Temporary accommodation benefits still an issue for some Canterbury residents

The Insurance & Savings Ombudsman Scheme continues to receive calls from Canterbury residents who are not eligible for a temporary accommodation benefit when their homes are being repaired or rebuilt.

“This is particularly an issue for people who have moved into earthquake-damaged houses since the earthquakes, and have to move out for repairs,” says Insurance & Savings Ombudsman Karen Stevens.

Temporary accommodation benefits may be payable under house or contents insurance policies.

Temporary accommodation benefits usually apply when, at the time of the damage:
· The insurance policy was in force
· You were living in the house; and
· You had to move out because of that damage

“If you fall outside of this scope, for example you weren’t living in the house at the time of damage, or your insurance policy was not in force when the damage occurred, it is unlikely you will be covered for temporary accommodation,” says Karen.

“It’s important to read the particular wording of your insurance policy, which sets out when you are eligible,” says Karen. “If, when you bought your house, you also took on the previous owner’s insurance claim, we recommend you ask your solicitor to check the documents. Usually, unless it is specifically mentioned in the documents, the temporary accommodation benefit under the previous owner’s policy will not be transferred to you.”

See the ISO Scheme temporary accommodation info sheet.

Contact the Residential Advisory Service for free and independent advice on Canterbury earthquake issues: https://advisory.org.nz