During a large earthquake, considerable damage can be done to both your home and your belongings. While the first thought is to clean up the mess yourself, should you be calling the professionals to come and do it or your insurance company first?

clean up after an earthquake

Ensuring your home is safe after an earthquake

After the shaking has stopped, the safety of you and your family is paramount. If the building you are in is unsafe, then leave immediately. Offer first aid to anyone who is injured and listen to the radio for emergency updates.

Once you have done all you can and your home is safe to return to, there are a few tasks you need to take care of. The Earthquake Commission or EQC requires homeowners to take all the necessary steps they can to prevent further damage to an insured property. This means you need to:

  • Board up broken windows or doors to clean up after an earthquake
  • Cover holes in walls and roofs with tarpaulins if it is safe for you to do so
  • Turn off leaking water and gas mains

They also recommend taking photos of any damage to both buildings and belongings. These can be submitted to the EQC and your insurance company when you make a claim.

clean up after an earthquake

Beginning the clean up after an earthquake

The Earthquake Commission recommends that immediately following an earthquake, you should do everything you can to ensure your home is habitable and safe from further damage. However, this only includes jobs that you can safely do yourself. If there is any chance of putting yourself or someone else in danger, then call the professional tradesmen in first!

You can:

  • Clean up after an earthquake any broken glass, crockery or ornaments, but don’t throw the pieces away.
  • Get a plumber in to repair broken toilets or water systems. Keep the receipts as you may be able to claim back the cost of these repairs from EQC or your insurance company.
  • Throw out any ruined or spilt perishable food. Make sure you record the names and volume (where practical or known) of the items.

If you have a camera handy, taking photos of all the damage is a great way of proving what has happened. EQC have a helpful photo taking guide about using photos as evidence for your insurance claim.

Contacting your insurance company after an earthquake

Any claim you make to your insurance company or EQC must be within three months of the earthquake event. Apart from the essential repairs, you need the agreement of EQC or/and your insurance company before you can engage the services of a professional for repair work. This means the cost of replacing broken or damaged appliances, furniture or the building itself must be pre-approved by your insurer.

The claim process can be long and painful. But please do not clean up or dispose of anything other than perishable food. Your insurer will need to assess the damage first and will then tell you what you can dispose of.

Once you have the approval to clean up after an earthquake, our team of professional tradespeople are more than happy to help you out. List your job today and we’ll get working on seeking those repair quotes for you straight away.