For most people, your home will be the most valuable asset you own. With all the providers and policies available out there, it can be time consuming to gather all the relevant information and choose the best cover for you.
This guide will explain what you should consider to make an informed choice about the best home insurance policy for you.
What is home insurance?
Home insurance protects you by insuring your home against the risk of sudden, unforeseen or accidental damage like fire or flood.
Home insurance policies cover most of the physical structures on your property – like your house, fences, or garage. Most policies also cover structures like retaining walls and recreational features like swimming pools. However, the value of the cover is often capped. You can choose to increases these caps for a higher premium.
At Money Compare, we are here to help you make an informed decision about home insurance in New Zealand. We have provided a brief outline of recent changes to home insurance in New Zealand, main types and levels of home insurance in New Zealand, and factors to consider when choosing your home insurance policy.
Compare home insurance policies with our top insurance partners.
How expensive is home insurance in New Zealand?
New Zealand has seen changes in the way insurance is priced in recent years. In the past, insurers tended to price insurance equally based on property size regardless of where you lived.
Our unique landscape means that across the country, hazards and risks like floods, earthquakes and landslips mean that some places are riskier to live than others. Natural disasters, like the Christchurch earthquakes and cost of subsequent recovery efforts led to Earthquake Commission (EQC) and Fire Service levies.
In mid-2018, several large insurers introduced 'full risk-based pricing'. This means they consider your property’s location and history when determining the price to insure your home. This means that insurers now don’t share; the risk with policy holders in less risky areas. If you live in areas like Christchurch, Kaikoura or Wellington you may have seen a significant increase in the cost of home insurance.
Types of home insurance cover in New Zealand
As with all types of insurance, you should consider the type of insurance that suits your needs, and how much you want to pay for insurance. The main types of home insurance cover are:
- Basic policies – this type of policy may only cover you for major adverse events like fire, theft or damage
- Comprehensive policies – will cover you for major adverse events and accidental damage to your home cause by you or your family.
Both of types of policies cover your legal liability if you accidentally damage someone else’s property.
Levels of home insurance cover:
- Fixed sum insurance – this is the most common type of insurance cover. You and your insurance company will agree a total amount that your home is insured for. This is the amount they will pay up to if your home is destroyed.
- Indemnity (present day value) – this covers what your home was worth just before any damage or loss. Your insurer will rebuild or repair your house up to that limit.
- Total replacement – This means your insurer will pay to rebuild or repair your home up to the total size you insured it for, paying all professional fees or demolition costs for the reconstruction process.
Fixed sum insurance - How much should you insure your home for?
Fixed sum insurance policies are the most common type of home insurance in New Zealand, they require you to set your level of insurance at a capped amount.
The ‘sum insured’ is the highest amount that your insurer will pay out if your house is damaged beyond repair. Keep in mind this is a maximum amount paid - If the actual cost of repairing or replacing you home if less than the sum insured, the insurer will not pay out ‘extra’.
Choosing the ‘sum insured’ can be a balancing act – if it’s too low, you may not receive enough to rebuild your home if there’s a disaster. But, if the sum insured is too high you may end up paying for insurance you don’t need.
In these types of policies, homeowners are responsible for estimating the sum insured. If you haven’t chosen a sum insured, you’re probably covered for the insurer’s default sum insured. This is an estimate based on the size of your house and a typical rebuild cost. These estimates don’t include any unique features for your property, so it’s best to review the sum insured.
If you’re not sure how to choose your sum insured, most insurers have free online calculators to help estimate the amount you think you might need. It’s a good idea to review these costs every year, and adjust your sum insured if needed. Learn more about sum insured policies from the ICNZ.
Compare home insurance quotes with our top insurance partners
- At Money Compare we are here to help you make an informed choice about home insurance – we work with some of New Zealand’s top insurance companies.
- We recommend requesting quotes from more than one providers, so that you can compare the costs side-by-side. State Insurance and AMI Insurance are a great place to start.
- Requesting a quote online is fast and easy – it only takes around 10 minutes to collect two or three quotes.
- Switching insurers can help save you money – most insurance companies offer attractive deals for new customers.
- We recommend comparing insurance quotes and reviewing your policy every year to ensure the information in the policy is current, and that the cost remains competitive.
Tips to reduce your home insurance premiums
1. Maintain a good claims history: this may help ensure that you can get cover without additional terms like an excess. A good claims history can also help keep the cost of your insurance down, as some insurers base their pricing on number of claims.
2. Compare several quotes: shopping around and comparing quotes can help make sure you get cost effective cover. Consider the cost of the policy, premiums, and the benefits included in the policy (more comprehensive policies cost more, but offer more comprehensive cover)
3. If you have a ‘sum insured’ policy: check it regularly (once a year) to ensure that it covers the cost to rebuild your home (not the market value or what you paid for it.
4. Ask if a no claims discount is available
5. Check insurance costs before you buy a new home: check that insurance is available for the property and what it will cost (riskier areas or flood prone areas may cost more)
6. Choose a level of cover that meets your needs and matches your budget
7. Only add benefits that you need: as these will increase the cost of your insurance
8. Ask about discounts: for multiple policies with the same insurer (eg: car insurance or contents insurance), or for professionally installed security systems
Are you looking for contents insurance?
Check out our Content Insurance Best Buys guide