Home and contents insurance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Most policies have a maximum amount they'll pay for a specific item, such as jewellery. If your valuable items exceed this amount, you can specify them in your policy, so they’re covered for the right amount. This will generally cost you more. You may also need to take out specified portable contents cover if you would like to protect these items away from home.

If you’re a homeowner, consider the cost to rebuild if the home was damaged and needed to be built again from the start. Home insurance can help. Here's why:

  • If you have a mortgage, check whether your home loan arrangement requires you to take out an insurance policy on your property.
  • Your home is most likely your most significant financial asset—so it can make sense to protect it.
  • If you lost your home in a natural disaster, consider if you couldn’t afford to replace it, this could potentially leave you and your family without a home.
  • If you're renting, you can protect your belongings with a standalone contents-only policy.

The premium you pay for home and contents insurance depends on the type of cover you choose. Often insurance companies will offer discounts if you take out home and contents insurance together, reducing the premiums for both policies.

If you pay your fees annually rather than monthly, it may work out cheaper in the long run. You can also sign up for a larger excess to offset your premiums—but this means you’ll have a higher threshold before you're able to claim. And finally, you can make sure your home is secure with locks and alarms—usually, the tighter the security, the less you pay.

Lastly, it helps to shop around! Always review your home and contents insurance policy just before you renew it to make sure you’re still getting the cover you need, and comparing with Choosi makes it easy!

Your contents insurance policy may cover sports equipment that’s stored inside the home or garage—but it may not be covered when in transit. Some policies exclude sports equipment while it's in use, but this can vary between individual policies.

For most policies, it’s up to you to estimate how much it would cost to rebuild your home—so take care to get it right. There are two ways of finding out this amount:

  • Hire a surveyor to carry out a professional assessment of your property.
  • Get a rough estimate using a rebuild calculator that’s available on most insurer websites.

Note: 'Total replacement' policies will rebuild or repair your home. The insurer (not you) is responsible for estimating the value of the property correctly, so you don’t actually have a sum insured figure on the policy.

One good way to work out how much contents insurance you need is to go room to room (including sheds and garages), adding up the value of your belongings. You’ll want to include your clothes, jewellery, books, electronics, appliances and whitegoods, and don’t forget furniture, carpets, curtains and any detachable fittings and furnishings. Check the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) of the policy you’re interested in to see the maximum limits for certain items. Usually if you have items worth more than the limit, you may need to cover them separately as specified valuable items.

If an accident at home causes damage to your valuables—for example, a painting falls from the wall or you spill paint on the carpet—this may not necessarily be covered by your insurance policy.

While some providers cover all types of damage in the home, others specify certain types of incidents such as burglary or fire—or charge an extra premium to cover you for accidents. You’ll need to review the conditions of the policy carefully before deciding if it provides the level of cover you want.

Some policies will replace your old contents with new ones, regardless of their age. Others will only pay the current value of the lost or damaged item, which may mean the full cost to replace it isn't covered. Check the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) of the policy you’re interested in carefully to make sure you know what you’re covered for.

It's possible to get contents policies that cover items kept outside, like garden furniture, barbeques and pot plants. However, contents policies won't generally cover plants in garden beds and the limits and inclusions can vary greatly between policies.

Also, landscaping may not be included in your buildings policy—so if you have retaining walls or special features, make sure you check the policy wording before you buy.

Generally, a standard home and contents insurance policy covers you for:

  • Fire/explosion
  • Malicious damage including vandalism
  • Theft
  • Storm/rainwater damage
  • Accidental glass breakage (e.g. windows)
  • Impact damage (e.g. a fallen tree)
  • Natural events like lightning, earthquakes, tsunamis
  • Overflow or escape of liquids (e.g. burst pipe)

Some insurers will also include cover for floods as part of the standard cover, while others offer it as an optional cover. Make sure you have the right cover for your situation by reading the Product Disclosure Statement before buying a policy.

Generally, you’re not covered for damage or loss from:

  • Bushfires, storms, rainwater or floods (if applicable) in the first 72 hours of your policy starting unless you’ve switched insurers and there was no break in cover
  • Your home being unoccupied for longer than a certain period of time (usually 60 to 90 days)
  • Actions of the sea (e.g. high tide)
  • Illegal activities
  • General wear and tear
  • Any deliberate acts by you, others living with you, or anyone you’ve given consent to be at your home
  • Loss or damage as a result or your failure to keep your home or contents in good condition

The above are just some general exclusions and are by no means the full list of what’s not covered. Depending on the type of insurance you take out, it’s important that you’re aware of everything your policy doesn’t cover. Make sure you read the policy’s Product Disclosure Statement first for all the details.

All contents insurance policies cover your belongings at home—but they can vary as to where else you’ll be covered. Depending on the policy, you may have cover throughout Australia and the world, or you may need to pay an extra premium for an item to cover it outside the home. Check the policy details carefully before you buy.

Important note:
The answers above are to be used as a reference guide only and don't substitute or replace your insurance contract, the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) or Certificate of Insurance.

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