Things you need to know about home insurance

Whether you have a home loan or you own your home outright, having ASB Home Insurance can help cover you against the unexpected.


Getting the right policy for your home

Your home is probably the most valuable thing you’ll ever buy, so it’s important to take time to make sure you’re getting the right type and level of protection. Having home insurance cover on your property is also likely to be a requirement of your home loan. ASB Home Insurance provides comprehensive cover from accidental damage or loss, up to the sum insured amount.


What's covered

Home insurance provides you with protection if your house is damaged or destroyed. It also provides cover against a wide range of accidental and unforeseen damage that could affect your property. ASB Home Insurance covers:

  • Repairing or rebuilding your home following accidental damage or loss up to your sum insured amount
  • Recreational features such as swimming pools, tennis courts and spa pools are covered up to a total of $40,000. You can specify these for a higher amount if you need to
  • Retaining walls are covered up to a total of $20,000. If you require additional cover for these, you can let us know
  • Covers alternative accommodation costs, or loss of rent, if the house is unliveable due to accidental loss or damage, up to $12,500
  • Hidden gradual damage up to $5,000 while you are personally living at the home

Exclusions include:

  • Construction or structural renovations to your home. You will need Contract works insurance to cover this
  • If your house is unoccupied for over 60 consecutive days (you must inform us)
  • Wear and tear, depreciation, corrosion, rust, rot, mildew or gradual deterioration of your property
  • Intentional damage caused by the occupants (we do cover intentional damage caused by fire or explosion, unless caused by you or your spouse/partner)


How much insurance do you need?

Homes aren’t insured for market value, which is an estimate sale price. Homes are insured for ‘sum insured’, which is the estimated cost for a total rebuild, including things like the cost of debris removal, special features and GST. The following diagram shows how your total sum insured is calculated:

What makes up the cost of rebuilding your home?

Your rebuilding cost estimate should be what it could cost to rebuild your home on its current site to its present size and standard. This should include things like demolition, removal of debris, professional fees and compliance costs. You should also include the cost of rebuilding other structures, including decks, permanent driveway surfaces, sheds, garages and fences, as well as:

  • Recreational Features - You are automatically covered for up to $40,000 for all recreational features combined. Recreational Features include things like tennis courts or permanently fixed swimming pools or spa pools. If you need additional cover for these, you can let us know.
  • Retaining walls - You are automatically covered for up to $20,000 for all retaining walls. If you require cover for more than this, you can let us know.
  • Special Features - If your home has any special features, you will need to specify these on your policy. Special Features include things like bridges, culverts, cable cars, permanent fords or dams, wharves, piers, landings or jetties, private utility plant, including wind or water mills and generators.

Working out how much cover you need

Visit our Sum Insured page for more information and get a rebuilding cost estimate with our easy to use calculator. Alternatively, you can consult a professional to complete a valuation for insurance purposes.

The importance of an accurate valuation

If you undervalue the estimated cost to repair or rebuild your house and need to claim, you run the risk of not being able to rebuild to the same quality or size. That’s why having an accurate valuation is important.


Keep your policy up to date

Keeping your policy up to date means that should you ever need to claim, you will receive the cover you expect.

To ensure you are fully covered, you need to tell us when:

  • You have had any structural alterations done to your property. While work is being carried out, or if you are building a new home, Contract works insurance provides cover for any loss or accidental damage.
  • Your home will be unoccupied for more than 60 consecutive days, or if the property’s occupancy changes. So if you’re going away for an extended holiday, or decide to rent out your house, don’t forget to tell us. This will ensure that you are properly covered if you need to claim.

And because the value of your home is likely to change with time, we also recommend that you review your sum insured every two to three years. This should take into account increased costs of labour and materials in the building industry, and any new building code or compliances.


Ways to lower your premiums

There are a number of ways you could reduce your home insurance premiums:

  • By having a burglar alarm fitted in your home
  • By having two or more home, contents or motor policies with us
  • By being claim-free for a certain period
  • By paying your premium in one annual lump sum
  • By increasing your excess; you can choose from a range of voluntary excess options


Reducing your risks

Some accidents are unavoidable, but there are a number of ways you can reduce the risks of damage to your home.

Undertake regular maintenance

ASB Home Insurance does not cover gradual damage (though you are covered for up to $5,000 for hidden gradual damage), so taking good care of your home is the best protection against damage related to wear and tear. You can also avoid costly problems in the future by carrying out regular maintenance, such as having your heating serviced, treating mould, clearing leaves from guttering and keeping your garden under control.

Be aware of fire safety

House fires destroy properties and can be fatal. You can reduce the risk of fire at your home in a number of ways:

  • Sweep your chimney regularly
  • Position your BBQ safely, especially on a wooden deck
  • Install smoke detectors
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen
  • And always use common sense, such as don’t drink and cook, and keep matches and lighters away from children

Here is further advice from the New Zealand Fire Service on how to minimise fire risk in your home.

Be prepared for natural disasters

Earthquakes are a fact of life in New Zealand, so it’s worth taking the following steps to minimise damage should one occur:

  • Use Blu Tack or double-sided tape to stick down smaller fragile objects
  • Place non-slip mats underneath heavier items which may slide and fall
  • Bolt, bracket or strap taller items (such as cabinets or fridges) to walls to stop them falling over
  • Position heavy items in ways that will minimise damage, for example, place heavier objects on lower shelves

The New Zealand Government’s Easy Ways To Quake Safe Your Home guide provides more practical advice on how to prepare your home for an earthquake.


Only one excess if you claim

If you have home, contents and car insurance with ASB, and there’s an event that damages a combination of your home and contents and car, you only need to make one phone call and pay one excess.

You’ll also have one claims handler managing your claims, so you won’t need to repeat yourself.

Let's talk about house insurance

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0800 200 252

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Visit us at one of our many branches across New Zealand and get your insurance sorted.

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Other helpful guides

ASB general insurances are underwritten by IAG New Zealand Limited (IAG). For full details, refer to the relevant insurance policy document which is also available on request from any ASB branch or by calling 0800 200 252. The availability of insurance cover is subject to your application being approved. Exclusions apply. See further information regarding IAG’s financial strength rating. A minimum premium applies for all policies. Even if your policy qualifies for one or more discounts the total of these discounts cannot cause your premium to be less than the required minimum.

Home and contents insurance Things you need to know about home insurance