Nearly 500 insurance claims have been made to the Earthquake Commission since yesterday's violent earthquake in Canterbury.

The magnitude 5.7 jolt has been followed by 496 claims to cover damage caused by the quake.

Earthquake Commission chief executive Ian Simpson said they will be using experiences from earlier earthquakes in the region to ensure they are handled effectively.

"Planning is under way, drawing on the lessons of the past five years, so that we can stage the most efficient response to this latest earthquake."


He said it was too early to speculate on the final number of claims or the total cost of the damage.

Claims can be filed until May 16.

The Earthquake Commission covers earthquake damage to homes, contents and residential land.

People must have a home or contents fire insurance policy with an insurance company on their home at the time of the earthquakes to make a claim.

People can lodge claims with The Earthquake Commission online at, via email on, or by calling 0800 DAMAGE (326 243).