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Insurance Claims NZ

How do insurance claims work in NZ?

If you’re looking to lodge an insurance claim with Gerrards Insurance Brokers, please contact us at your earliest convenience. However, if you’re seeking to better understand the intricacies of insurance claims in New Zealand, feel free to read on.

Topics covered

Defining Insurance and Insurance Claims

Explanation of What an Insurance Claim Is

At its core, an insurance claim is a formal request submitted by a policyholder to an insurance company seeking compensation for a covered loss or policy event. When this claim is approved, the insurance company will pay the policyholder directly or to those on their behalf, such as a broker or repair shop.

Types of Insurance Claims Relevant to Businesses

In a business context, there are thousands of different types of insurance claims. These can include Professional Indemnity, Public Liability, Business Interruption, and Tool Theft. Each caters to different types of risks, such as professional errors, injuries or damages to the public caused by your business, interruptions to your business operations, and theft of crucial business tools.

Basic Principles of Insurance Claims

Insurance claims operate on key principles, such as utmost good faith, indemnity, and contribution. Utmost good faith requires all parties to reveal all relevant details honestly. Indemnity ensures the policyholder isn’t better off after a claim than before. Contribution applies when more than one policy covers the same risk. All of these principles maintain a fair, functioning system.

How Insurance Claims Work in New Zealand

General Process of Filing an Insurance Claim in NZ

Filing an insurance claim in New Zealand typically involves notifying your insurer or broker about the incident, providing detailed information about the event, submitting any necessary documents (receipts, invoices, police reports, etc.), and cooperating during investigations or assessments.

Timeframes Involved in Claims Handling

While the timeframe for claims handling varies, insurers are bound by the ‘Fair Insurance Code’ to handle claims promptly. If information is complete and circumstances are straightforward, claims are often resolved within a few weeks. Complex cases may take several months.

What Information You Need to File an Insurance Claim

When filing an insurance claim, accurate details about the incident, the damage caused, relevant dates, and any third parties involved are necessary. Documents supporting your claim—like photos of damage, police reports (for theft or vandalism), and invoices or receipts—are also critical.

Legal Requirements Around Insurance Claims in NZ

The legal landscape of insurance claims in New Zealand revolves around the ‘Insurance Law Reform Act 1977,’ which obligates policyholders to disclose material facts and prohibits insurers from avoiding contracts except in cases of non-disclosure or misrepresentation. Claims must be made promptly, and the policyholder has the duty to minimize loss.

The Role of an Insurance Broker in the Claims Process

Overview of the Role of an Insurance Broker

Insurance brokers act as intermediaries between clients and insurers. They help clients understand their risk profile, find appropriate coverage, and advocate for them during the claims process.

The Broker’s Role in Advocating for the Client

An insurance broker uses their expertise to ensure the client receives a fair settlement. They may help gather necessary documentation, liaise with assessors, and negotiate with insurers on the client’s behalf.

How a Broker Can Help Simplify the Claims Process

Navigating insurance claims can be daunting. Brokers simplify this process by explaining complex policy terms, guiding clients through claims submission, and handling insurer communications.

How Brokers Help to Save Time and Stress for the Business Owner

With a broker like Gerrards, business owners can focus on running their business, leaving the often-time-consuming claims process in capable hands.

The Importance of a Broker in Managing Complex Claims

Complex claims may involve large sums, contentious liability issues, or tricky policy clauses. A broker’s knowledge can be invaluable in these cases, ensuring you’re not short-changed.

Examples of Situations Where a Broker Can Be Particularly Helpful

Here are four hypothetical scenarios illustrating the benefits of a broker:

Professional Indemnity

A client sues your IT business for a software flaw. Your broker clarifies whether your professional indemnity insurance covers this and guides you through the claim.

Public Liability

An individual slips and breaks there laptop on your premise. Your broker gives you advice around CCTV footage and witnesses, aiding your public liability claim.

Business Interruption 

A fire causes your restaurant to close for two months. Your broker helps calculate lost income for your business interruption claim.

Tool Theft

Tools are stolen from your construction site. Your broker assists with the police report and replacement receipts needed for the claim.

Common Misconceptions about Insurance Claims

Dispelling Common Myths about the Claim Process

Myth 1: “All claims are approved.”

Not true. Approval depends on your coverage and circumstances of the event.

Myth 2: “Claiming always increases your premiums.”

Not necessarily. It depends on the claim type, frequency, and your insurer’s policies.

Myth 3: “Claims processes are too complex to navigate.”

With the help of a broker like Gerrards, the process can be much smoother.

How Gerrards Helps to Address and Overcome These Misconceptions

At Gerrards, we make the insurance process transparent and understandable, dispelling myths and assisting clients through each step of the claims journey.

Frequently Asked Questions about Insurance Claims

Addressing Common Questions about the Insurance Claim Process

How quickly should I report an incident?

As soon as possible. The sooner you report an incident, the easier it is to gather evidence and process the claim. Delays can complicate the claims process and may even lead to claim denial in some cases.

What if my claim is denied?

If your claim is denied, an insurance broker can review the decision, help you understand the reasons behind it, and may guide you in appealing the decision. It’s crucial to understand your policy well to avoid situations that could lead to claim denial. If you are still not happy with this outcome you can lay a formal complaint with the insurer. They are required to have a complaints process which they will outline to you when ask to make a formal complaint. 

What kind of documentation will I need to provide when filing a claim?

Typically, you will need to provide any documents that can substantiate your claim. These can include invoices, receipts, contracts, police reports, and photos of damage. The specific documents required can vary based on the type of claim.

How long does it take to process an insurance claim?

The time to process an insurance claim can vary greatly. Factors that influence this include the complexity of the claim, the thoroughness of the provided documentation, and the insurer’s response time. As a general rule, it’s good to expect the process to take a few weeks, but it may extend to a few months in more complex cases.

How does an excess impact my insurance claim?

An excess is the amount you’re required to pay towards each claim. It’s a way to share the risk between you and the insurer. A higher excess usually results in lower premiums but means you’ll pay more in the event of a claim.

Will claiming affect my future insurance premiums?

This depends on your insurer’s policies, the type and frequency of claims. Frequent claims or a single large claim may result in a premium increase, as it signals to your insurer that you’re a high-risk client. A broker can give you a better understanding of how claims might impact your premiums.


Navigating insurance claims in New Zealand can be complex, but understanding the basics, including the invaluable role of an insurance broker, can make a big difference. At Gerrards Insurance Brokers, we pride ourselves on our commitment to making this process smooth and straightforward.

For comprehensive cover and a hassle-free claim process, contact us at Gerrards Insurance Brokers. Your peace of mind is our priority.

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