While fire is an insured event, whether your home and contents insurance covers fire damage will vary between insurers. There is no standardised definition of fire damage across insurers, so you’ll need to check the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to see exactly what events and types of damage are covered.
There’s a lot of work involved in repairing a home or replacing contents damaged by fire. Fortunately, home and contents insurance policies can help by covering a variety of different costs that can come up following a fire.
The table below shows the different things that home and contents insurance may typically help with. Be aware that these lists aren’t exhaustive, and fire cover varies between insurers.
|Covered by home insurance||Covered by contents insurance||Excluded|
Always read the PDS of a new policy document before you buy and remember that cover is subject to your insured sum, limits, exclusions and restrictions.
Fire protection is particularly crucial in Australia, a country that’s no stranger to this natural disaster. During the summer months, raging bushfires can destroy the homes and belongings of many people across the country.
Thankfully, home and contents insurance can provide a payout towards the repair or rebuilding of your home and belongings inside it if it’s damaged by fire, protecting you from major out-of-pocket costs.
Fire cover is automatically included in home and contents policies, so you pay for it through your premiums. However, the amount you pay in premiums can be influenced by the risk of fire at your address, as well as the estimated cost of rebuilding, repairing or replacing your home and belongings.
For example, living in a bushfire-prone area may increase your premiums, as your insurance provider will see you as a higher risk to cover. Likewise, if your contents would cost a significant amount to replace, you may pay a little more for your insurance to reflect this higher value.
If you’d like to find out how much you could potentially pay for home and contents insurance, you can get your quote through our comparison service.
Whether an insurer accepts your claim for fire damage usually depends on the details of the incident. Generally, burn damage from flames is covered, but many insurance providers don’t cover scorching, melting, smoke or soot damage where there is no flame.
Some providers may cover smoke or soot damage where there was no fire under accidental damage cover, which is typically an optional extra that you can add to your policy for an increased premium. This could then cover accidents, for example, in the kitchen where a scorched benchtop is a result of setting down a hot pan on the bench.
If someone attempts to set fire to your house deliberately, this is covered under home and contents insurance in the same way that vandalism and other types of malicious damage are. However, if you or a house guest starts the fire (either deliberately or through intentionally reckless/illegal acts), this is likely not covered.
If you start a fire by accident, you can be covered by home and contents insurance. Whether you put the candle too close to the curtains, you have a cooking disaster or firepit night goes wrong, most home and contents insurance covers flame damage caused by accidents.
If there are other types of fire damage, like scorching or melting but there was no flame, this may fall under accidental damage cover if you have this option added to your policy.
If your smoke alarms aren’t maintained, your home may not be following your state or territory’s building legislation, and this means your insurance claim could be denied. It’s vitally important that your home complies with the rules of your state.