21 Jan 2014

Hundreds of claims filed to EQC

9:44 pm on 21 January 2014

Insurers are starting to count the cost of a strong earthquake in the lower North Island as hundreds of claims are filed with the Government's insurer.

The 6.2-magnitude quake struck at 3.52pm on Monday and was centred 15km east of Eketahuna in the Tararua District. While it didn't result in any reports of damage or serious injury, there have been numerous reports of damage to property.

John Hart at his Mauriceville home.

John Hart at his Mauriceville home. Photo: RNZ

The Ireland family in front of their broken ranchslider.

The Ireland family in front of their broken ranchslider. Photo: RNZ

The Earthquake Commission said on Tuesday it has received more than 650 claims mainly from the Wellington, Wairarapa and Manawatu regions. Most are for minor damage to homes or damaged contents.

EQC says while it is too early to say when assessors will start, homeowners should hang onto their damaged items until they are visited by an assessor.

Some residents living close to the quake's epicentre say they might have wait for up to six months for an assessor to check their homes.

John Hart, who lives at Mauriceville near Eketahuna, says the quake was the biggest he has ever experienced there. Mr Hart says there isn't a room in his house that hasn't been affected and he's been told to expect a wait.

"They told us it would be some time from today to six months before the assessor comes out. So we're just going to have to wait and see what happens as far as repairs go and replacing broken things."

At John and Marie Ireland's home in Mauriceville, the lounge-room floor is now crooked, parts of the kitchen bench have collapsed, and family heirlooms and multiple windows are smashed.

Mrs Ireland says they watched the walls flex during the quake. "We've just put a new fire in and it was dancing. It's cracked ... it was just moving all over the place."

Meanwhile, private insurers including AA Insurance, State, AMI and NZI say they have received a handful of claims for damage to home and contents.

They say there are no plans to put an exclusion zone in place, which means new policies cannot be issued until seismic activity has settled down.

Insurers say people who wish to lodge a claim should keep their damaged items or take photos. People have until 22 April to file their claim with the Earthquake Commission.