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Insurance cover on islands

The North Island and the South Island aren’t the only New Zealand islands you can live on. But will your insurance cover you?

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The North Island and the South Island aren’t the only New Zealand islands you can live on. But will your insurance cover you?

A member recently spent a year on Raoul Island and wasn’t able to get contents insurance for some of her possessions (her insurer was AMI). This got us thinking about how people who live on Great Barrier, Stewart, Waiheke or the Chatham islands arrange their house, contents or car insurance cover.

We asked the companies in our house and contents insurance surveys which islands they provide cover for. The results were surprising. While they assess on a case-by-case basis, some insurers have locations they don’t cover.

AMI (part of the IAG Group) usually insures for Waiheke Island – but for no other island including Stewart, the Chathams and Raoul.

Other insurers underwritten by IAG – such as NZI and State – don’t exclude specific locations. But factors such as the type of access to the island, the costs of transporting any building materials, the actual location, and whether the house is occupied certainly affect the underwriting criteria.

Tower and Westpac take a similar stance – as does AA Insurance, which excludes any location inaccessible by road or requires a chartered service to reach it (but it does cover Waiheke Island customers).

FMG will insure for Waiheke Island, Great Barrier Island and Stewart Island but not for the Chatham Islands.

You’ll be covered by most insurers if you take some of your possessions on a brief holiday to one of these islands. But if you’re after a lifestyle change and are thinking of joining the handful of Consumer members already living on the Chatham Islands, Stewart Island or Great Barrier Island, then you’ll need to check with your insurance company about whether it’ll still cover you.

Waiheke Island seems the best option. Most insurers provide cover for Waiheke residents – a pity about the property prices!