the building is safe and sanitary. You will need to engage a professional such as a private building consultant or registered engineer to complete this report. It will be held on file with the local council.

A certificate of acceptance is the appropriate way to legalise any work done after 1 July 1992. It provides limited assurance that the council has inspected the home and the completed building work complies with the building code at the time and contains no obvious defects.


Who is initio?

Initio is the pioneer of online house insurance in New Zealand. Founded in 2011 we’re a New Zealand-owned online insurance provider, backed by NZI.

From your own home to a block of flats – we insure it. Whilst we’re all about delivering a great online experience, you can still contact us via phone or email. You won’t get the run-around, we personally answer our phones and our emails.

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