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Christchurch earthquake claims

Updated: Thursday 8 December 2011

The Government has made announcements on the status of the land for a large number of properties.

The positive news is that now people have choices and can begin to work through the solution that will be best for them. TOWER is supportive of the options provided by the Government and will be working to help those affected to move forward as quickly as possible.

For land status, related information and updates on your property and the recovery strategy visit The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) is the agency leading and coordinating the ongoing recovery effort following the devastating earthquakes of September 2010 and February 2011.

Which zone is my house in?

The greater Christchurch region has been mapped into four zones – Green, Orange, White and Red – using a number of factors, including:

  • the extent and severity of the land damage;
  • the risk of additional damage to land and buildings;
  • the extent of rebuilding required for infrastructure;
  • the economic feasibility of timely land repairs; and
  • the possible extent of social disruption / impact on communities.

To check which zone your property is in, please visit the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) website and enter your address. Alternatively, you can contact the Government helpline on 0800 779 997 if you are unable to access the website.

What do the different zones mean?

Residential Green Zone – the repair / rebuild process can begin

  • No significant land issues
  • Land damage may be present, but can be repaired
  • Insurers can continue claim settlements.

There are about 100,000 homes in the residential green zone.

Residential Orange Zone – hold, further assessment required

  • New damage following event on 13 June 2011 requires further assessment
  • Land damage ranges from moderate to severe
  • Many buildings are uneconomic to repair
  • Extent of infrastructure damage is unclear.

There are about 10,000 homes in the residential orange zone.

Residential White Zone – unzoned, unmapped

  • The Port Hills – the event on 13 June 2011 has caused further extensive damage. Mapping and assessment is underway.

Residential Red Zone – remediation would be prolonged and uneconomic

  • Land has suffered significant and extensive damage
  • Most buildings are uneconomic to repair
  • High risk of further damage to land and buildings
  • Infrastructure needs to be completely rebuilt
  • Land repair solutions would be difficult to implement, prolonged and disruptive.

There are about 5,000 homes in the residential red zone.

I’m in the Red Zone - what does this mean for me?

We now know what is happening with the land and the Government has outlined two options for residents which will allow them to choose how they go forward, based on their individual circumstances.

These options are outlined below and also available to you on or by calling 0800 779 997.

Option one – purchase of whole property

The Crown will pay:

  • the rateable value of the entire Property (land and buildings) as of 2007;
  • less any dwelling insurance payments already received by the Property Owner in respect of the Property in relation to any earthquake that occurred following 3 September 2010 (within the terms of the Policy).

In respect of any Property that is, under its Policy:

  • insured for a fixed sum which is less than its rateable value; or
  • insured for a lesser square meterage than its actual size,

the purchase price [may] be reduced on a pro rata basis relative to the percentage that the Property is underinsured, as determined by the private insurer who underwrites that Policy.

Option two – purchase of land only

The Crown will pay the greater of:

  • the rateable value of the land only as of 2007; or
  • the EQC valuation for the minimum lot size applicable;
  • less any payments already received by the Property Owner from EQC in respect of the Property in relation to any earthquake that occurred following 3 September 2010.

The Property Owner will retain the right to claim under his or her Policy and with EQC for dwelling insurance in respect of the Property.

Next steps

You should receive an offer pack from the Government in the near future. The following information outlines what TOWER’s obligations would be under option two.

Customer Position TOWER's Responsibility (subject to the applicable policy terms & conditions)
No damage No liability
Damage to drives, fences, pathways and pools only Drives, fences, pathways and pool costs only
Under cap - repair Drives, fences, pathways and pool costs only
Over cap - repair Drives, fences, pathways and pool costs, plus the dwelling repair costs over the cap
Over cap - rebuild
  • Cost to build elsewhere
  • Cost to buy elsewhere
  • If you decide not to build or buy elsewhere cash settlement will be based on Present Day Value or Market Value (depending on Policy)

Important definitions

Under cap - If the cost of repairing the damage to your house / rebuild does not exceed the maximum amount the EQC will pay.

Over cap - If the cost of repairing the damage to your house / rebuild exceeds the maximum amount the EQC will pay.

In the meantime we will continue to progress your claim. Although we will not be able to reinstate your property, we can still determine the cost of your claim and will continue to work through this process. The following diagram outlines this process further.

What if I want to move out of my house now?

If you are in the Red Zone and wish to leave your badly damaged home, please contact us to talk about accessing any unused portion of your temporary accommodation allowance immediately.

The Crown also has temporary accommodation assistance available, so this means that people in the Red Zone have the choice not to live in substandard conditions. Visit for more information.

Key contacts

Earthquake Commission (EQC)
Phone     0800 DAMAGE (0800 326 243)

FinTel Insurance
Phone     0800 847 015

Earthquake Government Helpline (24 hours)
Phone     0800 779 997

Healthline (24 hours)
Phone     0800 611 116

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA)

  • 45 Queen Street, Auckland. PO Box 90347, Auckland 1142
  • Phone: 0800 847 015
  • Fax: 0800 222 636
  • Email:

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