School Building Insurance Funding Programme

The Ministry Programme (backed by private sector insurance) covers repairs to school buildings damaged in an incident. This guidance provides criteria, ERC resources, and advice for making a claim.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Boards
  • Proprietors
  • Administrators

State and state-integrated schools must follow the steps when making a claim in order to qualify for the funding Programme. Schools must contact their local property advisor before undertaking any urgent work. Consider having prearranged contractors for afterhours call outs for urgent repairs or call the Ministry’s emergency response coordinator to attend if it is an emergency situation. 

Urgent repairs

Emergency Response Coordinators

The Programme covers

The School Building Insurance Funding Programme covers repairs for unexpected damage caused by:

  • fire
  • water – from a sudden problem including a burst pipe or sprinkler
  • earthquakes, including events that happen following an earthquake, such as fire or a tsunami
  • extreme weather like storms, heavy snow, gales, lightning strikes and floods
  • lost or stolen keys (up to $50,000).

Read more on Key management at your schools.

The funding can only be used for:

  • repairing school buildings owned by the Ministry
  • replacing actual square metres lost up to what’s specified in your School’s Property Guide (SPG) entitlement
  • demolishing damaged buildings, including those not eligible for replacement under the SPG
  • costs, such as consultants’ fees, that are part of the repair or replacement project.

School Property Guide (SPG) — Space entitlement

You might also be covered for ‘consequential costs’ incurred as a result of the insured incident. These are costs to keep the school running such as providing:

  • transport to get staff and students to another place for classes
  • temporary services like toilets or electricity generators
  • barriers or panels to provide safe access to the school.

How the Programme works for property paid for by community groups or the board of trustees

Type of ownership

What the Programme covers

Buildings jointly owned by you and the Ministry

It covers you for the actual net square metres lost, up to our pre-agreed share or up to your entitlement in the School Property Guide, whichever is smaller.

You need to arrange insurance for your portion of any shared building. However, you shouldn't insure surplus space as we won't allow you to rebuild it.

Buildings owned jointly by the Ministry and a community group (such as halls and gyms)

It covers you for the actual net square metres lost, up to our pre-agreed share or up to your entitlement in the School Property Guide, whichever is smaller.

The community group usually needs to insure the portion it owns as a condition of the standard agreement between the board and the community group.

Leasing or hiring school land and buildings

Buildings owned jointly by you and a community group

No cover.

Making a claim and managing the damage after an incident

1. Stop any further damage

This can mean:

  • closing off a burst pipe to prevent flooding
  • patching roof damage from a storm to stop water entering the building.

2. Contact the Ministry

Contact your Ministry property advisor as soon as possible to advise them of the damage, get their advice on how to handle it and apply for Programme funding. If you get the work done before talking to them, your funding request may be declined.

3. Do the urgent repairs

You will need to do an emergency procurement to engage contractors. Wherever possible you should get Ministry prior approval to go ahead with the procurement. Contact your property advisor who can give you verbal approval over the phone, if they are not available to take the call leave a message and then follow this up with an email.

When doing urgent repairs:

  • talk to your property advisor about whether you need to call in the Emergency Response Coordinator
  • keep repairs to essential work to keep the school open and stop further damage
  • take photos showing the damage and the repairs
  • keep a record of damage, all the work completed to make the site safe and all invoices – you will need this to get funding under the Programme, provided the situation and repair work meets our criteria.

Using the Emergency Response Coordinator

Each local Ministry office has a contract for emergency response coordinators in its area. Either you, your property advisor, the Fire Service or the Police can contact them if you need their services. They are available at all times.

The emergency response coordinator:

  • coordinates the response effort with emergency services
  • does an inspection and arranges any urgent work to get the school functioning as quickly as possible
  • organises emergency accommodation, security and safety at the school, if needed
  • prepares the scope of work in liaison with you, your project manager, property advisor and loss adjuster.

Emergency Response Coordinators

4. Repair costs

You must always follow the Ministry’s procurement rules.

When calculating the total cost of repairs make sure to include:

  • any emergency repairs already done
  • your project manager’s fees
  • the cost of the reinstatement work.

Repairs from $2,500 to $10,000

You can organise the work yourself if it is minor work like replacing damaged carpet.

You don’t need any quotes for work under $10,000. You can just contact an appropriate contractor, or you can use an Emergency Response Coordinator or your project manager to organise it for you.

Repairs $10,000 and over

Make sure to follow Ministry procurement rules and liaise with your property advisor throughout the process.

A loss adjuster must be involved if the total cost could go over $20,000, if a professional opinion could be needed or it might be possible to recover costs from another party. Your property advisor will engage them when necessary.

The loss adjuster's role

We have a national contract for loss adjuster services. We will call in a loss adjuster to:

  • investigate the cause and confirm that the loss is covered by the Programme
  • review any security measures taken by the emergency response coordinator or your project manager
  • review the scope of work prepared by the emergency response coordinator or project manager and estimate remedial costs (for tendered work, the building plans must be developed with, and approved by, the loss adjuster before work can start).

Reinstating the damaged property

If the remedial work is approved under the Programme, you must start the work within one year or the project budget will be withdrawn. Speak to your property advisor to apply for an extension if you can’t start within the year.

Engage your project manager to complete the remedial work including:

  • organising security and urgent repairs (if not done by the emergency response coordinator)
  • preparing the scope of work in liaison with the board of trustees, property advisor, emergency response coordinator and loss adjuster.

Role of the project manager in school property projects

You don’t have to rebuild exactly what was there before. Discuss your options with your property advisor.

Designing learning environments

The Programme won't cover

  • damage to contents (refer to our Contents insurance for schools page)
  • the normal movement of the building on its foundations
  • natural bulging of the land, or ground heave, unless it was caused by a ‘convulsion of nature’
  • damage from gradually developing causes like mould, mildew, rust, corrosion or the natural movement in building materials
  • smoke, fumes, dust or gas, unless the damage comes from a sudden event, like fire
  • Damage caused by vermin e.g. rats damaging cables
  • bad workmanship, materials or design but resultant damage may be covered
  • leaky buildings (refer to our Weathertightness remediation page)
  • damage arising from poor maintenance – the amount you receive under the Programme will be based on how much the repair costs would have been if the property had been properly maintained; when in doubt, this will be decided by a loss adjuster
  • damage to machinery where it’s broken down (but fire/explosion damage resulting from the breakdown would be covered)
  • damage to land, trees (see below), shrubs, crops, lawns, grassed areas, gardens
  • damage to paths, driveways, playgrounds or tennis courts, paving, roads or asphalt
  • damage to residential property, like teacher houses
  • damage to fences or retaining walls that are not an integral part of the building
  • damage to covered ways that are not an integral part of the building
  • damage to services like water, sewerage, gas, data supply and electricity where it is more than 3 metres from a building
  • damage to swimming pools and associated buildings and infrastructure
  • damage to caretakers’ and groundsmen sheds, tractor sheds, equipment sheds, sports pavilions and pump houses
  • damage to board or community funded buildings
  • damage from vandalism – other than arson. Refer to our Vandalism funding page for information about repairing this type of damage.

Contents insurance for schools

Weathertightness remediation

Vandalism funding

Further information on what is or isn't covered


Damage to trees is not covered by the Programme. However, if trees cause damage, for example, if a branch falls on a building during a storm, the Programme may cover the damage to the building. Make sure you keep your trees well-trimmed so this is less likely to occur.

Damage from power failure

Damage to electrical infrastructure such as cabling that’s within 3 metres of a building is covered. But damage from power failures isn't covered.

Solar panels

Solar panels (on a roof or standalone) can be covered under the Programme if they are a Ministry-owned asset, provided the reason for the damage is not an excluded reason. For example, they won’t be covered if the damage is from general deterioration or weather.

Board or Community owned solar panels won't be covered and the insurance will need to be arranged separately.

Removing asbestos

The Programme will cover the costs of removing damaged asbestos. It won’t cover the costs of removing undamaged asbestos.

Managing asbestos in schools

Paying for damage not covered by the Programme

Damage costing less than $5,000 using your operational funding.

Operational funding — Property Maintenance Grant for state school maintenance work

Damage over $5,000 use your 5 Year Agreement (5YA) funding. If you don’t have available 5YA funding to pay for the repair, talk to your property advisor.

5 Year Agreement (5YA) Funding

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback