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First home buyers’ insurance

There’s nothing like getting the keys to your first home - finally the freedom of having your own place. But along with this freedom comes new responsibilities; not the least being making sure you’ve got the right insurance cover in place. And with your home likely to be the biggest purchase you ever make, why wouldn’t you want to make sure you’ve protected your biggest asset?

Home Insurance – the difference between renting and owning

If you’ve rented in the past, it would have been the responsibility of the landlord to make sure the property was insured (that is, the actual property – not your personal belongings). With your own home however, the responsibility of protecting yourself from the unknown is yours – in fact, holding building insurance may be a requirement of your mortgage.

Working out what the right level of cover is for the first time can be somewhat daunting, so here are some of the main points to consider. It’s important you take the time to choose the right cover for your needs, so should you have any questions, make sure you get in touch with the insurer as many times as you need before settling on a policy.

Insuring your property with building insurance

Building insurance can provide cover for damage for your home and generally covers the main home, garage and other buildings on the property that can be locked up as well as built-in wardrobes, kitchen cabinets and plumbing (although exactly what is covered will vary depending on the policy so make sure you read the Product Disclosure Statement first).

What you are covered for will also vary depending on the policy, so it’s important to find a policy that covers the events you need to insure against. For example, most building insurance policies will cover theft, fire and storms, but not all policies will provide cover for flooding.

Over and above just providing cover to fix or replace damage to your home, should it be needed, you may also wish to consider whether a building insurance policy covers:

  • Temporary accommodation if your home becomes unliveable.
  • Emergency repairs to protect your home from further damage.
  • Mortgage discharge fees if your home is a total loss.
Total replacement insurance or sum insured?

There are broadly two types of building insurance cover – total replacement and sum-insured:

  • Total replacement covers all the costs to rebuild your home to the standard it was before it was destroyed (by a predefined insurable event listed in the PDS). A total replacement policy means you won’t have to worry about any shortfall to repair or rebuild your home.
  • A sum insured policy provides cover up to a set amount to repair or rebuild your home.

A sum insured policy tends to have a lower premium (the amount you pay for your policy). However, should you choose this type of cover it’s important you make sure you’ve got enough cover to be able to rebuild your property.

What about what’s inside your home?

Building insurance covers the structure of your home – it doesn’t cover your belongings. In order to protect your possessions you need to take out a contents insurance policy.

Who is responsible for building insurance if your new home is a unit?

If your new home is part of a strata title complex (the majority of apartments and townhouses in Australia are strata title – check with the executive committee for your building or managing agent to confirm), the building will be covered by residential strata insurance (also known as body corporate cover). Although you won’t have to arrange the insurance yourself, you will contribute along with the other owners in your building through your building or strata levies. Some items such as kitchen cupboards, light fittings and even paint or wallpaper aren’t covered by strata insurance so check your contents insurance sum insured has allowed for these items as well.

Things you should know

The information contained in this article is general information only and is not specific to any product.  

It does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness, having regard to your personal objectives, financial situation and needs to these factors before acting on it.

Terms, conditions and exclusions apply to any insurance product. Please read the disclosure documents for your selected product or service, including the Terms and Conditions or Product Disclosure Statement, before deciding.

Cover is subject to your application for insurance being accepted.

Westpac Retail and Business Banking Financial Services Guide, Credit Guide and Privacy Statement (PDF 85KB)

Home and Contents Insurance Product Disclosure Statement and Supplementary Product Disclosure Statements (applicable to policies issued or renewed on or after 1 July 2019) (PDF 339KB)

Home and Contents Insurance Product Disclosure Statement and Supplementary Product Disclosure Statement (applicable to policies initially issued in the period between 30 June 2018 and 30 June 2019; or renewed in the period between 30 July 2018 and 30 June 2019) (PDF 328KB)

View the Home and Contents Insurance Key Fact Sheets.

Home and Contents Insurance is issued by Westpac General Insurance Limited ABN 99 003 719 319 (except workers compensation cover where applicable). Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 distributes the insurance, but does not guarantee the insurance. This information does not take into account your personal circumstances. Read the Product Disclosure Statement to see if this insurance is right for you.