There have been nearly 5,000 insurance claims made already as a result of the Christchurch earthquake, says the Earthquake Commission (EQC).

Of the 4,857 already made, 4,042 have come from Christchurch City, 362 from Selwyn, 361 from the Waimakariri district, 30 from Timaru and 28 from Ashburton.

How to make an insurance claim through EQC:
* Claims can be lodged with EQC by calling the free-phone on 0800 326 243 at any time. If lines are busy people are being urged to please keep trying.

Staff are dealing with claims as quickly as possible, says the Commission. You can also lodge a claim online here.

* You have 3 months to lodge a claim from the time the event occurred.

* When you call EQC, you will ask you who you are insured with and for your idea of the extent of damage.

You will then let you know whether someone will call to help with your claim, or whether you can go ahead and get the repair done. EQC will follow this up in writing.

People are being told that if they are unsure about your insurance cover, please call anyway and EQC staff will check it.

The EQC website has an information page with advice for people wanting to make a claim.

It contains this advice:

What should I do about the mess & damage to my property?
* If possible take photos before moving anything.
* You can make temporary repairs for safety or to prevent further damage or discomfort.
* You can get essential services like toilets and water systems repaired immediately but keep everything the repairer replaces (and keep a copy of the bill).
* You can clean up spillages or crockery and glass breakages (but don't throw anything not perishable away yet).
* You can dispose of perishables like ruined or spilt food. (List the items as you bury, burn or dump them).

* Information about exactly what is covered from EQC can be found here.