With the recent flooding and high winds across the top of the North Island and other areas that have devastated thousands of homes, insurance companies across the nation have received tens of thousands of claims. It is expected that many more claims will arise in the following weeks after the storms.

A general recommendation is to document all the damage that has occurred to your property or belongings in order to verify your claim. Taking photos and videos of the damage is key, as Insurance companies may decline your claims if sufficient evidence is not provided to them.

When a natural disaster hits, your first priority should always be the safety and wellbeing of yourself and any dependants. Do not enter any dwelling that has or may have structural damage.

If you think that the structural integrity of your property is compromised, alert your insurance company straight away and seek advice from authorities on how to proceed. If your property is only affected superficially and it is safe to enter into the dwelling, ensure that you are capturing evidence of all the damage that has occurred.

Taking photos prior to undertaking any urgent repairs is important as the insurance companies will need proof of the damage caused by the natural disaster in order to adequately carry out their assessment of the damage.

Make sure the photos you have are as clear as possible. Using the zoom in function will be useful as it will provide a magnified picture of the damage that the naked eye may fail to recognise. Similarly, zooming out on a photo will allow more objects to come into the frame, giving the insurance assessor a greater idea of the full scope of damage. 

It is important to pay attention to your insurance policy as each insurer will have a different wording and claims process. Being unfamiliar with your insurance company’s guidelines and your own insurance policies will likely prolong a resolution to your claims process if you fail to adhere to their requirements.

Make yourself familiar with your policy or contact your insurer for further clarification, so you understand the scope of the policy and can rely on it going forward. If there is any dispute over the meaning of the policy it is a good idea to get advice from a professional experienced in the area.

A final recommendation is to update your insurance company on your situation as it may change. You may find fresh damage or further deterioration to your property as a result of a natural disaster that has occurred in the past. Regardless of whether the damage is new or pre-existing, contact your insurer to update them and to seek a resolution.


Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.