Whether you’re a homeowner, renter or landlord, you may wish to have financial protection for your home or belongings.
There are several different types of insurance to choose from, though most revolve around the two main types: home insurance (for the building) and contents insurance (for the items inside the home or in the yard or your car).
Take a look at the list below to learn more about the different types of home and contents insurance, whether it’s a standalone policy like home insurance or an optional extra you can add to an existing policy.
The types of home insurance you may need depends on your relation to and the type of the property to be insured. For example, if you own the property (whether as a landlord or owner occupier), home or building insurance is the essential cover, whereas a tenant or strata owner may only need contents insurance.
Home insurance can cover the costs of fixing, repairing or rebuilding your home and belongings following a variety of natural disasters, including:
There may be conditions to your cover, such as tsunamis having to be caused by an earthquake or volcanic eruption. Also, not all providers cover all types of natural disasters. Be sure to read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and any key fact sheets for each policy before you buy so you know exactly what you’re covered for.
Vandalism and malicious damage are generally covered by both home and contents insurance. This can include the cost of repairs for damage caused by attempted break-ins as well. It doesn’t cover intentional damage caused by residents, household members and their guests.
Home insurance can cover the cost of temporary accommodation if your home is uninhabitable following an insured event. There’ll usually be a limit on how long your accommodation costs will be covered for, depending on your specific policy; for example, your accommodation may be covered for 12 or even 24 months. Be sure to check your PDS to know how long your benefit period will last.
Renters may also have some of their accommodation costs covered for a set time following an insured event that damages their contents under a renters insurance policy.
A variety of appliances and electronic devices can be covered by contents insurance. These can include:
If you take things with you when you leave the house, you may be able to insure them with portable contents cover (also called portable items or personal effects cover). Additionally, you may be able to add cover for some appliances against power surges with motor burnout cover.
There are some standard exclusions common in home and contents insurance, including:
You should always read the PDS to check the exclusions, terms and conditions for full details specific to your policy.
Your home insurance will cover your rebuilding costs to the amount you chose when you took out the policy; this is the sum insured. If this amount isn’t enough to completely cover the cost of rebuilding your property, you’ll likely need to pay the difference yourself. This is known as underinsurance.
Home insurance also generally includes the cost of removing debris following an event that destroys or severely damages a home.
Some insurance providers may provide total replacement cover, which provides a sum insured for the full amount of restoring your home to the condition it was in before the incident based on the home’s replacement value. These policies are less common nowadays and typically cost more, but can provide peace of mind as there are generally fewer discrepancies between the cost of rebuilding and the current value of your home.
Home and contents insurance policies include legal liability cover should someone be injured, or their property damaged by accident when visiting your home. It can cover the cost of replacing or repairing someone’s belongings, plus legal costs associated with death or injuries someone experiences at your property.