Yesterday’s earthquake near Taumaranui was strong, but luckily, deep enough to just leave us like James Bond’s favourite vodka martini – “shaken not stirred”.  As the first tremor hit CoreLogic’s Wellington office, we joked as the meeting room doors in our second-floor office swung and desks and monitors rattled.  But as it kept going,  we all realised this could get worse, and without hesitation, everyone dived under their desks. 

Only two weeks ago, we’d taken part in “The Great Shake-out" which was an earthquake drill to practice the “Drop, Cover, Hold” routine, and the training kicked in for what could have been a far worse event. Whilst we talk about residential property being our biggest asset class (having just topped $ 1.1trillion market value according to CoreLogic’s latest research) our biggest asset is really ourselves.    

Last week, I read a research piece from Victoria University of Wellington PhD students Lauren Vinnell and Amanda Wallis  (coverage available here) who found that the majority of Wellingtonians were unprepared for “the big one”.  Whilst most Wellingtonians store water (55%), that still means that 45% don’t.  Only half store food, and only 48% have an emergency kit, most likely at home, which isn’t much help when you’re at work.

So we may fool ourselves that we are well prepared, but we’re not.  How many families have an emergency plan?  A set of agreed procedures should the worst happen?  How many of us have an emergency pack under their desk with a spare set of clothes, walking/running shoes and a coat, should we have to should we have to shed the suit or heels in favour of a 20 kms (or more) slog home?  How many homes have food, a cooking source, plates stored in a strong container?   First aid kits, towels, hand sanitiser?  How many have a stash of cash should the EFTPOS network go down and our Paywave cards become redundant for days?

Really, not enough of us, according to the research.

When we reset our clocks for Day Light Saving, we’re always reminded to test our smoke alarms.  It’s entirely logical to check something that might save our lives.  So it only makes sense to do similar when we have an earthquake - check your earthquake survival plans and kits.    If you don’t have them, make them.  Check out Civil Defence’s website for tips and suggestions to make a start.

And of course, it goes without saying that you should check your insurance cover.  Should the worst happen, will it provide enough money to adequately rebuild your home?  If you don’t have enough cover, you won’t get back the home you had before.  Most insurance companies now offer the Cordell Sum Sure calculator that allows the quick and easy estimate of the cost to rebuild your home.  Head over to your insurer’s website and check out the true cost of rebuilding your home and whether your sum insured will cover that.  If not, call your insurer and top it up - it may cost less than you imagine.

Stay safe, New Zealand!

Editor's note: CoreLogic provides a range of solutions for the insurance industry, including Cordell Sum Sure, Symbility Claims Connect, Symbility Mobile Claims, and Symbility Video Connect . Home-owners can also check the natural hazard risk profile of their property by visiting, searching the property address and scrolling down to 'Natural Hazard Info'.