Insurance Coverage in a Natural Disaster

February 2023

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

In the wake of the recent devastating flooding in Auckland it is timely to consider updating your renters’ insurance. While landlord's insurance covers damage to the property this insurance does not cover a tenant's personal belongings and chattels that are not fixed. 

Why Do I Need Renters’ Insurance? 

It's important that tenants take out their own contents insurance to protect their belongings. Dealing with the aftermath of an unforeseen weather event such as the one we have just experienced is hard enough without the added financial stress of replacing personal items that were not covered by insurance. A landlord's insurance policy will cover damage to the exterior and interior of the property (including fixed furnishings and fixed chattels) but unfortunately it does not cover a tenant's own personal belongings. 

Insurers will often offer insurance specifically targeted towards tenants called renters’ insurance. Renters’ insurance is often very similar to contents insurance, but it does include additional liability protection. However, a new law passed in 2019 which minimises a tenant’s liability for damage. 

Read all about why tenants need their own insurance, including the need for tenant liability insurance in our recent article. 

Are Chattels Covered by Landlord Insurance? 

Landlord insurance usually covers fixed chattels such as wall ovens, dishwashers and heat pumps but it often doesn't cover unfixed chattels such as washing machines and televisions. Similarly, landlord insurance should cover fixed floor coverings such as carpet but it will not cover loose floor coverings, including rugs and mats. 

What are the Landlord's Responsibilities Following a Flood? 

Landlords are responsible for maintaining their rental properties, and this includes managing the clean-up from natural disasters such as floods. The landlord or their property manager will be responsible for drying out the property (which includes any associated electricity costs) and attending to any repairs to the exterior and interior. 

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