Frequently asked questions

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. 

If you are a homeowner, the answer is probably 'yes'. Here's why:

  • Almost all home loan arrangements require you to take out an insurance policy on your property.
  • Your home is most likely your most significant financial asset — so it makes sense to protect it.
  • If you lost your home in a natural disaster, you probably couldn’t afford to replace it, potentially leaving you and your family homeless.

If you're renting, you don't need home insurance — but you can still protect your belongings with a standalone contents policy.

The premium you pay for home and contents insurance depends on the type and amount 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.

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, available on insurer websites.

Note: 'Total replacement' policies will rebuild or repair your home, whatever the cost. The insurer — not you — is responsible for estimating the value of the property correctly, ensuring you won’t be left out of pocket. However, these policies can be more expensive.

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 will 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. If you have items worth more than the limit, you may need to cover them separately as specified valuable items.

Your contents insurance policy may cover sports equipment that’s stored inside the home or garage — but it may not be covered when you're in transit. Most policies exclude sports equipment while it's in use, but this can vary between individual policies.
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 will need to review the conditions of the policy carefully before deciding if it gives 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.
While most home and contents policies cover a range of natural and man-made events, each will have different inclusions and exclusions. So, it's important to check the definitions of the insurable events, like bushfire and flood, to make sure you have the right cover.
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 do not substitute or replace your insurance contract, the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) or Certificate of Insurance.

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