The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) is urging residents who have suffered property damage or evacuation due to the Nelson fires to contact their insurer or broker.
ICNZ advised that tempory accommodation is available under most domestic insurance policies and that customers should check their individual insurance policies with their insurance company. It provided a run-down of important things to remember regarding temporary accommodation including choosing a temporary accommodation that is of a similar standard to the insured house and additional costs such as travel, letting fees, utilities, meals, phone and internet will not be covered. Generally, cover is for the accommodation of both homeowners and their pets, and is limited to a dollar value.
“A large fire like the one currently burning in the Nelson area is not a one- or two-day event,” it said. “Once people are able to return to their houses, they’re advised to take precautionary fire safety measures and continue to follow all instructions from local and government authorities.”
Here are other tips, as outlined by ICNZ, that brokers can pass to clients on fire safety:
- Contact your insurer or broker as soon as possible to seek advice about the claims process;
- Speak to your insurer before attempting or authorising any building work, including emergency repairs;
- Notify local authorities and check with your insurer or broker about whether they can claim temporary accommodation expenses if their home is not in a safe condition to occupy;
- Do not do anything that puts their safety at risk or causes more damage to their property;
- Do not turn on any electricity until it has been inspected by an electrician if fire has entered their property;
- Take photos of damaged property to help speed up the assessments and claims process;
- Keep any damaged items that don’t pose a health and safety risk;
- Remove and discard any damaged goods that pose a health risk, such as soft furnishings or perishables, but take photos and make a list of anything they throw out and keep samples of materials and fabrics to show the insurance assessor;
- Remain vigilant about the risk of another fire outbreak and take steps to reduce the risk of property being damaged, including clearing leaves, twigs, bark and other debris from roofs and gutters, and moving flammable items away from buildings (such as woodpiles, gas bottles, crates, plastic wheelie bins, hanging baskets and garden furniture).