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New-home buyer left in void after quake

ALEX FENSOME
Last updated 05:00 25/07/2013
Michael Sunich

INSURANCE BLACKOUT: First-home buyer Michael Sunich has been left in limbo.

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First-home buyer Michael Sunich has been left in limbo by insurers' reluctance to cover him after Sunday's earthquake.

Several insurance companies have imposed an "exclusion zone" in Marlborough and Greater Wellington, where new policies will not be offered until seismic activity has abated.

That's left Mr Sunich, who planned to buy a $135,000 home in Upper Hutt last weekend, stuck with no insurance and settlement due.

It is his first home, and the sale was on a tight deadline.

"I made an offer on Friday, it was accepted on Saturday, and on Sunday the quake happened. I went to get insurance on Monday morning and nobody wants to know."

His real estate agent, The Professionals in Upper Hutt, suggested asking if the existing owner's insurance could be transferred to him. However, his preferred insurance company, AMI, said it could not transfer the policy because it was with a different underwriting group to Westpac, the seller's insurers.

Westpac said it was willing to make the transfer, but Mr Sunich would have to pay to swap to AMI once the market opened up again.

Mr Sunich wanted to stick with AMI, which covered all his other insurance.

AMI said last night it was not sure what "transfer fee" was being referred to, but it would welcome the chance to quote again on Mr Sunich's home, as soon as it returned to writing new business.

Harcourts Wellington City managing director Marty Scott said the buying process was not "stuck", but would take longer to work through. "In an auction, tender or normal sale and purchase agreement, buyers would be prudent to insert an insurance clause giving them, say, three to five days to get the insurance before the sale can become unconditional."

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- The Dominion Post

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