Mates heeds costly house fire lesson

BURNT OUT: Sean McCarvill examines what’s left of his home after it caught fire early on Sunday morning.
BURNT OUT: Sean McCarvill examines what’s left of his home after it caught fire early on Sunday morning.

The friends of a Mahoe man who was left with nothing after his house burnt down at the weekend have gone out to buy insurance.

Sean McCarvill lost everything, including his 18-month-old daughter's toys, when his house went up in flames early on Sunday morning.

Yesterday, Mr McCarvill, who had no contents insurance, said his ordeal had prompted his friends to look at protecting their stuff.

"My mates are going out to get it, at least they will be covered if it happens to them," he told the Taranaki Daily News.

The 24-year-old, who was left with nothing but his jeans, a pair of shoes and a few of his daughter's possessions, said insurance had never crossed his mind.

"Honestly I didn't even think about it," he said.

"It's something you never think will happen to you."

However, Mr McCarvill said he would be inquiring about insurance in the coming days as he begins to rebuild his life.

"I'm going to do it even though I don't have anything," he said.

Although the cost of insurance had risen in the last few years the price was still reasonable, Insurance Council of New Zealand chief executive Tim Grafton said.

"Prices have gone up sharply and that is because of the Canterbury earthquakes and other events around the world," he said.

"What that has done is put pressure on premiums, but for a couple of hundred dollars you could still be protecting your things.

"I mean at the low end a person who is flatting and takes out $15,000 worth of insurance for their laptop and things like that will pay a premium that may be about two per cent of that."

New Plymouth insurance assessor Andrew Brooke said anyone with assets was at risk without insurance.

"Personally I think if you can afford an asset you can afford to mitigate the risk of losing it and insurance is one way to mitigate that risk," he said.

"People never realise what they have until it comes time to claim."

Mr Grafton said the rising cost of insurance could be a deterrent for those on lower incomes, but there were ways around it.

"It [the cost] is certainly something for some people but there are ways to bring the cost down such as looking at a higher excess," he said.

If they can't afford insurance you have to wonder what they are spending their money on, Mr McCarvill said.

The cost of insurance differs according to risk factors, including where you live, whether you're flatting or own your home and whether it is protected by an alarm and locks.

Quotes obtained by the Taranaki Daily News show $10,000 worth of cover can cost as little as $5 a week and doubling the cover costs only a fraction more.

Taranaki Daily News