Recovery: What to do after an emergency
This page provides messages about recovery.
Recovering after an emergency can be a long and stressful process, but there are some steps you can take to get back on your feet as quickly and safely as possible.
Some emergencies require specific recovery measures – learn what to do here:
Floods, earthquakes and other emergencies may cause breakdowns in normal household services such as water supplies, waste disposal (including sewerage) and refrigeration. This can pose a health risk.
Because food and water are easily contaminated during emergencies, you need to take extra care to avoid getting sick.
Please note that this advice may differ depending on the type of event and the impact it has had on you and your community. For example, specific advice for a flood event may differ to advice for severe weather or earthquakes.
- If you have been affected by a disaster, get in touch with your insurer or insurance broker as soon as you can to lodge a claim and understand how they can help. More information about talking to your insurer is here.
- Talk to your insurer to check if you can make a claim if you can no longer live safely in your whare/home, have suffered loss, sustained damage, or suffered a business interruption loss as a result of the event
- Your insurance company will talk you through the claim process and let you know what you need to do next.
Urgent repairs and recovery
- Do not do anything that puts your safety at risk or causes more damage to your property.
- Always wear protective gear, including gloves and masks, in case you’re exposed to hazardous material.
- Do what you need to do to make your whare/home safe, sanitary and weather-tight but if possible don’t do non-essential repairs. Record the work you have done.
- Get essential services repaired and keep copies of invoices.
- Damaged sewage and effluent systems are health hazards. Contact a certified drainlayer or plumber to fix damaged septic tanks, leaking pipes, cesspools, pits, effluent and leaching systems as soon as possible.
- Contact your local council about any sewage or effluent system damage past the footpath.
- Take photos and videos of any damage and note down the details of valuable items.
- If it’s safe, don’t dispose of anything until you’ve spoken to your insurer as it will help speed up assessments of your claims.
- Be sure to take photos of perishable or unsanitary items before you dispose of them.
Toka Tū Ake EQC has partnered with insurers to provide a single point of contact for residential insurance customers. You should contact your insurer to make a claim for damage from natural hazards.
To be eligible for EQCover due to natural disaster damage, you must have a home insurance policy that includes fire cover, with a private insurance company when the natural disaster damage occurred (most do).
If you rent your property, contact your landlord and your contents insurance company as soon as possible. More details about insurance for renters is here. Only undertake essential repairs and record the mahi/work done. Be sure to take photos and keep a copy of the bills paid.
Take photos of any damage. It will help speed up assessments of your claims.
Making a claim
If you have been affected by an event, you should contact your insurer as soon as possible to ensure the claims process is as easy and efficient as possible.
There is plenty of time to make a claim with Toka Tū Ake EQC or your private insurer. The sooner you get in touch, the sooner they can help you get the claim process underway to help you get things back to normal.
Temporary accommodation for unsafe residential property / buildings
Your City or District Council in New Zealand may issue a “Section 124” Building Act notice if a residential building is deemed to be dangerous and poses a risk to people’s health and safety. Find out how Toka Tū Ake EQC is involved and what it means for you.
If your whare/home or building is not safe or is uninhabitable because of damage, contact your insurer to discuss whether your insurance will cover the cost of alternative accommodation.
If you need to leave your property, friends and whānau/family may be able to help. You can also contact your local CDEM group for advice about emergency accommodation, or contact MBIE’s Temporary Accommodation Service.
Try to keep pets calm and under control so that they don’t try to run away. Keep leashes and pet-carrier boxes handy. Make sure your pets have plenty of water.
The behaviour of pets may change dramatically after any disruption, becoming aggressive or defensive. They may become disoriented, particularly if the emergency has affected scent markers that normally allow them to find their way home. Be aware of their wellbeing and take measures to protect them from hazards and to ensure the safety of other people and animals.
Livestock may also experience distress and their behaviour may change after an emergency. Be aware of their wellbeing and ensure they are secure, have food and water, and are safe. Prevent livestock or other animals from accessing pooled water where there is a risk of contamination from effluent or chemicals.
Emergencies are scary and it’s perfectly normal to feel stressed or anxious afterwards. It’s okay not to be okay: don’t be afraid to talk to others about how you feel and to seek help if you need it.