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Initio House and Contents Insurance Review
Initio provides cover not only for private homes, but also for landlords, holiday homes, trade properties, multi-units and Airbnbs.
Initio house and contents insurance was developed in 2011 by two friends who were frustrated with traditional insurance brokers and decided that the process needed an overhaul. They began with landlord insurance but have now branched out into home and contents, holiday home and Airbnb policies. Initio can also help if you have a number of rental homes with its multi-unit policy, and if you have purchased a property with the intention of selling on, its trade property insurance can assist.
Its co-founder, Rene Swindley, was recognised as The Australian & New Zealand Institute and Finance’s (ANZIIF) ‘Young Insurance Professional’ in 2018, and Initio has also been a finalist at the ANZIIF awards. Initio is underwritten by New Zealand’s largest insurer, NZI (IAG New Zealand Ltd). IAG has a financial strength rating of AA-, meaning its claims-paying ability is ‘very strong’.
If you’re looking for a house and contents policy to cover your unique situation, read on to find out more about what Initio house and contents insurance has to offer.
Initio cover options
Initio was the first company to offer instant house insurance online. It prides itself in its straightforward procedures, so you can get a quote in seconds and be fully insured in minutes. In addition to home and contents insurance, Initio offers cover for landlords and if you use your home to produce an income, for example, through Bookabach or Airbnb.
Home and contents insurance
Initio house and contents insurance is a joint policy for both your property and its contents. Initio insures your home contents in bands starting at $60,000, up to a maximum of $220,000. It can be easy to underestimate the cost to replace your possessions, so consider the sum you wish to insure.
Home insurance cover benefits:
- Comprehensive cover of your home, up to the sum insured in your policy
- Alternative accommodation costs up to the value of $20,000 and for 52 weeks
- Accidental damage to your house for the sum covered
- Retaining walls up to a value of $25,000
- Hidden damage, for example, if a pipe leaks
- Damage due to a natural disaster, up to the sum insured
- Recreational items, for example, a spa pool, are covered up to $45,000
- Lock and keys up to $1,000
- Blocked pipes up to $500
- Legal liability up to $1,000,000
Contents insurance cover benefits:
- Legal liability up to $1,000,000
- New for old replacement cover
- Bicycles, up to the value of $2,000 for each bike
- Watches and jewellery are covered up to $3,000 for each item unless specified separately
- Office equipment and furniture
- $5,000 for luggage while travelling in the Pacific Islands or Australia
- Cover for family members studying, for example at university
- Items stolen while you are not at home
- Frozen food if the freezer is accidentally turned off
If you choose to rent out your property long-term, Initio provides cover for the associated risks of paying tenants residing in your home.
What it covers:
- Cover up to the insured sum
- Loss of rent due to damage from $20,000 to $80,000, and for up to 52 weeks
- Explosion or fire, up to the rental property’s insured sum
- Loss of rent, due to eviction or a tenant not providing notice
- Contents in the property provided by the landlord
- Malicious damage by a tenant
- Cover for natural disaster up to the property’s insured value
- Recreational items, for example, a swimming pool up to the value of $45,000
- $2,000,000 in legal liability cover which includes defence costs and bodily injury
- Methamphetamine contamination up to $30,000
If you have a holiday home, Initio has created a specially designed policy to cover your holiday home and its contents. It recognises that these properties are often left vacant and can be let out to paying guests from time to time, so have created a policy to suit these circumstances. Should you need to make a claim, there is one excess per event, rather than per item. Initio is the selected insurance partner for Bookabach.
What it covers:
- Full cover up to the sum you choose
- Contents insurance from $20,000 to $220,000, including recreational equipment
- $2,000,000 legal liability cover
- Cover for loss of rent following damage to your property for up to 52 weeks
- Deliberate damage including explosion and fire
- Malicious damage by a guest up to $25,000
- Theft carried out by a guest up to $25,000
- Accidental damage by either guest or owner
- Recreational articles, for example, spa pools
- Natural disaster, including EQC cover
- Methamphetamine contamination
Initio is the only insurer in New Zealand that allows you to obtain cover for a block of apartments or flats online, up to a maximum of six units. The units must be for residential use and not used as holiday lets.
What multi-unit insurance covers:
- Cover to the insured value chosen by you
- Choice of excess for the property from $400 to $2,000
- Legal liability cover of $2,000,000
- Loss of rent due to damage to the property for 52 weeks
- Other loss of rent for six weeks, for example, if a tenant vacates without giving notice
- Malicious damage caused by a tenant
- Explosive and fire damage up to your chosen amount
- Contents insurance, from $20,000 to $60,000 for all units
- Cover for natural disasters up to your chosen sum
- Contamination of the units from methamphetamine
- Cover for damage to retaining walls
- Damage to recreational facilities, such as tennis courts
Home and income
Initio’s home and income policy is suitable for those that have lodgers or flatmates sharing their home, or let out their home short term for less than 90 days. This could be as an Airbnb, and either the whole house or only part. Home and income insurance covers both your property and your home contents.
- Comprehensive cover up to the amount insured
- New for old replacement contents cover
- Wherever you are in New Zealand, your contents remain covered
- Accidental damage to the home by you or a paying guest
- Theft or malicious damage to the home or its contents by a paying guest
- Loss of rent due to damage to the property
- $1,000,000 legal liability cover
- Gradual deterioration, for example by a leaking water pipe
- Blocked water or sewage pipes
- Natural disasters, up to the sum insured
- Keys and locks
- Alternative accommodation costs for up to 52 weeks
Trade property insurance
Initio’s Trade Property insurance covers a property you purchase that you are intending to sell on a month-to-month basis. Available for existing Initio house and contents insurance customers, the policy is in place through renovation and when you are staging it for sale, without needing to buy a year-long policy.
What it covers:
- Cover up to your chosen sum, against essential things like flood and earthquake
- Loss of items due to burglary
- Legal liability cover up to $2,000,000
- Intentional damage up to the amount insured
- Cover for natural disasters, which includes EQC cover
- Damage to retaining walls
- Accidental damage up to your sum insured
- Cover for staged furniture, plus other contents
What is excluded from an Initio house and contents insurance policy?
A home and contents policy cannot cover you in every eventuality, so make sure you check your policy document carefully for its list of exclusions.
When you take out a policy with Initio, you will not be covered for the following:
- Flood, landslips or storms in the first 48 hours of the policy being taken out
- Loss of any contents due to structural alterations or additions that Initio has not agreed to cover
- Damage caused by rodents, vermin or insects
- Damage due to water
- Damage caused by you or someone acting on your approval removing housing materials
- Natural disasters, unless covered by Initio’s automatic additional benefit
- If your home is unoccupied for more than 60 days consecutively
- Gradual deterioration caused by, for example, corrosion or mildew
- Intentional damage caused by any person living in the home, a tenant or their guest
How to save money on your Initio house and contents insurance
While Initio does not offer a multi-policy discount, there are general things you can do to bring down the cost of your policy:
- Choosing a higher excess results in lower premiums
- Limiting your optional extras helps to keep premiums down
- You may be eligible for a lower excess if you have an approved alarm fitted
How do I make an Initio house or contents insurance claim?
Initio aims to make it easy for you to make a claim. You can do so online in minutes via its dashboard. Alternatively, you can phone on 0800 736 929 or 0800 560 333 (outside business hours), or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will be asked a series of questions to ascertain the severity of the damage, so Initio can better understand how to help. It will settle straightforward claims, for example, lost keys immediately.
Initio’s dashboard guides you through making a more in-depth claim. The more information you can provide, the quicker Initio can settle your case.
House insurance claims
When making a claim on house insurance, you will need to describe what the damage or loss is, when it happened and what caused it. You also need to explain the steps you have taken to reduce the risk of further damage. Information that can help to support your claim include receipts, warranties, photos and valuations and receipts. If the damage was caused maliciously, you need to contact the police and obtain an incident reference number.
House contents insurance claims
When you make a house contents claim, you need to provide details about what, when and how damage or loss occurred to the contents. You need to provide as many details about the items as possible and if you have proof, such as receipts, warranties, photos or serial numbers. If the damage was intentional or the goods have been stolen, make sure you report it to the police and obtain an incident reference number.
Frequently asked questions
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