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FAQs

Home insurance provided by IAG and its brands* covers the customer's home up to a maximum specified amount called a Sum Insured.

This is because our reinsurers (i.e. companies that insure us against some of the cost of major natural disasters and catastrophes) want to know what their maximum exposure is when events like that occur.

Changes

  • +Are all types of homes, including apartments, investment properties and holiday homes, insured up to a maximum specified amount?

    Home insurance offered IAG and all its brands is on a Sum Insured basis, irrespective of property type or use.

  • +Is the home insurance offered by all New Zealand insurers the same?

    Many insurers in New Zealand now provide home insurance on a maximum specified amount or Sum Insured basis. The basis may be replacement 'new for old' or restricted to the value of the home at the time of the damage.

  • +Why not base home insurance value on a $ per sq metre rebuilding cost?

    The potential cost of rebuilding your home is affected by many factors (for example age, size, location and quality of construction and the slope of the land your home is built on), so just using a flat cost per square metre may not be appropriate for your situation.

Rebuild cost

  • +How can I find out how many square metres my house is?

    There are several ways to measure the floor area of your property. You can check the property information held by your local council, or refer to your house plans if you have them. You need to be sure though, that such information is up to date. You can also check with the builder or building firm that built the house, or hire a builder or assessor to assess the property. You can also measure it yourself if you feel confident doing so-and don't forget to include all levels of your home.

  • +Is there an allowance factored in for demolition and debris removal in the Sum Insured approach under IAG-underwitten policies?

    The Sum Insured you choose for your home should include an allowance for professional fees, demolition and removal of debris costs as well as any retaining walls, Recreational Features or Special Features. The calculator available on the need2know.org.nz website includes an allowance for these costs.

  • +The building cost of a house can vary depending on the quality of fixtures and fittings. Does the calculator on the need2know.org.nz website allow for this variance?

    The calculator asks about the standard of finishing and uses typical building costs to provide an estimate, so some allowance is made. However, if your home has significant special fixtures and fittings (e.g. marble flooring, chandeliers) the calculator may not make sufficient allowance and you may want to consider other options to establish a better estimate of the rebuilding cost. The calculator is not suitable for extremely large homes, in excess of 700 square metres, or high value homes where the likely cost of rebuilding would exceed $2 million.

Reinsurance

  • +Is home insurance like this in other parts of the world?

    Maximum specified amount home insurance is common in other countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

  • +What is reinsurance?

    Reinsurance is insurance for insurance companies; it’s the cover that insurance companies take out against certain types and scale of claims. Reinsurance helps insurers meet the costs of claims following natural disasters or catastrophic events.

Shared Ownership

  • +If my home is governed by a body corporate or subject to a cross lease, what do I still need to think about for my home's Sum Insured?

    Body corporates need to take into consideration all the units in their multi-dwelling property as well as any common property when taking out insurance. Likewise owners of cross-leased properties should consider shared assets such as driveways when determining their Sum Insured.

Special features

  • +What are Special Features?

    Special Features are defined in policies underwritten by IAG as: - private utility plant and associated equipment including but not limited to wind or water mills or diesel generators - cable car and its associated equipment - bridge or culvert, permanent ford or dam - wharf, pier, landing or jetty. Special Features are not automatically covered under policies underwritten by IAG and its brands, so if your home has one or more of these features, you should tell your insurance provider if you’d like to cover it as it will need a separate Sum Insured. An additional premium will likely be charged to cover any Special Features.

Sum Insured

  • +Am I entitled to a refund in premium if, in the case of a total loss, the actual cost of rebuilding my home turns out to be less than the Sum Insured?

    No. If the actual cost to rebuild your home after a total loss turns out to be less than the Sum Insured, you will not be entitled to a refund in premium.

  • +Can I increase the Sum Insured if I don't think the Sum Insured that my insurer suggests enough?

    Yes. It’s up to you to decide the most appropriate Sum Insured for your home. There are several ways to work out what your home could cost to rebuild; these include obtaining a Valuation for Insurance Purposes from a registered valuer or an estimate from a licensed builder or building assessor (a cost may apply). We have also provided a calculator on the need2know.org.nz website that may assist you with estimating your potential cost of rebuilding. The calculator is not suitable for extremely large homes, in excess of 700 square metres, or high value homes where the likely cost of rebuilding would exceed $2 million.

  • +Does the Sum Insured amount for my home automatically increase each year or do I need to update it each time my insurance renews?

    For IAG and its brands, Sums Insured will be automatically adjusted at subsequent renewals in line with certain average changes in building costs but you should check this each year to ensure you are happy with the level of cover. If you’re comfortable with the Sum Insured amount we provide (whether or not it has been adjusted) on the home insurance Policy Schedule that comes with your renewal information, or you don’t contact us to change it, then that amount will be automatically applied to your policy when it renews. This will then be the maximum amount payable for a claim whether it correctly reflects the costs to rebuild your home or not. For that reason, it makes sense for you to review your home’s Sum Insured at renewal or at least annually and to let your insurance provider know about any alterations or improvements you make to your home, so you can factor these into your Sum Insured to ensure you have appropriate cover in place. You can also re-estimate your home’s likely rebuilding costs at any time, as construction costs and other fees associated with rebuilding change over time.

  • +If I make an alteration to my home part-way through the year and want to increase the amount of my home cover, should I increase the Sum Insured?

    Yes. If you are about to make any alterations or improvements to your home, or make alterations through the year, you should contact your insurance provider so that you can factor these improvements into your home insurance policy and check what cover you have or may need in relation to the alterations.

  • +What does a Sum Insured insurance policy mean?

    Under a specified Sum Insured home policy, homes are insured on a maximum dollar amount basis. So, if you have a specified Sum Insured policy that works on a 'replacement' basis, and your home is destroyed, called a total loss or uneconomic to repair in insurance terms – and you are insured by us, the maximum amount payable to rebuild the home is the Sum Insured that’s shown on the home insurance renewal documents**. This maximum amount payable also applies if the home is repairable following significant damage. The Sum Insured basis works in a similar way to insurance you may have for your home contents, where you decide on the amount of cover you require and that Sum Insured is the most we pay for a claim.

  • +Who decides on the home's Sum Insured amount?

    It’s up to you as the policyholder/s to ensure that the Sum Insured amount for your home reflects the potential cost of rebuilding your home as accurately as possible. This is because if your home suffered extensive damage and needed to be rebuilt, the maximum we’d pay is your Sum Insured, even if the actual cost of rebuilding turned out to be greater than that. There are several ways to work out what your home could cost to rebuild; these include obtaining a Valuation for Insurance Purposes from a registered valuer or an estimate from a licensed builder or building assessor (a cost may apply). We have also provided a calculator on the need2know.org.nz website that may assist you with estimating your potential cost of rebuilding your home.

  • +Why shouldn't I select a Sum Insured based on another value indicator like the price I paid for my property or the rateable value?

    The likely cost of rebuilding a home differs from other price indicators as it’s based on factors that are solely related to the physical rebuilding of a home to its former standard. The likely cost of rebuilding should allow for the costs of demolition and debris removal, materials and labour, professional fees, nature of the section etc. Other price indicators take into account elements such as land value, location and market conditions. Market value, the amount of your mortgage, or figures from a council rating valuation shouldn’t be used to set the Sum Insured as in most cases they will not reflect the likely cost of rebuilding the home.

  • +Will I be entitled to a cash settlement if I don't wish to rebuild my home after a total loss?

    Under most home policies underwritten by IAG and its brands there are options available to customers who suffer a total loss including an option to purchase another home or, in some situations, a cash settlement (if we agree). It's best to check your home insurance policy wording for the settlement options available in the event of a total loss.

*IAG New Zealand Limited provides home insurance directly through the State and Lantern brands, and offers NZI policies through AON, Crombie Lockwood, BrokerWeb Group and other brokers. It also underwrites most of the home insurance offered by ASB, BNZ and The Co-Operative Bank. AMI Insurance Ltd ("AMI") is a related company of IAG New Zealand Ltd so, for convenience, all references to "IAG" on this document mean IAG New Zealand Ltd, State, NZI, Lantern and AMI, as applicable.

**Your policy wording may provide for specific benefits that, if applicable, may be payable in addition to the Sum Insured. Please check your policy wording.

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