Compare house insurance
House insurance is your best friend when disaster strikes. Learn more about the your cover options and compare policies here.
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Your home is the most important and expensive asset you’ll ever own, so it makes sense to have adequate cover in place in case the worst happens. From natural disasters, to leaky pipes, house insurance will give you peace of mind that your precious home is protected against a range of risks beyond your control.
Compare house insurance policies
What's in this guide?
- Compare house insurance policies
- What does house insurance actually cover?
- When should I get house insurance?
- How do I choose a policy?
- Are there any other policies that might suit me better?
- How to reduce your insurance premiums
- The fine print: what should I be looking out for?
- How much cover do I need?
- Got any other questions?
Whilst contents insurance covers the things you own, house insurance protects your actual house.
Whilst no two house insurance policies are the same, there are some basics that you should be covered for.
- garages and carports
- fences, gates and outdoor walls
- decks, patios, pergolas and verandahs
- fixed swimming pools and spas
- garden borders and pathways
- permanently housed or wired electrical appliances
- permanently fixed outdoor items like solar panels and satellite dishes
- clothes lines
- permanently attached fixtures including wall, ceiling and floor coverings
- boat jetties and pontoons.
- your contents
- any new building in the course of construction
- any part of the building which is used for farming, for example a barn or a silo
- temporary or mobile structures such as caravans or houseboats
- inflatable or portable swimming pools and spas
- carpets, rugs, blinds, drapes and curtains
- air conditioning units which are attached within a window
- plants, trees and shrubs
- hotels, motels and guest houses.
When should I get house insurance?
So you’ve just bought your new home. Before you pop the champagne, make sure you’re insured in case that cork decides to go straight through your wall.
It’s a good idea to have house insurance in place when you exchange contracts. People used to get cover notes for the period between exchange and settlement, however, these are no longer offered. What you can do, however, is take out insurance and request a start date up to 40 days in the future.
If you require insurance in place in order to get a home loan, all you need to do is send a copy of your insurance contract to your lender in order for them to release the funds.
It’s also a good idea to get your contents insurance organised before you move, as this will include damage or loss of your possessions while in transit.
How do I choose a policy?
It’s easy to sometimes get overwhelmed by a policy’s product disclosure statement. There are a few things that you should be looking at in a policy to determine if it’s really all it’s cracked up to be.
- Defined events. Many policies only cover defined events. This usually means that you’re covered for things like fire, explosion, storm, earthquake, and vandalism damage. You will not be covered for any events that aren’t classified under their events category. Read the PDS in detail and determine if you’ve got enough cover.
- Accidental damage. Accidental damage covers those unforeseen events that can lead to damage to your home and possessions. It is a great safety net for those who may not have savings on hand to cover life’s mishaps.
- Sum insured. The sum insured is the maximum amount that your insurance company will pay out in the event that your home is totally destroyed. It will typically cover the costs of rebuilding your home. Ensure that you value your home and contents adequately to prevent underinsurance.
Are there any other policies that might suit me better?
Commercial building insurance
If you’ve got a commercial property, as opposed to a residential, then commercial building insurance will be a better fit. These policies provide cover for your business’ contents, fixtures and fittings against a variety of events that can result in loss or damage.
Strata building insurance
This type of insurance is designed to provide cover for strata title properties and to be taken out by a body corporate or owners corporation. It includes cover against risks like fire, flood, storm and earthquake, as well as loss of rent if property damage forces tenants to leave. Theft, malicious damage, water and oil leaks, broken glass and legal liability are also included in cover.
How to reduce your insurance premiums
Like so many other things in life, when buying home insurance you really do get what you pay for; if you choose a cheap policy with an insufficient level of cover, the results could be disastrous.
Remember to look past the price of a policy to the features and benefits it offers to determine whether you are getting true value for money. There are also several other things you can do to lower the cost of your policy, such as the following:
- Shop around. Many people assume that sticking with the same home insurance company will reward them with lower costs for being loyal. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. If your renewal costs are looking a bit expensive, chances are that they are. This is because insurance companies believe that people will be too lazy to go somewhere else. Compare companies and chances are that you’ll find the same cover for less.
- Choose a higher excess. Most insurers allow you to vary the excess payable when you make a claim; if you choose a higher excess, you’ll be rewarded with lower premiums.
- Don’t add options you don’t need. Adding optional extras to your policy allows you to tailor home insurance protection to your requirements. Unfortunately, it also increases the premium, so make sure anything you add is absolutely essential.
- Don’t make any claims. Sometimes making a claim is unavoidable, but if your insurer offers a no-claim bonus, the cost of cover will be greatly reduced if you don’t submit any claims.
- Take advantage of discounts. House insurers offer a variety of discounts to customers. These include discounts for loyalty, for seniors, for having multiple policies with the insurer, and for purchasing online.
- Review cover regularly. Just because a particular insurance policy was right for you a few years ago doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best fit now. Insurers are constantly updating their policies and premiums. Don’t be afraid to compare your options and see if you can find a better deal.
The fine print: what should I be looking out for?
There are a few things to be aware of when reading your policy’s product disclosure statements. Some of these include:
- Pests. Damage from pests is usually not covered as insurance companies see pests as the homeowner’s responsibility. It’s perceived as a preventable damage, rather than an accident. If your property is prone to termites it’s best to become aware of this as soon as possible and treat it as necessary.
- Floods. Read carefully about the policy’s stance on floods. What is considered a flood by an insurance company varies wildly, so read in between the lines to determine what you’re covered for.
- Strata. If you live in strata such as an apartment block, your body corporate will have their own strata insurance that generally provides cover for your building, parking, and other shared areas. In most cases, you will be required to pay strata fees. Strata does not cover you for interior fixings, so most homeowners with a strata-titled property will also take out a contents only policy.
How much cover do I need?
Having the right level of protection in place can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. Whilst it may seem appealing to cut costs at first, the risk of not having enough cover in place is not worth it.
The house insurance policy you take out should cover the total replacement cost of your property, including other expenses which may arise such as temporary accommodation. This means that you have to make sure you select the right sum insured. If you’re under-insured, you’ll have to pay the gap between what your policy covers and the replacement cost for your house, which in many cases could be a substantial amount of money.
Got any other questions?
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