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What is building insurance?

‘Building insurance’ is an umbrella term that can refer to a variety of insurance products like home buildings insurance, landlord insurance and strata insurance, each of which suits a different insurance purpose and covers certain things. Here’s how you can insure what matters most to you.

What is home buildings insurance?

Home buildings insurance is cover for your home but not its contents. It can cover the bricks and mortar of your house as well as driveways, and fixed outbuildings like garages, carports, in-ground pools and granny flats.

What is strata insurance?

Strata insurance covers shared property in domestic buildings like apartments and townhouses, and commercial buildings like offices. This means that damage sustained to communal areas such as driveways and stairwells may be covered in most circumstances.

What is landlord insurance?

Landlord insurance includes all the benefits of home and contents insurance, but for your investment property (excluding the worldwide cover for loss or damage to valuables). Policies may include cover for flood, storms, fire and theft as well as specific cover for incidents such as loss of rent.

When comparing landlord insurance or home buildings insurance with our free comparison service, you’ll be able to see the listed events covered by each available policy, as well as exclusions.

What do the different forms of building insurance cover?

Building insurance in all its forms provides financial protection against loss and damage from insured events up to a specified limit. However, there are some exclusions across the different types of building insurance products.

To give you an idea of typical inclusions and exclusions, see our table below. However, these benefits are a guide and are subject to the policy’s terms and conditions. As always, be sure to thoroughly check a policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD) before purchasing cover.

InclusionsHome Buildings InsuranceLandlord InsuranceStrata Insurance
FireYesYes Yes
Impacted walls and fixturesYesYesYes
Flood damageYesYesYes
Broken glass, ceramics, crystalNoNoNo
In-ground swimming poolsYesYesYes
Damage to fences YesYesYes
Damage from verminNoYesNo
Fixed carpets and curtains YesYesYes
Deliberate damageNoNoNo
Vandalism and damage from theftYesYesYes
Damage from burst pipes and loss of liquidYesYesYes
Damaged caused by removalists or renovationsNoNoNo
Legal liability if someone is injured in your homeYesYesNo
Falling treesYesYesYes
Garages YesYesYes

Do I need home buildings insurance for a strata unit?

Being insured can give you the peace of mind you need, knowing that you have coverage available for a range of disasters and/or break-ins. If you live in a strata unit, townhouse or studio apartment, check with your body corporate to see if your building is already covered. However, if you own the strata property, you should consider protecting this. It may be worth seeking additional types of cover for your individual needs.

How to insure your contents

Home Contents insurance is cover for the belongings in your home. If you’re a renter or landlord, you should still consider covering your contents even if you’re not living in your accommodation long term. Home owner-occupiers could also benefit from contents insurance, and they have the option of a combined home building and contents policy.

It’s best to refer to your insurer’s PDS to see exactly what you’re covered for in terms of inclusions and exclusions.

Frequently asked questions

Why should I get a form of building insurance?

Australia is generally known as the ‘lucky country’, but this vast continent is also prone to various natural disasters. Beyond Mother Nature, thieves and vandals may also be a problem. Having some form of building insurance for your home, strata or investment property can help protect your greatest assets. Our free home insurance comparison tool makes it easy to see what’s covered under a Home Buildings Insurance policy or Landlord insurance policy, and to find a competitive price from available policies.

What does ‘sum insured’ mean?

Sum insured refers to the amount you’re covered for in the event of damage or loss to your home. It’s vital to ensure that the sum insured covers the cost to rebuild your home or property if it needs to be repaired or completely rebuilt. Otherwise, you’ll need to pay the difference out of your own pocket – something that could be financially debilitating.

How much does each building insurance type cost?

The price of each type of building insurance is unique to each home and property, determined by several factors including:

  • The property’s value
  • Any security measures you have in place
  • Construction materials
  • Your proximity to disaster-prone areas
  • The property’s suburb (for risk factors like crime rates)

Additional factors that impact your premiums include whether you’ve paid for any optional extras (e.g. accidental damage).

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