Before you complain
- Talk to your insurer's free disputes resolution scheme: They can offer guidance on settling your complaint
- Check your policy: Look at what it covers. Make sure you're looking at the most recent renewal document. You can ask your insurer for it if it's hard to find.
- Decide your ideal outcome: What would it take to make it right, such as an apology, your claim being accepted.
- Gather evidence: Have on hand anything helpful to making your case, such as emails or letters between you and the insurer, receipts, photos, repair logs, valuation
Tips when complaining
- Be clear it's a complaint: To make sure your issue is dealt with following your insurer's internal complaints process.
- Stick to the facts: Explain the problem in detail and provide any evidence you have.
- Tell them what you want: Be clear what you expect to fix your concern.
- Take time out, if needed: If the conversation is getting heated or you need time to consider their response, call or email back another time.
- Take notes: Write down the date you formally complained. Insurers must acknowledge your complaint in 5 business days and respond to it in 10 business days. For your own records, it may be best to put your complaint in writing, especially if it is complicated.
2. Disputes resolution schemes
All insurers must belong to a disputes scheme. Contact them:
- for guidance before talking to your insurer
- if you and your insurer are finding it hard to agree.
Their services are free.
Disputes resolution schemes are neutral — meaning they look at facts from both sides. They might help you and your insurer settle your complaint by talking it through, for example, with mediation. If this isn't possible, they will make a recommendation — sometimes calling on another expert, such as a loss adjustor, for extra advice.
Your insurer must act on whatever the scheme recommends. But you don't have to accept their recommendation if you don't agree. Speaking to a lawyer would be your next step if this were the case.
There are two disputes resolution schemes who look at insurance-related complaints:
Ask your insurer which one they belong to. Or find a list of members on each site.
Report your insurer to the Commerce Commission if you think:
- you have been misled
- they have said something untrue, such as telling you the policy covered something it doesn't
- they have pressured you into taking out a policy you did not want.
The Commerce Commission enforces certain consumer laws, including the Fair Trading Act.
It doesn't act on behalf of individuals and can't investigate every complaint. But their investigations do help make sure businesses are complying with the law. Your information helps them assess which consumer issues are causing greatest harm.
Going to the Commerce Commission may stop the same thing from happening to someone else.
Make a complaint(external link) — Commerce Commission
Fair Trading Act
Get support at any point from:
- Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) — a free, independent service, run by volunteers. CAB can advise you on your consumer rights and obligations, in person, by phone, or online.
- Community Law Centre — offers free one-on-one legal advice to people with limited finances. The organisation has 24 community law centres throughout the country. You can find legal information and other resources on its website.
Find a CAB(external link) — Citizens Advice Bureau
Our law centres(external link) — Community Law Centres