Things are a little unsettling right now as New Zealand takes steps to minimise the spread of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. 

Read more

It is important to stay protected during this uncertain time. Keep your personal property and business interests covered.

Read more

Other information from various sources that could be helpful for you.

Read more

Common questions relating to house, contents and motor vehicle

Read more

Common questions relating to commercial property or business

Read more

Latest updates from selected sources

Read more

Awareness

As we settle into a new way of life with the goal to protect the health of ourselves and our loved ones, it is important that we maintain awareness of the other aspects of our lives that will be impacted by these changes.

Unite against COVID-19

The New Zealand government has created a website specifically to keep us informed about our nation’s response to COVID-19. Here are some of the ways we are uniting against COVID-19:

  • Be Kind - support friends, neighbours and family, especially the elderly and vulnerable
  • Stay Home - staying at home, in our bubble, is the best thing we can do to stop the spread
  • Wash your Hands - wash often with soap for 20 seconds then dry

For more ways and more information, please visit https://covid19.govt.nz/

Things that matter

Adjusting to life in our COVID-19 bubble will bring many challenges. There are many areas that are outside of our control during this time. You can keep them protected to help minimise the impact:

  • Properties and businesses are still at risk of fires, burst pipes, storms, earthquakes, burglaries, theft
  • Vehicles can still be subject to vandalism and break-ins even if it is parked on your driveway. An accident or breakdown can occur when you are out on the road for your essential items.

Staying at home will protect the health of you and your loved ones. For the things that are outside your ‘bubble’ keep them protected with insurance. 

Protection

 

Personal - Home, Contents & Motor Vehicle

The standard House, Contents and Vehicle insurance policies are not affected by Covid-19 and provides cover for loss or damage to your assets when the unexpected happens to help you get back on your feet.

  • House and contents insurance policies can cover you if your house is damaged or destroyed or your contents are stolen, lost or damaged. It could be accidental, intentional by another party or from natural disaster.
  • The optional landlord extension benefit for house policies covers malicious damage to your house and contents, and some policies cover for loss of rent. An example scenario could be if a property is unable to be tenanted out because of physical damage or if the tenant withholds rental payments in circumstances of eviction or vacating without notice.
  • Comprehensive vehicle insurance covers you for accidental damage to your vehicle or to pay for damage to someone else’s vehicle, where you are at fault.
  • Third Party Fire and Theft for motor vehicle provides cover for damage to someone else’s car or property and in the event of fire and theft of your own vehicle. Third Party Only protects you for your legal liability if you cause damage to someone else’s car or property. It is important to note that Third Party does not provide cover for damage to your vehicle.
Business - Commercial Property, Business & Commercial Motor Vehicle
  • Business and/or property  insurance protects your premises, contents, stock and equipment from accidental damage or loss and in events, such as natural disasters by replacement or repair of property damage.
  • Business interruption can cover for loss of profit or rent as a result of  physical damage or loss when the premise is uninhabitable, or the business has to close while repairs are carried out.
  • The different liability insurance policies can cover your business for legal liability for accidental injury to another person or property, and for fines and penalties imposed by breaches to specific NZ Laws.
  • Commercial motor vehicle insurance can cover damage to your vehicle or to someone else’s vehicle where you are liable. Additional benefits can include cover for loss of stock in transit.
  • Existing contract works policies cover for loss or damage to the insured property at the contract site, during the lockdown period, while work has ceased till further notice.

Support

 

As your broker and adviser, we are set up to work remotely for insurance needs whether it is a new requirement, the renewal of your insurance or general enquiries. We have also put some information together to help our clients through these unprecedented times.

Government Initiatives

Here are some of the financial support packages available (for the full list and details click here): 

  • Employer Wage subsidy scheme
  • Protection for renters and tenants
  • Mortgage repayment holiday scheme
  • Help with money
  • Business Finance Guarantee Scheme
  • Business cash flow and tax measures
Flexible Payment Options

To support our clients and manage the impact of this ever-changing situation, we have created more flexible payment options to help ensure continuity of cover during these times.

For more information, please see www.sit.co.nz/staying-covered

Personal Insurance FAQ

 

Why aren’t pandemics covered by insurance?

Insurance exists to protect against unforeseen loss or damage. Policies have limits in place for covered events and exclude events where the potential for a claim is high, such as high-risk activities while travelling. If insurance policies covered every risk, they would be unaffordable. Policies will also exclude events where the potential loss is extreme or can’t be quantified – such as acts of war or pandemics. We are currently in unprecedented times, but insurance remains valid and valuable for the risks that are covered within policies.  Source icnz.org.nz

I am currently working from home, what does this mean for my insurance cover?

Most house policies automatically cover for the home being used as a home office such as using a laptop or PC to carry out day-to-day work. Please let us know if your profession or associated equipment may pose an increased risk to the house - such as flammable materials, high risk machinery or high value/desirable stock. Source: Ando, icnz.org.nz

My house is currently unoccupied because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, is my property still covered?

First, please let us know if your house is unoccupied. Some policies offer cover for owner occupied houses that become unoccupied during the period of insurance. If it is a holiday home or rental property and it becomes unoccupied for more than 60 days, there are a few conditions that need to be met. Keep in mind that the excess on claims will also increase while your home is unoccupied. Please contact us if this applies to you. Source: Ando, Vero, icnz.org.nz

I was travelling in New Zealand, but am unable to go back to my home, are my personal effects covered under my contents policy?

Most contents policies cover for contents temporarily removed from home as long as you had the intention of returning home. This will be covered as long as you intend to return home as soon as possible. Source: Ando

What if my tenants do not pay rent during this time, is this covered?

Policies with the ‘loss of rent’ benefit is usually only applicable if there has been a loss to the house covered under the policy and the house is left uninhabitable. Therefore, the COVID-19 pandemic does not fall under this benefit. Other wordings cover for loss of rent due to non-payment under certain circumstances such as eviction or leaving without notice which again does not specifically relate to the COVID-19 lockdown. Please also check your current lease agreement as the tenants should still need to pay rent while occupying the home. Source: Ando, Vero

I own a rental property however my property manager is unable to carry out regular inspections, will this have an effect on my cover?

The insurer is aware that during Alert Level 3 and 4, it is not possible for inspections to be carried out. As long as there are records that inspections were carried out prior to the pandemic, this will not have an impact on the policy response for legitimate and acceptable claims. Inspections should be carried out as soon as possible after lockdown is lifted and as required before the next renewal date. Source: Ando, Vero, NZI, icnz.co.nz

Does our policy or the optional Landlord’s Extension under our house policy allow a claim for loss of rent, where the tenant has been overseas and cannot currently return to New Zealand due to travel restrictions in the country they are holidaying in?

Unfortunately, no. There may be a ‘loss of rent’ policy benefit in your policy, however this is only applicable if there is a loss to your house making it uninhabitable or impending loss to the house which will be covered if it happens. However, you will not be able to claim if it solely relates to COVID-19. Please check your current rental and lease agreement as tenants should still need to pay rent even if they cannot return to New Zealand. As a landlord, you could choose to reduce or stop charging rent, but the insurance policy does not cover this. Source: Vero, Ando

The WOF for my vehicle will expire during lockdown, will my vehicle still be covered?

Your car will still be covered by your insurance policy as long as the accident or damage is not caused by an existing safety issue that would not get a WOF - e.g. tyres needing to be replaced. It is recommended that any WOF that has expired during this period is replaced as soon as possible after the lockdown period ends. Source: Ando, Vero, icnz.org.nz

Why do I need car insurance when I won’t be driving my vehicle much?

Accidents can occur on the road at any time. Theft and vandalism can still happen whether your vehicle is parked on the street or on your driveway. Source: LMI/Steadfast

What if I need to use my personal vehicle for business use?

Some car policies do not cover certain forms of business so please let us know and will be able to confirm and come up with a solution for you. Source: Ando

Business Insurance FAQ

 

Why aren’t pandemics covered by insurance?

Insurance exists to protect against unforeseen loss or damage. Policies have limits in place for covered events and exclude events where the potential for a claim is high, such as high-risk activities while travelling. If insurance policies covered every risk, they would be unaffordable. Policies will also exclude events where the potential loss is extreme or can’t be quantified – such as acts of war or pandemics. We are currently in unprecedented times, but insurance remains valid and valuable for the risks that are covered within policies.  Source icnz.org.nz

I have moved some of my business contents and stock from the premises to my home or another, am I still covered?

Please let us know if you have moved any items belonging to your business to another location. Most insurers have increased to an overall total and limit to any one item. The insurance company would prefer to be notified of this, so please get in contact with us if this applies to you. Source: Ando, Vero, NZI

Does my business interruption insurance cover loss of rent during this lockdown?

Unfortunately, most business interruption policies contain exclusions relating to notifiable infectious diseases under the Health Act 1956 and the Biosecurity Act 1993. Pandemics are generally excluded from policies as the risk is not easily quantifiable by the insurer. Source: icnz.org.nz, legislation.co.nz 

Why should I keep my loss of rent or profit coverage when it does not cover my business during the COVID-19 lockdown?

If there was a loss such as an accidental fire, for example, at your premises which causes damage during this period and it takes up to six months to reinstate, but the lockdown only lasts for one month, then you will miss out on the rent or profit paid by the insurer during this time if you did not keep this cover. Source: Steadfast/LMI Group

Why is liability insurance still important?

Using the example above, if a fire starts at your premises which spreads to and damages the neighbour’s property, the affected third party may take legal action and claim against you. If you do not have liability insurance, you would not be able to cover the loss to or defend the action against the other party. Source: Steadfast/LMI Group

I own a rental property however my property manager is unable to carry out regular inspections, will this have an effect on my cover?

The insurance companies are aware that during Alert Level 3 and 4, it is not possible for inspections to be carried out. As long as there are records that inspections were carried out prior to the pandemic, this will not have an impact on the policy response for legitimate and acceptable claims. Inspections should be carried out as soon as possible after lockdown is lifted and as required before the next renewal date. Source: Ando, Vero, NZI, icnz.org.nz

During this lockdown period, my tenant has to close his/her business down and therefore, my property is unoccupied? Am I still covered?

Most insurers have agreed to continue to insure unoccupied properties for the reasonable period of time during this Covid-19 pandemic until all parties have had the opportunity to review insurances but not exceeding 12 months or the expiry date and/or until the tenant is allowed to reoccupied after the current alert level is reduced. If the tenant vacates after the lockdown period, please let us know as the insurance company must be notified within 30 days. Source: Ando, Vero, NZI

I have a contract works insurance policy, but due to the lockdown, contract works have been stopped until this lockdown has been lifted, what does this mean for my insurance?

Most insurers have agreed to remove the ‘Cessation of Work’ exclusion during lockdown or have provided 60-90 days extension in the policy. Reasonable care at construction sites should be carried out by:

  • Securing their site as reasonably practicable. 
  • Removing any valuable items to a secure place. 
  • Ensuring any materials on site are securely locked up or stored off-site. 
  • Have photos on hand of work completed up to date (if possible)

Source: Ando, NZI

The WOF for my vehicle will expire during lockdown, will my vehicle still be covered?

Your car will still be covered by your insurance policy if the accident or damage is not caused by an existing safety issue that would not get a WOF - e.g. tyres needing to be replaced. It is recommended that any WOF that has expired during this period is replaced as soon as possible after the lockdown period ends. Source: icnz.org.nz, Ando, Vero

Can I cancel my insurance and restart it later?

If you cancel your insurance, an application for new insurance is usually treated by insurance companies as a brand-new policy. In addition, any loss or damage to your house/contents/car that does occur while the cover is cancelled will not be covered. However, we strongly advise against cancelling your insurance as the policies cover other unexpected losses that can occur such as fire, water damage, theft and burglary. Source: LMI/Steadfast, Vero

Phone: (09) 525 3232
Email: enquiry@sit.co.nz
351a Great South Road. Ellerslie
Auckland 1051