Ways to make your rental home earthquake safe
Take steps now to make your rental home safer so you and your family get back on track more quickly if a natural disaster happens. Find out more about private insurance for your contents, securing furniture and any maintenance required.

Secure tall and heavy furniture
Tall and heavy furniture like bookshelves, drawers, TVs and whiteware can cause damage and injury if they fall during an earthquake.
Fastening furniture and items to walls and adding latches to cupboard doors will stop them from flying open and help reduce the risk of damage. Ask your landlord or property manager if they agree to you taking these steps and whether you will need to remove the fastenings and repair the walls at the end of your tenancy.
Remember to secure valuables with Blu Tack or quake wax and non-slip mats too.

Secure hot water cylinders
If your rental has a hot water cylinder, check that it’s secured with straps and timber blocks at the floor and against the walls.
This will reduce the chance of water damage from a natural disaster – not just to the things in your household but also to the property. If it’s not secured, ask your landlord or property manager to do this, or offer to secure it yourself. You can buy a kit from local hardware stores and do it yourself.

Make sure your rental is strong
Find out what to check for when looking at how safe your rental is in a natural disaster.
Check the design, construction and maintenance of things like:
Talk to your landlord or property manager about any concerns you may have. If you have talked with your landlord and still have concerns that possible issues with your rental property aren’t being addressed, the Tenancy Services website has information about dealing with disputes.
Make sure you also know how to turn off gas, water and electricity before you have to do it in an emergency.

Insure your contents
Make sure you have private insurance to cover the cost of damage or loss of your household things.
The Earthquake Commission Act automatically gives some cover if you have private contents insurance (that includes fire insurance) when a natural disaster happens. This is called EQCover and it’s paid up to a maximum of $20,000 + GST. If your loss is greater than this, then you will need to talk to your private insurer about payment of the rest.
Key things to check:
  • Make sure you know what EQC covers and what your private insurer covers, as well as what they won’t cover (these are known as exclusions).
  • Check that you’ll have enough private insurance cover to replace your contents after a natural disaster, and review this regularly so that it keeps pace with any change in the value of your contents.
  • Can you find your insurance documents? These include the policy wording as well as your policy schedule. When a disaster strikes you’ll want to be able to access these documents easily. Store hard copies in a safe place and/or upload a copy to the cloud.

- Kindly provided by EQC
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