Explore Home & Contents Insurance

Regardless of what type of home you have or how many valuables you keep there, insurance is important. It doesn’t matter if you’re an owner-occupier, a renter, or a landlord.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s the same for everyone. While some may require full home & contents cover, others may need to only cover their contents or just purchase a home insurance policy.

So, we’ve broken down the differences to help you find the right cover for your home!

What type of home & contents insurance are you interested in?

Jump to the section most relevant to you below.

We also provide information on:

Still have questions? We answer them in our home & contents FAQs.

What affects your home & contents insurance premiums?

Having home and contents insurance protects the value of your home’s physical structure, the value of your belongings – or both – in the event of theft, natural disaster, and more. With the right home and/or contents insurance, you will be able to make a claim to your insurer to reimburse the costs of repairing or replacing your home or any damaged items within it.

The amount you will pay for your insurance will vary, as there a number of factors that can affect your home and contents premium. These factors may include (but aren’t limited to) the following:

Your excess: the amount you have to pay every time you make a claim on your policy. For example, if storm damage to your home will cost $5,000 to repair, and you have a $500 excess on your policy, you will pay the $500 excess and the insurer will pay the rest ($4,500). If you need to make a claim on both your home policy and your contents policy from the same event, then you will usually pay the highest excess fee out of the two (you often don’t have to pay two excesses). If your home is damaged a week or a month later from a different event, you will usually need to pay the excess again to make another claim. Excess amounts vary between policies.

The sum (amount) you’re insured for: how much you chose to be insured for can be can impact you premium. The more you’re insured for, the higher your premiums will be, but you will also be paid out more in the event of a claim.

Home and suburb security: high crime rate in your neighbourhood could increase premium prices. Conversely, living in a safer area, or having additional security installed (e.g. fences, alarms, cameras) may reduce your premiums.

Age and structure of property: for example, an older tin roof might be more likely to leak in a storm and damage your contents, which means it presents a higher risk of claiming. This increased risk may then ‘bump up’ your premiums. Conversely, a sturdy new brick home may cost less to insure than an older wooden home.

Median house prices in suburb: living in a more affluent neighbourhood may affect your premiums.

Natural hazard risks: living in a flood zone or bushfire zone is more of a risk, as it can increase your home’s likelihood of being affected by these events and as such increase your premium.

Insurance for renters

If you are the tenant of a rental property, you won’t need to take out home insurance for the physical structure of the property that you live in and are renting; that’s the owner’s responsibility. However, if you want to cover the value of your own belongings or valuables, then you will need to take out contents insurance for renters or tenants.

What is covered by renters (contents only) insurance?

parents holding a babyIt is important to understand exactly what renters insurance is and what a tenant/renter is liable for. Tenants or renters insurance is basically a policy that only covers your contents in the event of them being damaged by certain events/circumstances.

If you are renting, it is a great idea to protect your valuable belongings with tenant insurance. With renters insurance, you can protect your furnishings, clothing, electronics, and more items found in your home against loss, theft, or damage. You can even sometimes insure specific items which you regularly take out of the house (like your bicycle, phone, or handbag) with personal effects/valuables cover.

Home and contents insurance for tenants will usually cover you in certain situations (causes of damage) but may have limits on the amount you can be reimbursed for when you make a claim on your insurance. Make sure you check your product disclosure statement to see exactly what is covered.

What can renters insurance potentially cover for loss or damage of contents?
Flood damageFire & smoke damageTheft or burglary
Storm damageCyclone damageEarthquake damage
Tsunami damageLeakage damage (water/liquid leaking)Accidental & malicious damage to fixtures/fittings (vandalism)

If one of these disastrous events damages or destroys the renter’s belongings, the costs of replacing the items is covered if the renter has the right contents insurance. With renters insurance, some insurers may even offer alternative/temporary accommodation for you and any pets, in the event of your house being damaged to a point where it’s unliveable.

Renters, however, won’t need insurance for the home’s physical structure, as this will is the owner’s responsibility. For example, if damage occurs to the physical property by an event that is outside a tenant’s control (natural disaster, plumbing / electrical fault, etc.), the owner, or the owner’s insurer, should arrange for the repairs,

As a renter, you’ll have many policies to choose from, from comprehensive cover to more affordable options like renter’s insurance that covers basics like fire and theft. However, having a low level of insurance may not cover you in all situations or cover the entirety of your replacement costs.

Depending on your level of renters insurance, there are certain situations where you can add on cover (at an extra cost) for such benefits as:

  • Credit card theft – for credit cards being physically stolen; usually has a dollar limit on amount you can claim
  • Food that has perished – due to power outage, blackouts, or your fridge breaking down
  • Injury liability – assistance with legal and medical costs if anyone is accidentally injured within your property

Also, if you’re moving house, some contents policies may include transit insurance which provides limited cover against things like fire and car accidents when your contents are being moved by professional movers to another property!

What is the cost of renters (contents only) insurance?

Renters insurance (contents only) premiums may depend on the type and amount of belongings you choose to insure (whether you have designer brands, handcrafted furniture, or basic equipment and minimal furnishings) and is based on their replacement value.

There are a few conditions that may affect the cost of your renters insurance, and items that are particularly expensive to replace may have to be added to your renter’s insurance policy separately. Such security doesn’t come for free, though, as this typically raises your tenant insurance monthly premiums.

We looked at the data from almost 40,000 customers who completed renters or tenants contents only insurance quotes with comparethemarket.com.au in 2018. Based on quotes from these customers, the average nominated value to cover contents was approximately $50,000.

Home and contents premiums are based on a variety of factors. However, as a guide, we’ve assembled some approximations of what you’re covered for (plus an estimate of what you could pay to cover $50,000 worth of contents).

How much does insurance cost a renter?
Basic contents cover. Covers cost of replacing contents in these circumstances (usually has limits on how much you can claim):

 

✖ Flood cover (optional)

✓ Cover for storm/rainwater damage

✓ Cover for fire damage

✓ Cover for theft/burglary

✓ Accidental breakage of glass, ceramic, and sanitary fixtures like baths, basins, toilets

✖ Accidental damage of other contents (optional)

✓ Removal of debris and fees

✖ Electrical motor burnout [domestic motors fusing or burning out – damaged appliances] (optional)

✓ Temporary accommodation costs

✓ Funeral expenses (up to $5,000/$7,000)

✓ / ✖ Protect contents left outside in the open air (optional/included with some)

✖ Protect contents away from the property (optional)

✓ Credit card cover (only with some, usually up to $1,000)

✓ Uninsured guests contents cover (usually up to $500)

✓ Contents cover while moving address

✓ Malicious damage and vandalism

✓ Lightning cover

✓ Earthquake cover (additional excess)

✓ Impact cover

✓ Unattached equipment cover (usually up to $500)

✓ Bursting, leaking, discharge or overflow of water or liquids

✓ Replacement of locks (usually up to $500)

✖ Food spoilage

✓ Legal liability

 

 

Top/comprehensive contents cover. Covers cost of replacing content in these events (might have limits on how much you can claim):

 

✓ Flood cover

✓ Cover for storm/rainwater damage

✓ Cover for fire damage

✓ Cover for theft/burglary

✓ Accidental breakage of glass, ceramic, and sanitary fixtures like baths, basins, toilets

✓ Accidental damage of other contents (optional)

✓ Removal of debris and fees

✖ Electrical motor burnout [domestic motors fusing or burning out – damaged appliances] (optional)

✓ Temporary accommodation costs

✓ Funeral expenses

✓ Protect contents left outside in the open air (optional/included with some)

✖ Protect contents away from the property (optional)

✖ Credit card cover

✓ Uninsured guests contents cover

✓ Contents cover in transit while moving address

✓ Malicious damage and vandalism

✓ Lightning cover

✓ Earthquake cover (additional excess)

✓ Impact cover

✓ Bursting, leaking, discharge or overflow of water or liquids

✓ Unattached equipment cover (usually up to $500)

✓ Replacement of locks (usually up to $500)

✓ Food spoilage

✓ Legal liability

 

Approx. $300 per annum [avg.] (roughly $30 to pay monthly)Approx. $600 per annum [avg.] (roughly $50 to pay monthly)
N.B. Insurances quote completed at comparethemarket.com.au on 05/04/2018 (approx. amounts based on median price) for a renter insuring $50,000 worth of contents in a freestanding brick home (with a tiled roof) in Toowong, 4066, Queensland. Excess totalled $500 for contents, plus an additional excess for personal effects/earthquake.

Premium costs, range of contents covered, what you’re covered against, and limits in your policy will vary based on policy and insurer and are subject to change.

The best way to make sure your policy is right for you is to follow these two steps:

  1. Determine how much your contents are worth with this online calculator.
  2. Compare contents insurance for renters or tenants side by side until you find a good value policy that is suited to a renter’s lifestyle and covers you for applicable risks and the specific content you want insured.

You can also check out our guide for first-time renters for more information.

Insurance for homeowners (i.e. owner-occupiers)

If you’ve taken the plunge and purchased your own home, congratulations! It’s an exciting time, but unfortunately, it’s one filled with a ton of paperwork.

An established couple in wedding attire

You won’t need home insurance when you’re renting or living somewhere covered by strata insurance, but you will need it when you own your own house. In fact, your mortgage lender may require you take out a home insurance policy to cover the replacement costs for your property, should something unfortunate happen to its physical structure. This is because they’re also investing in your home; so until you finish paying off the mortgage, your lender is a part-owner of your home.

  • Home insurance will cover you for loss or damage that happens to your home which is outside of your control – specifically, cover for the building’s physical structure.
  • Contents insurance covers the loss or damage to the interior finishes and/or belongings like appliances, furniture, clothes, or valuables (some policies may even have limited transit insurance to cover contents when you’re moving to a new home!).

If anything happens to your home or to the contents inside it and you have the right insurance, you can make a claim and be reimbursed up to the sum-insured amount listed on your policy. Potentially, that’s hundreds of thousands of dollars!

So how much will homeowners insurance cost?

To give an estimate of how much home and contents insurance might cost, we looked at data from over 40,000 customers who quoted for home insurance on comparethemarket.com.au in 2018, and we found that the average value homes were quoted was for $400,000, while the average value contents were quoted for was $50,000.

Based on these numbers, we completed a home and contents insurance application through comparethemarket.com.au for the sum insured value of $450,000, to provide an insurance coverage guide and an estimation of premiums for these average home and contents values.

How much does insurance cost a homeowner?
Standard home and contents cover. Covers cost of repairing/replacing home and/or contents in these circumstances:

 

✓ Flood cover

✓ Cover for storm/rainwater

✓ Cover for fire damage/explosion

✓ Cover for theft/burglary

✓ Accidental breakage of glass, ceramic, and sanitary fixtures like baths, basins, toilets

✖ Accidental damage of other contents

✖ Electrical motor burnout [domestic motors fusing or burning out – damaged appliances] (optional)

✓ Temporary accommodation costs

✓ Funeral expenses

✓ Protect contents left outside in the open

✖ Protect contents away from the property (optional)

✖ Credit card cover

✓ Uninsured guests contents cover

✓ Contents cover while moving address

✓ Malicious damage and vandalism

✓ Lightning cover

✓ Earthquake cover

✓ Impact damage

✓ Contents in the open air at your home

✓ Replacement of locks

✓ Food spoilage

✓ Bursting, leaking, discharge, or overflow of water or liquids

✓ Damage to trees, plants, or shrubs

✓ Removal of debris and fees

✓ Legal liability

 

Top/comprehensive home and contents cover. Covers cost of repairing/replacing home and/or content in these events:

 

✓ Flood cover

✓ Cover for storm/rainwater

✓ Cover for fire damage/explosion

✓ Cover for theft/burglary

✓ Accidental breakage of glass, ceramic, and sanitary fixtures like baths, basins, toilets

✓ Accidental damage of other contents (optional)

✖ Electrical motor burnout [domestic motors fusing or burning out – damaged appliances] (optional)

✓ Temporary accommodation costs

✓ Funeral expenses

✓ Protect contents left outside in the open (optional/included with some)

✖ Protect contents away from the property (optional)

✖ Credit card cover

✓ Uninsured guests contents cover

✓ Contents cover while moving address

✓ Malicious damage and vandalism

✓ Lightning cover

✓ Earthquake cover

✓ Impact damage

✓ Contents in the open air at your home

✓ Replacement of locks

✓ Food spoilage

✓ Bursting, leaking, discharge, or overflow of water or liquids

✓ Damage to trees, plants, or shrubs

✓ Removal of debris and fees

✓ Legal Liability

Approx. $1,100 per annum [avg.] (roughly $90 to pay monthly)Approx. $1,550 per annum [avg.] (roughly $130 to pay monthly)
N.B. Insurance quotes completed at comparethemarket.com.au on 05/04/2018 (approx. amounts based on median quote price) for a home owner with a mortgage, insuring a freestanding brick home (with a tiled roof) in Toowong, 4066, Queensland worth $400,000 and $50,000 worth of contents ($450,000 total sum insured). Excess totalled $500 for home and $500 for contents, plus an additional excess for personal effects/earthquake.

Premium costs, range of contents covered, what you’re covered against, and limits in your policy will vary based on policy and insurer and are subject to change.

Certain events may be specifically covered by your policy (like storm damage), while others may not be (like flood damage), which is why it’s important to:

  1. know what you’re covered for,
  2. understand the difference between cover for defined/listed events & accidental damage, and
  3. make sure you have the right cover for things that may affect you.

Be sure to check the Product Disclosure Statement to understand exactly what is covered under your policy, otherwise you could be paying too much or won’t be covered at all in the event.

“For example, if your house burns down as a result of an out-of-control bushfire, you can claim the damage on your home insurance and have your house repaired or rebuilt if you have fire insurance included.

Additionally, you can claim against your contents insurance to replace everything inside, such as furniture, electronics, and white goods, provided bushfire is listed as a policy addition or ‘covered event’ for your policy.”

However, when weighing up the value of home versus contents insurance, owner-occupiers should consider the total costs of repairing or replacing their home structure, as well as the additional costs of replacing the interior fit out, furnishings, valuables, and belongings to make sure they aren’t underinsured. Otherwise, if you need to make a claim in the  future you may not have enough coverage to replace or rebuild everything.

Insurance Council of Australia provides a building calculator to help you determine the correct value of your home. They also provide a contents calculator to help work out the value of your assets and a household inventory checklist to help you make sure you have ticked off everything you need coverage for. Using these calculators can help you figure out how much home and contents insurance you might need.

Rental property insurance vs homeowners insurance

Renters can take out a contents only renter’s insurance policy, as it is the landlords responsibly to insure the structure of the home or property through landlords insurance.

If you’re a home owner and have a mortgage over your property, the bank will generally require proof of home insurance prior to settlement.

Who can apply for which type of insurance?

Home (i.e. building)Content (i.e. belongings)Strata insurance
Renter✖ N/A

Covered by landlord

✓ Can apply✖ N/A

Covered by landlord

Owner-occupier✓ Can apply✓ Can apply✓ Can apply

If you own strata-title property

Landlord✓ Can apply✓ Can apply

Tenant’s belongings covered by their own renters insurance

✓ Can apply

Insurance for landlords

Whether you’re already a homeowner or not, becoming a landlord and investing in property can be a great addition to your investment portfolio and a great source of income. However, it’s also important to protect that investment and understand what comes along with being a landlord. Landlords insurance is a type of home insurance designed specifically for property investors.

Depending on the insurer and policy, landlords insurance may cover you for loss, theft, or malicious/accidental damage incurred during a tenancy. It may also cover you for repair or replacement after an occurrence of a specified natural disaster, such as a storm, flood, fire, etc. It can also cover landlords for loss of income due to rent being unpaid.

As well as cover for the actual building and fittings, landlords insurance will usually cover fixed items like: light fittings carpets, curtains, window coverings, ovens, and stovetops. Landlords insurance can also cover your legal liability if a tenant files a claim against you due to an accident or injury incurred while in the property.

So how much will landlords insurance cost?

Based on over 40,000 of our customers who completed home insurance quotes in 2018 with comparethemarket.com.au, the average amount customers quoted their home for was $400,000. From this value amount, we created an application for Landlord Building insurance (this includes building and fixed property only) to give an estimate of the cost of  insurance for a landlord.

How much does insurance cost a landlord?
Landlord building insurance. Usually includes cover towards the building or fixed property for:

✓ Loss of rent following damage

✓ Malicious damage/acts, vandalism, and theft by tenants

·         Rent default and legal expenses – optional/additional costs [this covers if the tenant can’t pay rent]

✓ Flood, storm, lightning, and rainwater damage

✓ Fire damage, explosions, and theft (burglary from non-tenants)

✓ Earthquake, tsunami, volcanic eruption

✓ Impact damage (home being damaged by impact of vehicle or other)

✓ Bursting, leaking, discharge, or overflow of water or liquids

·         Electrical motor burnout (i.e. damaged appliances) – optional/additional costs

✓ Accidental glass breakage

✓ Demolition/removal of debris and fees

✓ Legal liability

Approx. $1,000 per annum [avg.] (roughly $90 to pay monthly)
N.B. Insurance quotes completed at comparethemarket.com.au on 05/04/2018 (approx. amounts based on median quote price) for a landlord insuring a freestanding brick home building (with a tiled roof) in Toowong, 4066, Queensland worth $400,000 to replace (property cover only, no contents). Building excess totalled $500 (amount landlord pays for claim), plus an additional excess for personal effects/earthquake.

Premium costs, range of contents covered, what you’re covered against, and limits in your policy will vary based on policy and insurer and are subject to change.

We always hope that tenants will do the right thing, but sometimes landlords without the right insurance are left out of pocket after their investment home is damaged, a lease is broken, or if a tenant fails to pay the rent. No matter the type of home you’re renting out, comparethemarket.com.au offers landlords an easy-to-use comparison service that only takes minutes to find a quote for landlord insurance.

Strata insurance

Strata fees or body corporate is the extra amount that property owners usually pay to be part of a gated townhouse community, complex, or apartment building. The strata fee is implemented to pay for common building maintenance and fixtures.

If you own an apartment or strata-titled property, your insurance options are usually more complicated. Strata-titled properties will be provisioned with specific strata insurance, which every owner pays for via their strata fees (renters don’t pay strata or body corporate, that’s just for owners/landlords).

Strata insurance covers the cost for repairs or replacement of both the external walls of a building and common property in a strata-titled complex. However, prices will vary between properties, complexes, apartment buildings, and types of insurance cover (usually depends on how much the property building would cost to repair/replace).

According to the Insurance Council of Australia, in the case of the strata-titled property (building and common fixtures) being damaged by fire, flood, storm, impact, and other events or circumstances, it is common for strata insurance to cover the below fixtures and features (however, it will depend on your specific strata insurance):

  • elevators and stairways
  • common entries and exits,
  • exterior walls and windows,
  • balconies,
  • gutters,
  • roofs, ceilings, and floors,
  • common areas
  • shared gardens and garden equipment,
  • wiring,
  • shared swimming pools,
  • car parks, and
  • injury liability incurred on common property (e.g. outside your apartment’s walls).

Strata insurance (like home insurance) will generally not cover you for interior fixings (like blinds, curtains, or carpets) and interior walls, which are usually covered by landlords insurance. It also won’t cover your personal belongings, which can be covered by contents insurance.

However, in some instances, it may cover fixed (unmoveable) parts of your apartment, like ducted air conditioning. As such, home owner-occupiers or renters of a strata-titled property will still need to take out a contents only policy if they want to cover their own valuables and interior furnishings.

How to avoid common insurance mistakes

It’s important to research and choose a home and contents policy carefully, to avoid two of the most common home and contents insurance mistakes: underinsuring and assuming comprehensive cover. Every policy is different and may not cover all the things you want or need it to cover.

Underinsuring is a major problem in Australia. According to The Understand Insurance Research Report in 2013“more than four in five Australian homeowners and renters (83%) are underinsured for their home and contents”. Taking the time to calculate the replacement cost of your home and its contents will help you arrange the right level of cover, so you don’t receive only a fraction of what your house and contents is worth should the unfortunate happen. Remember: you want to factor in enough money to rebuild your home and replace your contents.

For example, if your house was insured for $500,000, but is actually worth closer to $700,000 to rebuild, you will only be paid the sum-insured amount: $500,000. This means you stand to lose a lot of money, and possibly pay back a mortgage on a house that has lost its value.

The report also found that “a third of Australians risk underinsurance by not updating their contents policy to cover new possessions”. Make sure you do a room-by-room audit and reassess this figure each year when your policy is renewed, taking into account any extensions, renovations, or expensive furnishings or electronics you have purchased in the last twelve months.

Also be sure not to overinsure. If you are paying for comprehensive cover, but only need cover for basic circumstances found in a lower level of insurance, then it is important to review your cover and compare new options.

 

  • Do not assume you have ‘comprehensive’ cover. For example, accident damage cover is often an optional extra, which is charged at an additional premium for many insurance policies. According to the Understand Insurance research report, “up to a quarter of Australians are knowingly unsure about what is covered under their home insurance”. Read the Policy Disclosure Statement (PDS) carefully and take careful note of the fine print to ensure you are covered for specific needs and circumstances.
  • Don’t lie. It should go without saying, but when it comes to insurance, honesty is always the best policy. Be honest about the value of your home and contents from the beginning and ensure you have proof of ownership for big-ticket items. Tell the truth about your home’s security – don’t tell your insurer there’s a security camera or deadbolts installed on all the windows if you don’t have them. It may reduce your premiums in the short term, but a little lie at the beginning could mean your claim is rejected or reduced down the track. It’s also important to update your details when any circumstances change to make sure you have the right cover and aren’t paying too much, especially when moving house.

 

Does renters insurance cover flood damage?

Flood damage to an area within your home is generally beyond your control. If you have a high level of renters insurance, it will usually cover the replacement of your contents or any belongings which are damaged or destroyed by flood damage. However, cover for these circumstances might not be automatically included if you are on a basic, lower level policy. You may be able to elect to add flood cover, however this is likely to increase your premiums.

Any flood damage to the home’s physical structure should be covered by owners insurance or landlords insurance. However, depending on your renter’s insurance policy, there will be specific terms and conditions, and possible limits on the amount you can claim for flood damage.

It is best to check with your insurer or your product disclosure statement (PDS) for more information on what you are covered for.

Does renters insurance cover bike theft?

If you get the right level of cover (with the right extras), contents insurance for renters can offer replacement or repair costs for items that are kept outdoors or outside of your address.

Extras can include cover for bicycles and other sporting items which can be added on to your policy at an extra price (like gardening equipment and bikes). No matter where you leave your bike, whether it’s indoors or outdoors, higher level renters insurance for content will generally cover bikes (and other items) that are damaged or stolen due to theft.

Do I need home insurance if I own an apartment?

If you own an apartment that includes strata insurance as part of your strata or body corporate payments, then this will generally provide home insurance cover for any damage to your apartment’s physical structure. However, strata insurance will not protect your contents or valuables, which is where you will need contents insurance.

If you live in and own an apartment without any strata insurance then you will need to purchase home insurance as well as contents insurance. It is best to check with the property manager to determine your pre-existing level of cover.

Whether you’re a renter, live-in homeowner, or a landlord, your home is your castle and your belongings are valuable; you shouldn’t risk either of them. We can help make sure your home and content’s value has the right protection it needs in case something goes wrong, and also help make sure you aren’t paying too much by comparing cover and prices from a range of insurance providers and policies.

It only takes a few minutes to find the right insurance for your living situation and budget with comparethemarket.com.au, so why not get started now?

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