Insurer U-turn after initial claim of no payout for quake-doomed car until demolition
In its final trip, Rob Zorn's BMW will be plucked from a great height, then dropped into a bin from the quake-damaged car park in which it is trapped.
Zorn's 7-series 2002 model BMW is one of nine vehicles that have been stuck in Wellington's Reading Cinema complex car park since the sudden evacuation of the building and surrounding businesses and homes after the November 14 Kaikoura quake.
It was deemed unsafe to retrieve the cars, which will meet their fate during the car park's demolition – which could last until March.
One of the first cars to become visible during the demolition, an SUV, peeked out against the backdrop of "Big Bertha", the long-reach digger, as it continued picking apart the car park on Thursday.
Since the evacuation, Zorn has also been barred from his apartment because of the risk the neighbouring car park could collapse.
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He estimated he had spent more than $1000 on clothing to replace his work wardrobe since the evacuation and also faced buying a new car with no prospect of an insurance payout until March.
He was initially told he could not make a claim until the car was actually damaged, once the building was demolished.
But, in some welcome good news, his insurer paid out after he was able to produce proof his BMW was irretrievable. Zorn now has a new car, and has been able to shift out of a friend's place into accommodation covered by his own apartment's body corporate insurance.
Zorn said he was curious to watch his car meet its fate, and had been down to watch the demolition almost daily since it began – but he has not spotted the BMW yet as it was deep on the third storey.
He had been told the digger would pluck the doomed cars out one by one, and drop them into a large bin.
"I think after being plucked by Big Bertha they are not going to be in a driveable condition."