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Homeowners should use a Registered Quantity Surveyor (Reg QS) to help them make sure their property is fully insured, the NZ Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS) says.

NZIQS president Jeremy Shearer says now, following the Kaikoura earthquake, is a good time for all residential and commercial building owners to take stock of their policies.

“Engage a Registered Quantity Surveyor to determine your insurance values. They are building cost experts, and will be able to tell property owners exactly how much insurance they need.

“That way homeowners and building owners can have confidence they won’t be caught short if disaster strikes.

His advice comes off the back of the Insurance and Financial Services Ombudsman’s, Karen Stevens, warning about learning from the underinsured.

Currently, most homeowners and insurers agree on the amount the insurer will pay, called a ‘sum insured’, or they accept a default figure.

This method is a change from the previous practice of insurers paying whatever it costs to rebuild the house. The change was prompted by the Christchurch earthquakes, after which many insurers discovered their liability was much higher than had been expected.

Mr Shearer says very few people seek insurance replacement advice because the default option is provided by the insurers.

So, in cases of revising insurance policies, he says using a professional should be ‘a must’ as doing so without the right advice could prove costly.

“People must remember that the sum insured amount is not the current value of your house, but the total cost of rebuilding it.

“Even if the property was professionally inspected when the insurance companies changed to a sum insured basis, it would pay to have the property re-inspected now, and do it regularly because construction costs don’t remain static.”


For further information contact Jeremy Shearer (027) 473-0869

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