insurance companies nz

Insurance Companies in New Zealand

There are a handful of insurance companies in NZ for Kiwis to choose from. Let’s take a look at what sets them apart, and how insurance works in New Zealand.

With close to 100 licensed insurers in New Zealand, it can be tough figuring out who owns who, how each insurer is different, and which one is right for you.

If you are looking for car, home, or contents insurance, you will no doubt be familiar with the big brand insurance companies in NZ: AA Insurance, State, AMI, Tower, and recent entrant Youi.

These days most banks offer insurance too, including ANZ, ASB, BNZ, Kiwibank, TSB, Westpac, and many others. Even retailers are getting into insurance, with Warehouse Money and Countdown offering a range of insurance products to their customers.

With so many brands offering insurance in NZ, it can be tough understanding who is who, and which insurance company is best for you.

Are these brands all different insurance companies?

Many of the insurance companies in NZ trace back to Australian mega-brands. Australian based Suncorp owns the majority of AA Insurance, Vero Insurance, and Asteron Life. Then to add another layer of complexity, Vero is the insurer behind some of the AMP and Warehouse Money insurance products.

State and AMI Insurance are brands of Australian giant IAG, along with NZI. Tower is a New Zealand insurance company, owned by shareholders through the New Zealand Stock Exchange.

Youi Insurance traces back to a company called OUTsurance, based in South Africa.

If you purchase insurance through a bank, the policy has a good chance of being a Suncorp or IAG policy. Ultimately 80% of general insurance policies in New Zealand are held by these two mega brands alone.

How is Cove different?

Cove is a technology company operating within the insurance industry (often referred to as insurtech), which simply means that we are using modern technology to improve the service experience for customers.

We are a small (currently under 20 employees) but experienced team of insurance veterans and technology enthusiasts. Cove has more insurance experts and developers on the team than marketers, and we feel strongly that New Zealanders will appreciate the simplicity and clarity our products bring to the insurance industry.

Is it easy to switch insurers?

Switching your insurance company is easier than it sounds, and is actually quite common.

If you’re shopping around and comparing the various insurance companies in New Zealand you might find a policy that is more suited to your needs than the policy you already have.

Alternatively, you may choose to switch insurance companies when you are moving homes, or upgrading your car.

Switching your insurance company is as simple as getting your new policy up & running at your new preferred insurer, and then giving your old company a quick phone call to let them know to cancel the policy and not renew it for another term. Sometimes you will even receive a small refund of any unused premiums! For more details on how to cancel an insurance policy, speak with your existing insurer and they will be able to help.

Even if you don’t want to switch insurer when your policy is due for renewal, it is still a good idea to review your existing insurance policies. Over a year the value of your assets can change in value, with your existing contents depreciating in value, and your home increasing in value. More than likely, however, you would have accumulated more assets during the year which means you have to increase your contents insurance coverage. Ensuring all your policies are accurate makes things easier if you need to make a claim.

What Insurance do I need in NZ?

Deciding what insurance you need is a personal decision based on what assets you own, and your own personal position and circumstances in life. The most common types of insurance in New Zealand are car, home, contents, travel, health, and life insurance.

Car InsuranceCar insurance is one of the most common types of insurance in NZ, with the majority of car owners choosing to have some type of car insurance policy. The main types of car insurance policies in New Zealand are third party, third party fire and theft, and comprehensive. Third Party car insurance is the most basic type of policy (and often the cheapest) and provides limited cover, whereas a comprehensive car insurance policy provides in depth cover for both yourself, and other people or property damaged by you in an accident.

Home Insurance – Home insurance policies protect your house should a sudden unforeseen event cause damage to it. Like car insurance, the majority of homeowners and property investors in New Zealand have some form of home insurance. To get a home insurance quote you typically need to determine your home’s sum insured value, which is the estimated cost to rebuild your home should it be damaged to such an extent that a full rebuild is required.

Contents Insurance – Contents insurance is often one of the first insurance policies New Zealanders purchase. With many Kiwis leaving home at 18 or 19 years old to attend University, contents insurance helps protect their most valued assets while they are flatting. When getting contents insurance, most people think of protecting their laptops, cameras, cell phones, televisions, tablets and jewellery. However, contents insurance policies cover more than just your high value items. General household appliances can also be insured, along with all the smaller items you have accumulated over the years such as crockery, books, clothes and linen.

Health Insurance – In New Zealand, the public health system does a great job in emergency situations (such as a car crash). But for issues that are ‘non-urgent’, access to public hospitals can involve long waiting lists. Health insurance ensures you have access to top quality treatment in a private hospital should it be required, and your insurer will either pay the health provider directly, or reimburse you for the costs. This means you won’t need to wait on a public hospital waiting list, and also likely gives you access to a wider range of treatment options and medical specialists.

Life Insurance – Many New Zealanders choose to buy life insurance when their life circumstances change, such as having children, getting married, or buying a house. Life insurance is worth considering if anyone relies on you financially. This could be your children, partner, or even parents or extended family that you may be supporting. In the event of you passing away, your life insurance policy could help to ease the financial burden on those who you support.

Travel Insurance – The cost of medical care around the world isn’t always as affordable as it is in New Zealand. You have no doubt heard stories of what New Zealanders consider minor doctor’s visits costing hundreds or thousands of dollars to remedy overseas. Even if you are planning a relaxing holiday on a beach, disasters can strike, and your property can be lost or stolen. Travel Insurance helps provide peace of mind while you are on holiday.

What does Insurance Cost in New Zealand?

The cost of insurance in New Zealand is based on a range of factors specific to the type of insurance you are buying. For example, car insurance premiums vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle, and home insurance premiums are highly dependent on the value of your house, and the materials your house is made from.

The best way to determine how much insurance will cost is to get a quick online quote. These days getting an insurance quote takes no more than five minutes online, so you don’t always need to dial an 0800 number and talk to a call centre to get an indication of how much insurance will cost for you.

Insurance premiums in New Zealand also include GST, an EQC Levy, and a Fire Service Levy. These are collected by your insurer and passed onto the government.

EQC levy: The Earthquake Commission (EQC) is a government body that provides disaster insurance to private property owners. The EQC is funded by government contributions and homeowners levies. The EQC levy is paid to your insurer, and passed onto the government, and covers the first $100,000 of home damage and the first $20,000 of contents damage in the event of natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes. The EQC levy is currently (November 2017) calculated as 20 cents per $100 of cover.

Fire Service Levy: The New Zealand Fire Service Levy is collected by insurance companies and is passed onto Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ). This cost helps cover the cost of all the services FENZ provides New Zealanders, such as putting out fires, attending vehicle incidents, animal rescue, medical response, natural disaster response, cleaning hazardous substances, and public education.

Still have Questions?

If you still have questions, you can reach out to Cove at info@coveinsurance.co.nz and we will do our best to answer. Alternatively, New Zealand Immigration and Sorted.org.nz have great guides on insurance in NZ which we recommend.

The content presented on this page is provided for informational purposes only. Cove Limited makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information. Each person should consult a qualified advisor for advice specific to their circumstances. Cove Limited assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

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