The reality of the recent earthquakes is that homes and personal belongings may have been impacted. While St John cannot speed up the formal process of land assessment or house renovation, we can provide you with access to a variety of organisations that might be able to help you along the way. 


The first two things that you MUST do are;

  • contact EQC and
  • contact your Insurance company to register a claim

    Remember to check with your insurance company before engaging with any of these companies to check the impact on your insurance cover and ensure that your costs will be covered as far as possible.

    Earthquake insurance advisory: Temporary Accommodation
    The Insurance Council of New Zealand advise people who have uninhabitable homes due to earthquake damage to contact their insurer directly for help with temporary accommodation. Most home policies as well as contents policies provide cover for temporary accommodation and emergency evacuation.  Each policy wording will differ so people should check with their insurer. People who are renting and only have contents insurance may not be aware that they probably will also have cover for temporary accommodation. 
    Key points from Home policies:
    Contact your insurer first – they must agree

    • The home needs to be uninhabitable due to loss
    • Covers you and your domestic pets
    • The choice of temporary accommodation needs to be reasonable i.e. a similar standard to your existing house
    • It doesn’t cover additional costs such as travel, letting fees, utilities, meals, phone, internet
    • You are covered, even if the damage to your house is under $100k EQC cap
    • Limit of cover will be to a dollar value – each policy is different, so check
    • Some insurers will pay you direct and others you’ll get reimbursed –  discuss with your insurer
    • Some policies will also cover you where your home is otherwise safe and sanitary, but you are prevented from accessing it by order or direction of government or local authorities
    • Reasonable moving or storage costs are covered
      To decide what counts as uninhabitable, insurers will assess on a case by case basis and are likely to ask questions such as:
      Is the home safe and structurally stable?
    • Is the home secure against theft and outside elements (e.g. watertight?)
    • Can the kitchen and bathroom be used?
    • Can people sleep in the home?
    • Is there water? Electricity?
      Key points from Contents policies:
    • If you are renting and only have Contents insurance, check with your insurer as most insurers will cover your temporary accommodation
    • There must be damage caused to your contents to be eligible for the temporary accommodation benefit

    Insurers will also pay for the temporary storage of your contents – including removal and returns.
    Reasonable costs of emergency evacuation is also often covered in home and contents policies if the evacuation is due to safety concerns or other emergency and the police or a local authority has advised against you living in your house or you are unable to access your home.  This cover needs to be agreed in advance with your inssurer. Residential body corporates should contact their insurance broker, if they have one, or their insurance company directly.



    For peace of mind with regard to your home and your land please contact the Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand (click here) on 0800 2424 4357.  You will receive free advice and support and a recommendation about local engineers that can help you if appropriate.  You MUST have contacted the EQC before contacting IPENZ. 



    Legal support 

    To provide support if required:


    • Use the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman website (click here) to help you resolve any disputes that arise.  They provide free and independent advice



    'Time Out'

    The time out facility is available to members in earthquake affected areas who need to have a break for few days. This support is usually needed as the reality of the situation and longer term recovery needs becomes more real to people.  It’s available to those with significant emotional or financial needs/ hardship.

    Timeout should be discussed with – and supported by - the relevant manager and an email sent to so we can help arrange things.

    Time out Parameters:

    • Time out is available to people in ‘affected areas’ and their immediate dependants (e.g. children or elderly parents under their care).
    • Costs will principally cover travel and accommodation. 
    • The average support is around $1,000 - $1,500.
    • Managers must be consulted before HR receives the request for time out. They will then forward to the relevant senior manager for sign off prior to organising travel through HR Travel Co-ordinators.  
    • A designated co-ordinator will maintain a record of costs and names etc. on a central spreadsheet in National HQ which will remain confidential to them and those directly involved. 

    This website here may also have some options for you if you are looking for time away:

    • Book-a-batch (click here) - we don’t have any special offers negotiated for St John with this website, but it’s a great place to find out about short term accommodation options around the region – or even a place for a short break



    Leave and pay provisions

    If you have questions or need any help regarding special leave provisions, pay or options to address short term financial hardship (for volunteer or paid members), please contact your manager in the first instance or the HR Support Services Team on 0800 STJ PAY (0800 785 729).


    While we have tried to ensure that any company included here are of good quality and reputation, your decision to use them is undertaken entirely at your own risk and St John cannot be held responsible for any issues that arise.

    Please remember to ensure that you only deal with competent and qualified tradespersons if you need to repair your home. 

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