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What type of insurance do you need for your home?

Wondering what sort of insurance you need for your place? The insurance that’s right for you will depend on the type of home you have, and whether you own or rent it.

Building insurance

Building insurance (also known in Australia as home insurance or homeowners insurance) provides cover for your home from events such as fire, storm damage and floods. It covers the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home and other buildings on your property such as garages and sheds.

Building insurance covers both the main structure as well as permanent fixtures such as kitchen cabinets, plumbing and built-in wardrobes. Depending on the policy, it may also cover any legal liability caused to someone injured visiting your property.

Who needs building insurance?

Building insurance is designed for freestanding, terrace or semi-detached owner-occupied properties.

Contents insurance

Whereas building insurance protects the structure of your home, contents insurance covers the repair or replacement of your possessions inside your home. Some policies will also provide cover for your contents when you take them outside of your home (usually for an additional premium).

Who needs contents insurance?

Contents insurance is suitable whether you live in a home or unit - and whether you own your place or rent.

If you own and live in a unit or apartment and there is a body corporate, you’ll need to include fixtures and fittings such as carpets, light fittings, kitchen cupboards and repainting costs in your contents insurance.

Combined home and contents insurance

Often you will see home and contents insurance combined as if they were one product. They are however two separate policies. Having the policies combined in the one agreement means having to pay only one premium, and depending on the insurer, may also mean that you are entitled to a discounted rate.

What if you’re renting?

If you rent or share a place with flatmates, you may want to consider contents insurance for your personal possessions.  As with contents insurance for homeowners, you could select a policy that provides cover for your possessions when you take them outside of your home. Contents insurance policies vary, so find a level of cover that is right for you.

What if you own an investment property?

If you own an investment property, landlord insurance can provide cover for your property as well as the fixtures and fittings (think curtains, kitchen cupboards, plumbing and carpet). Depending on the policy, it can also cover you for liability , loss of rent if the home can’t be lived in or your tenants default.

Who is responsible for building insurance if I live in a unit?

If you live in a strata title apartment (and the majority of apartments in Australia are strata title – you can generally check with the executive committee of your building or managing agent to confirm), the building will be covered by residential strata insurance (also known as body corporate cover). This type of cover is mandatory in every state and territory in Australia and the cost is shared between all owners, and is generally included as part of the building levies.