Property Insurance

For most people their house and contents are probably some of the largest assets that they own, it makes sense then to insure them correctly to ensure that if an unfortunate event occurs you can avoid a financial disaster. In Australia it is estimated that a staggering 31% of homes are uninsured and of those with insurance approximately 43% are severely underinsured. The unfortunate reality is that most people with inadequate cover do not realise it until it’s too late.  

If you work from home you may need a separate business cover for public liability insurance and also for the contents used for business purposes.

There are generally 2 levels of cover available:

Defined events cover

These policies are generally cheaper (as they provide less cover). The cover is usually restricted to the insured situation (no cover away from the premises) and covers for events such as;

        •  Fire or Explosion
        •  Storm, Lightning or Thunderbolt
        •  Earthquake
        •  Theft
        •  Malicious Acts
        •  Riot or Civil Commotion
        •  Bursting, Leaking, Discharging or Overflowing of basins, tanks, 
            pipes etc
        •  Impact (by car, tree etc)
        •  Breakage of Glass
        •  Fusion of Electric Motors
        •  Spoilage of Food (due to breakdown of fridge or freezer)

Accidental loss or Damage cover

This cover provides all of the cover noted in the defined events policy PLUS cover for ACCIDENTAL DAMAGE or LOSS of items that cannot be found. This cover will generally provide an automatic cover for items taken away from the premises (within Australia)

There are three sections to a house and contents policy:
Building Insurance

Most policies cover the main dwelling plus any other domestic use garage, outbuildings, walls, gates, fences, driveways, verandas, patios, in-ground swimming pools and for tenanted properties, any landlords fixtures and fittings such as stoves, built in air conditioning, light fittings, kitchens, etc..  Ensure that your sum insured covers the cost of the current rebuilding value, plus costs associated with removal and dumping of the damaged property and any other professional costs associated with rebuilding (such as architects, soil tests, application fees etc..) 

Contents Insurance

Contents insurance is designed to cover the cost of replacing furniture, carpets, clothes and personal possessions. Items such as artwork, antiques, collections and jewellery can have cover, limited to a certain value unless they are specified individually on the policy.  

Cover for items being taken away from the insured property (within Australia) is not provided by all policies automatically, these items can be insured by specifying them and paying an additional premium.  

If you’re intending travelling overseas check with your Insurer, as most house and contents policies will not cover outside of Australia and New Zealand (travel insurance is usually the best cover option).

It's important to establish what is defined as buildings and contents under your cover.

For example, policies will generally consider carpets, curtains and light fittings as contents items.

In general terms, a good rule of thumb is to consider your contents to be everything you would take with you if you moved out, excluding carpets, curtains and light fittings.

An especially grey area sometimes exists regarding whitegoods (washing machines, dryers and dishwashers). Most policies deem these to be contents, however, some policies may consider them part of the building (if built in).

The major items of value will generally be curtains, carpets and light fittings. Consider these aspects when calculating your replacement values and also consider a few of the other following important areas:
  • Contents generally settle new for old so, when calculating, use the new replacement cost.         
  • Check if you policy has limits for jewellery, artwork, antiques or collections. If the replacement item exceeds the policy limit, contact your broker to specify the item(s)
Personal Liability Insurance

Most contents insurance policies automatically include personal liability insurance. This covers you should you be responsible for another person being injured or if they have any of their property damaged while on your property.   It does NOT cover other people who work in or on your home, such as cleaners, gardeners, builders or plumbers. These people should have their own business liability insurance policy to protect them for the damage they may do to you or your property. 

Landlords Insurance

As a landlord you place an incredible amount of trust into your Real Estate Agent or Managing Agent to get it right when selecting and reviewing the type of tenant that is allowed to inhabit your investment property. Even with the best screening techniques, incidents can and do happen. Your asset is worth protecting properly, this is where the landlord insurance policy has been specifically designed for your needs.

There are six sections to a landlord’s policy:

Building Cover


Most policies cover the main dwelling plus any other domestic use garage, outbuildings, walls, gates, fences, driveways, verandas, patios, in-ground swimming pools and any landlords fixtures and fittings such as stoves, built in air conditioning, kitchens, etc..   Ensure that your sum insured covers the cost of the current rebuilding value, plus costs associated with removal and dumping of the damaged property and any other professional costs associated with rebuilding (such as architects, soil tests, application fees etc..)

Contents cover

Covering the cost of replacing furniture, carpets, curtains, internal blinds etc. Note that the definition contents will change from policy to policy and some items may or may not be covered by the building section.  

Damage or theft caused by tenants


Cover for your loss or damage to building and / or contents at the situation caused by a deliberate or intentional act by a tenant. This will generally include larceny, theft, malicious damage or vandalism.  

Tenants rent default

If a tenant defaults on the payment of their rent, vacates the premises - leaving them unfit for occupation,  vacates without notice prior to their lease expiry date or is legally evicted from the situation, then cover is generally available under this type of extension.  

Loss of rent

When a building, insured under a landlord’s policy, is damaged and cannot be inhabited then this extension to cover will pay the amount insured for the weekly rent that cannot be charged on the property.

Legal Liability

This covers you should you be responsible for another person being injured or if they have any of their property damaged while on your property.  

It does NOT cover other people who work in or on your home, such as cleaners, gardeners, builders or plumbers. These people should have their own business liability insurance policy to protect them for the damage they may do to your tenant or your property.

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