Home Insurance

Home insurance can cover the cost of repairing damage to your property. Here’s how you can find a policy suited to your budget and personal circumstances.

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How Home Insurance Can Protect You From the Unexpected

How Home Insurance Can Protect You From the Unexpected

Homeownership is the Australian dream. For the better half of a century, any reference to Australian aspirations meant purchasing and owning a home. After all, home is where the heart is. Yet, homeownership is a large responsibility, and you need to ensure you’re covered if the unexpected strikes. The last thing anyone wants is to have their beloved house, condo or apartment, taken away without any means of return. Unfortunately, without home insurance, this nightmare can become a reality.

If you’re looking to purchase home insurance, but don’t know where to start, Oiyo has you covered. This comprehensive guide will provide a simple breakdown of all the factors needed to make an informed purchase.

What is home insurance?

In a nutshell, home insurance is an insurance policy designed to protect your property from what is referred to as insured/defined events.

This includes damage caused by fire, storms, floods etc. The damage caused by these unforeseen events can cost thousands, if not millions. Therefore, the purpose of home insurance is to mitigate the financial burden of costly repairs or damage replacement. It can also help cover the cost of any legal liability if you or someone else was injured while inside the property.

What does home insurance cover?

Depending on your level of cover, your home insurance policy can cover damage to your property caused by a number of events/situations. A good home insurance policy may include most if not all the following cover:

  • Damage to your property caused by:
    • Fire
    • Storms
    • Earthquakes
    • Floods
    • Theft, attempted theft and any damage that results from it
    • Explosions
    • Vandalism and intentional malicious damage
    • Wild animal damage
    • Lightning
    • Sudden impacts
  • Escaped liquids such as flooded bathrooms or burst pipes
  • Emergency repairs to the building to protect and prevent further damage from an unexpected event
  • Demolition and removal of the property if it’s irreparable
  • Legal liability if you or someone is injured while inside your property
  • Temporary accommodation when you’re unable to live in your home due to damages

What should your home insurance policy include?

There are a plethora of home insurance policies available for you to choose from. Research is key as you also don’t want to run the risk of being uninsured yet. Take a look at some of our best recommendations of what you should consider including in your policy:

Accidental breakage

Make sure some sort of accidental breakage cover is included as accidents tend to happen more often than you think. It’s also a good idea to see if there is a specific cover for accidental breakage of glass, windows and other fragile items.

Claims process

Any good insurance policy will have a simple claims process for you to follow if you do need to lodge a claim. Always check to see what the process is. You want to look out for things such as the possibility of lodging a claim online or over the phone, whether they have a 24-hour helpline, what their hours of business are, how long it may take to get a decision and how straightforward the whole process is in general. The ease (or difficulty) of the claims process could save you a whole lot of stress down the road.

Building inclusions

What is their definition of ‘buildings’? If you have other structures on your property such as a shed, granny flat or outhouse, you want to check if these are covered in your policy. If something happened and you did need to rebuild your home or any other structures on your property, do you have flexibility in relation to the choice of designs, builders? Or would you be limited to options provided by your insurance company? These are some important questions to enquire about making your decision on a home loan policy.

An underinsurance gap policy

A good policy will contain a specific feature to prevent the possibility of underinsurance. This is basically a feature that ensures that you’re covered for damage that costs up to 25% more to repair than the amount you’re actually insured for. This gap cover ensures that you’re not left out of pocket in the event of extremely costly repairs.

Defined events

Is your policy clear on what “defined events” or “insured events” are that are covered under your policy? These defined events will include specific things such as fires, floods, earthquakes or explosions. The more defined events are included the more comprehensive your cover is.

Storm cover

You’ll want a policy that defines the specific conditions of storm damage that is included under the cover. Storms can cause a whole host of different kinds of damage. There the more thorough the cover for storm damage, the better.

 

How do you make a home insurance claim?

Typically, the claims process will vary between different providers. However, it shouldn’t be too difficult or complicated. For a general overview on how to submit a claim, take a look here:

Step 1: Contact your home insurance provider

Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible. Keep your insurance provider informed and get the ball rolling on your claim right away.

Step 2: Get a claims form

You can usually download and fill out a claims form from your insurance providers website and submit it online. You might also have the option to call your insurer and request a physical claims form in the mail.

Step 3: Evidence of the damage

This is probably the most important part of the claims process as you’re going to show your insurer exactly what has happened to your property. You’ll want to provide both a written version of the events that led to the damage; as well as visual evidence. The more information you are able to provide, the better. Generally, this part of the process will need the following documentation to move forward:

  • Photos and/or videos of the damage to your property;
  • Receipts relating to the claim (if applicable);
  • If it involves intentional malicious activity such as theft or wilful damage you will also need to provide a police report;
  • Your most up to date valuation report of the property;
  • Product details such as make, model, serial number etc. if you have them and you have items that have been damaged.

It’s always a good idea to keep hold of any damaged items, as your insurer may opt to repair instead of replacing the items.

Once you have provided all your evidence to support your claim and your insurer has everything they need you should be able to finalise and submit your claim in full.

Hearing back about your claim

In Australia, it’s common to hear back about your claim within 10 business days of submitting. If your insurer decides that they need further supporting evidence they will let you know within this 10-day timeframe.

Keep in mind that if a large natural disaster has occurred, it’s likely that a large proportion of the community has also been affected. This can greatly increase the amount of time that it will take for you to get a response from your insurer. This is due to the fact that the number of claims being submitted would’ve spiked and exceeds what would normally be expected. Your insurer has up to 12-months to provide you with an outcome on your home insurance claim.

 

Top home insurance providers to watch out for

When you’re looking for the best home insurance provider for your needs, it always pays to have a look at a few different providers. Take a look at their features and make some comparisons. You want to find an insurance policy that is suitable for your budget, home and personal circumstances. We took the liberty of having a look at some of the best providers and policies out there to get your comparison started.

St George Home and Contents insurance

A fairly comprehensive home insurance policy that covers your home insurance as well as your contents. Take a look at just some of the inclusions of the policy:

  • Damage to trees, plants, shrubs – $10,000
  • Food spoilage – $2,000
  • Funeral Expenses – $15,000
  • Legal liability – $20,000,000
  • Loss of theft of credit card – $5,000
  • Building modifications – $10,000
  • Includes cover for flood, lightning, malicious damage, accidental glass breakage, damage to trees and plants, food spoilage, removal of debris and trees, temporary accommodation, lock replacement, earthquake, outdoor contents, inside contents.
Type of Cover ✔/✖
Fire, storm, and theft damage
Rebuilding and repairs to your home
Accidental damage to home or belongings
Legal liability
Underinsurance protection
Full Building Replacement
Cover for Strata Title Property

ANZ Home and Contents insurance

Another great home insurance policy that offers good coverage for the insured party and their property. With perks like full building replacement and temporary accommodation up to 24-months in extreme catastrophic events, this ANZ policy is definitely one to consider:

  • Damage to trees, plants, shrubs – $2,000
  • Jewellery – $3,000
  • Funeral Expenses – $20,000
  • Legal liability – $30,000,000
  • Building modifications – $20,000
  • Includes cover for flood, lightning, malicious damage, accidental glass breakage, damage to trees and plants, food spoilage, removal of debris and trees, temporary accommodation, lock replacement, earthquake, outdoor contents, inside contents.
Type of Cover ✔/✖
Fire, storm, and theft damage
Rebuilding and repairs to your home
Accidental damage to home or belongings
Legal liability
Underinsurance protection
Full Building Replacement
Cover for Strata Title Property

Westpac Home and Contents Insurance

Westpac offers a fairly comprehensive home insurance policy with the additional contents insurance included as well. While it doesn’t offer full building replacement, it has every other inclusion you could possibly need or want:

  • Damage to trees, plants, shrubs – $10,000
  • Jewellery – $20,000
  • Food spoilage – $2,000
  • Funeral Expenses – $15,000
  • Legal liability – $20,000,000
  • Loss of theft of credit card – $5,000
  • Building modifications – $10,000
  • Home office contents – $15,000
  • Includes cover for flood, lightning, malicious damage, accidental glass breakage, damage to trees and plants, food spoilage, removal of debris and trees, temporary accommodation, lock replacement, earthquake, outdoor contents, inside contents.
Type of Cover ✔/✖
Fire, storm, and theft damage
Rebuilding and repairs to your home
Accidental damage to home or belongings
Legal liability
Underinsurance protection
Full Building Replacement
Cover for Strata Title Property

Why home insurance might be worth it

Home insurance is one of those expenses that is absolutely worth it. Accidental or malicious damage to your property can cost you a huge sum of money if you’re not fully covered. Rather than being out of pocket for potentially thousands of dollars or more depending on the level of damage, why not invest in home insurance and save yourself the time and stress of such large costs. With so many insurance providers on the market, it’s easy to find a provider who has everything you’re looking for.

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Oiyo is a consolidated online resource, we are not financial advisors. We work with a range of industry professionals and compliance check our articles to ensure factual accuracy. However, we do not provide professional financial advice. Consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how the information and ideas presented in this article relate to your unique circumstances.