Insurers are facing higher costs and are moving to price insurance according to property location and history.
Wellingtonians and Cantabrians hate stories like this. Through no fault of their own, property owners in these regions could soon face an insurance premium price hike, as insurers reassess their rates following a jump in the Earthquake Commission (EQC) levy.
But a hike in premiums won’t be limited to properties in these regions, alone. Historic flooding over the last two years, and the weather event that was Cyclone Gabrielle, exposed property risks and vulnerabilities in other regions. Coupled with higher building costs and greater risk of natural disasters, property owners everywhere are now paying more for insurance.
The days when insurers priced house insurance according to property size and type, regardless of its location, are well and truly over.
Analysis by online financial resource provider MoneyHub shows differences between regions, comparing the cost of insuring a single-storey, brick-and-tile property with a sum insured value of $700,000.
Premiums varied significantly around the country, even when sticking with the same insurer.
Our nation’s capital is dissected by a major fault and prone to shaking. Wellington is also hilly and close to the coast, adding landslides and tsunamis to the mix. Few things make insurers more nervous, which is why it can cost significantly more to insure a home in Wellington than it would in Auckland.
Insuring MoneyHub’s model home in Wellington for a year with Tower Insurance would cost $3,240. Insuring the same house situated in the Auckland suburb of Mt Wellington would cost $1,825.
Wider Wellington region
Several other Wellington suburbs are also on shaky ground. Porirua is on the Ohariu Fault and the Moonshine Fault lies to the north-east of the city. Porirua is also exposed to a sea-level rise and storm surges. The Hutt Valley is another area at risk. The Wellington Fault runs all the way up the valley to the Tararua Ranges, while the Hutt River follows the fault line south into Wellington Harbour. According to MoneyHub, the annual cost to insure a home in Upper Hutt ranged from $2,357 with AMP to $4,214 with Initio.
It’s a pretty part of the world, but isolation and complicated accessibility, while great for solitude, are potential trouble for insurers. Severe flooding in Marlborough in July 2021 and August 2022 resulted in 8,000 landslides. Some properties are likely to be uninsurable.
The “winterless north” is wetter than it used to be, thanks to recent cyclones and severe weather events. Add in rising sea levels and storm surges and suddenly Whangarei and other low-lying areas of Northland look a little more vulnerable than they used to. Insurers think likewise.
Westport is built on a floodplain, flanked by two rivers and the sea. Mother Nature has given it a beating. In 2021, flooding caused by heavy rain forced the evacuation of more than 2,000 people from 826 properties in and around the town. Last year, the town recorded its wettest February in almost 80 years. Moves are afoot to improve the town’s flood defences, but until that happens insurers will tread carefully.
Parts of Hawke’s Bay were devastated by major flooding during Cyclone Gabrielle. Many areas have been reclassified by the council and houses in the region are under increased scrutiny by insurers. The region’s history of earthquakes is another factor in insurers’ risk assessments.
We can’t help you with insurance, but we’re more than happy to provide a full and frank assessment of a property’s strengths and weaknesses. Call 0800 GOODWINS to find a property you can afford.