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Frequently asked questions

 

Home Insurance

Contents Insurance

What is home and contents insurance?

Home insurance covers the cost of damage to or loss of your home; and contents insurance covers the cost of damage to or loss of your household goods and personal effects.

They’re often bundled together as a 'home and contents insurance' package but are in fact separate policies, so you'll need to work out what cover you need for each.

Home Insurance

 

What does home insurance cover?

Our home insurance covers you for the cost of repairing, rebuilding or replacing your home if it is damaged or destroyed by events like:

  • storms and rainwater (flood cover is an optional extra)
  • fire
  • theft (or attempted theft), provided you report it to police
  • sudden and unexpected escape of liquid (e.g. from baths or sinks)
  • impact at the home (e.g. a falling tree or branch)
  • explosion.

Your home comprises:

  • your residential building, including garages
  • other structures like your garden shed and fences
  • domestic fixtures – items permanently attached to your home or buildings (e.g. fixed floor coverings, awnings, in-ground swimming pool)
  • permanent structural improvements (e.g. a home extension).

Your insurance certificate shows you what you’re covered for.

Standard benefits

As part of your home insurance policy, we provide cover for the following (when we agree to pay your claim):

  • legal liability – up to $20 million, for other people’s death or injury or for loss or damage to other people’s property following an accident at your home
  • removal of debris and extra costs of rebuilding – including professional fees
  • temporary accommodation – for your family and pets for up to one year
  • landlord benefit – including loss of rental income for up to one year
  • mortgage discharge costs
  • modifications to your home as a result of paraplegia or quadriplegia
  • funeral expenses.

For a more detailed explanation of these benefits, including the payout limits, please read the product disclosure statement.

Exclusions and conditions

It’s important to understand that insurance policies do not cover every eventuality.

For more details about what is and what is not insured, and the terms and conditions that apply, please read the product disclosure statement.

Can I get extra cover – for events like flooding?

Yes. For an extra premium, you can add one or more of the following optional covers to your insurance policy:

  • flood cover – for damage caused by flooding rivers, creeks and other bodies of water
  • accidental damage – standard cover includes accidental damage to glass, ceramic and sanitary fixtures; this option extends your cover to your home and other contents
  • landlord covers – in case your tenant defaults on their rental payments or steals from or maliciously damages your investment property
  • sum insured safeguard – we’ll increase your sum insured by 25 per cent if your nominated sum insured is insufficient to repair or replace your home.

Your insurance certificate shows you what you’re covered for, including the optional covers you have selected.

For a more detailed explanation of these optional covers, please read the product disclosure statement

How soon after buying my home must I insure it?

It’s recommended you approach us about insuring your home before exchanging signed copies of the purchase contract with the seller.

We’ll give you a policy number to cover your home for the period between the exchange of contracts and the settlement date.

Your policy will take effect on the settlement date.

(Note that some lenders will want to see your policy number before releasing the funds for your home.)

How much should I insure my home for?

It’s up to you to determine how much it would cost to rebuild your home if it was badly damaged or destroyed.

This figure is what’s known as the ‘sum insured. It’s the maximum amount we’ll pay to rebuild your home.

If it costs more than the sum insured to rebuild your house, you’ll have to make up the shortfall. So make sure the sum you nominate is sufficient to rebuild your house at today’s prices.

Rebuilding calculator

Use our calculators to help you estimate how much it would cost to rebuild your home

For a more accurate rebuilding cost estimate, we recommend you consult an architect, builder, quantity surveyor, valuer or other suitably qualified professional.

Changes to sum insured

At the end of each insurance period, we’ll automatically increase the sum insured, to allow for increases in building costs. You do not have to accept the increased sum insured.

We encourage you to regularly review your sum insured, which you can amend at any time (subject to our acceptance of the sum insured; and your payment of any additional premium).

The higher your sum insured, the higher your premium, and vice-versa.

Shortfall protection

For added peace of mind, you may wish to take out optional cover, Sum Insured Safeguard.

If you select this cover, we’ll increase your home sum insured by 25 per cent if your nominated sum is not sufficient to repair or replace your damaged home.

How is the cost of home insurance – the premium – calculated?

Home insurance premiums are calculated according to the likelihood of the policyholder making a claim and how expensive any claim is likely to be.

Premiums are largely based on the sum insured, but also include factors like:

  • location – areas prone to severe weather or crime, for example, can attract higher premiums
  • age and materials – the newer your house or the sturdier its construction, the less you’re likely to pay
  • safety and security devices – smoke detectors and burglar alarms may earn a discount
  • how it’s occupied or used – if your home is used for business or is unoccupied for long periods, you may pay more
  • claims history – the more claims you’ve made in the past, the higher your premium is likely to be; even if a previous owner filed the claim, properties with multiple claims, especially ones relating to the same issue, like rainwater damage, can attract higher premiums
  • insurance excess – the higher your excess, the lower your premium and vice-versa
  • optional covers – the more optional covers you have, the higher your premium is likely to be
  • government charges, taxes or levies.

What is home insurance excess?

An excess is the fixed amount you pay towards each claim you make on your home insurance policy.

For example, if your excess was $700 and your damage bill was $10,000, you would pay $700 and we would pay $9300.

If the damage was $700 or less, you would pay the entire bill.

If your home was destroyed, the excess would be deducted from the final settlement amount paid to you.

Reasons for excess

The excess is designed mainly to:

  • encourage policyholders to look after their home (e.g. clean the gutters, keep an eye on the fireplace)
  • eliminate small claims that have a high administrative cost relative to the value of the claim – which in turn helps keep your premiums down.

Paying the excess

We will:

  • ask you to pay the excess directly to us, or
  • ask you to pay it to the repairer or supplier, or
  • deduct the excess from the amount we pay you.

Reduce your excess

You can reduce your excess by increasing your premium, and vice-versa.

How do I make a home insurance claim?

If your home is damaged or destroyed, contact us and tell us what happened in as much detail as possible.

If your home has been burgled or maliciously damaged, report the incident to the police before contacting us. The police will give you a reference number, which you’ll need to pass on to us.

After you’ve lodged your claim online or over the phone, we may visit your home to:

  • investigate the cause of the damage
  • inspect the damaged property
  • assess what’s required to repair or replace your home.

It’s important you get our permission before you authorise or commence repairs or incur any costs (unless they’re necessary to prevent further loss).

Will I be offered alternative accommodation while my home is being repaired?

Yes. If the damage to your home makes it unfit to live in, we’ll offer you, your family and your household pets temporary accommodation while your home is being repaired, rebuilt or replaced.

Contents Insurance

 

What does contents insurance cover?

Our home contents insurance covers you for the cost of repairing or replacing your contents if they are damaged or lost as a result of events like:

  • storms and rainwater (flood cover is an optional extra)
  • fire
  • theft (or attempted theft), provided you report it to police
  • sudden and unexpected escape of liquid (e.g. from baths or sinks)
  • impact at the home (e.g. a falling tree or branch)
  • explosion.

Contents include:

  • furniture and furnishings
  • electrical appliances
  • clothing and shoes
  • personal effects like jewellery, sunglasses and cameras (if they’re outside the home, you’ll need to get extra cover).
  • carpets – fixed and unfixed
  • internal blinds, curtains and window coverings.

Your insurance certificate shows you what you’re covered for.

Standard benefits

As part of your contents insurance policy, we provide cover for the following (when we agree to pay your claim):

  • legal liability – up to $20 million, for other people’s death or injury or for loss or damage to other people’s property following an accident at your home
  • removal of debris and extra costs of rebuilding – including professional fees
  • temporary accommodation – for your family and pets for up to one year
  • modifications to your home as a result of paraplegia or quadriplegia
  • funeral expenses
  • replacement of locks (if your house keys are stolen)
  • contents in the open air
  • food spoilage
  • contents temporarily removed from your address
  • contents when moving house in Australia
  • credit and other financial transaction cards
  • unattached equipment, spare parts or accessories (for caravans and camping trailers, motor vehicles, trailers and watercraft)
  • uninsured contents belonging to guests and visitors.

For a more detailed explanation of these benefits, including the payout limits, please read the product disclosure statement.

Personal effects

Your personal effects are covered when they’re inside your home.

To insure them when they’re outside your home, you’ll need to take out extra Personal Effects cover.

Exclusions and conditions

It’s important to understand that insurance policies do not cover every eventuality.

For more details about what is and what is not insured and the terms and conditions that apply, please read the product disclosure statement.

Can I get extra cover – for things like jewellery that I take with me outside my home?

Yes. For a higher premium, you can add one or more of the following optional covers to your insurance policy:

  • personal effects – for items you might ordinarily take with you outside your home (e.g. jewellery, sunglasses, cameras)
  • accidental damage – standard cover includes accidental damage to glass, ceramic and sanitary fixtures; this option extends your cover to your home and other contents
  • motor burnout – for power surges that burn out motors in electrical appliances
  • flood cover – for damage caused by flooding rivers, creeks and other bodies of water
  • landlord covers – in case your tenant defaults on their rental payments or steals from or maliciously damages your investment property.

Your insurance certificate shows you what you’re covered for, including the optional covers you have selected.

For a more detailed explanation of these optional covers, please read the product disclosure statement.

How much should I insure my contents for?

It’s up to you to determine how much it would cost to repair or replace your household goods and personal effects if they were stolen, lost, badly damaged or destroyed.

This figure is what’s known as the ‘sum insured’. It’s the maximum amount we’ll pay to replace your contents.

If it costs more than the sum insured to replace your contents, you’ll have to make up the shortfall. So make sure the sum you nominate is sufficient to replace your contents at today’s prices.

Changes to sum insured

At the end of each insurance period, we’ll automatically increase the sum insured, in line with changes to the consumer price index or by five per cent (whichever is greater). You do not have to accept the revised sum.

We encourage you to regularly review your sum insured, which you can amend at any time (subject to our acceptance of the sum insured; and your payment of any additional premium).

How is the cost of contents insurance – the premium – calculated?

Contents insurance premiums are calculated according to the likelihood of the policyholder making a claim and how expensive any claim is likely to be.

Premiums are largely based on the sum insured, but also include factors like:

  • location – areas prone to severe weather or crime, for example, can attract higher premiums
  • safety and security devices – smoke detectors and burglar alarms may earn a discount
  • how your home is occupied or used – if it is used for business or is unoccupied for long periods, you may pay more
  • claims history – the more claims you’ve made in the past, the higher your premium is likely to be; even if a previous owner filed the claim, properties with multiple claims, especially ones relating to the same issue, like rainwater damage, can attract higher premiums.
  • insurance excess – the higher your excess, the lower your premium and vice-versa
  • optional covers – the more optional covers you have, the higher your premium is likely to be
  • government charges, taxes or levies.

What are personal effects?

Personal effects are items you might ordinarily take with you outside your home (e.g. jewellery, sunglasses, cameras).

Does contents insurance include cover for personal effects?

Yes – our standard contents insurance includes cover for personal effects (e.g. jewellery, sunglasses, cameras) while they are inside the home.

To insure them for loss or damage outside your home, you’ll need to take out extra Personal Effects cover.

There are two types of Personal Effects cover: unspecified and specified; you can choose one or both types.

What’s the difference between Unspecified Personal Effects cover and Specified Personal Effects cover?

Unspecified Personal Effects cover protects you against loss of or damage to a broad range of portable items.

These items – which include bicycles, spectacles, musical instruments, and sporting equipment – are listed in the product disclosure statement.

Under this cover, you don’t have to list the items and their values specifically. The maximum amounts we’ll pay for this cover – per item and in total – are shown on your insurance certificate.

If you have portable items that are not included in the list of Unspecified Personal Effects (e.g. a mobile phone or laptop) or that are worth more than the maximum amounts we’ll pay, you can take out Specified Personal Effects cover.

This provides you with cover for an agreed amount for items you specify. These specified items are shown on your insurance certificate.

Valuations and receipts

Before you insure your jewellery, artworks and the like, we recommend you get them valued by a suitably qualified professional.

Keep your valuations and receipts of purchase in a safe place, as you’ll need them if you make a claim for a specified item.

What is contents insurance excess?

An excess is the fixed amount you pay towards each claim you make on your contents insurance policy.

For example, if your excess was $250 and the cost of the damage to or loss of your contents was $2000, you would pay $250 and we would pay $1750.

If the cost of the damage or loss was $250 or less, you would pay the entire bill.

If your home was destroyed – along with the contents in it – the excess would be deducted from the final settlement amount paid to you.

Reasons for excess

The excess is designed mainly to:

  • encourage policyholders to look after their contents (i.e. handle them carefully and keep them safe)
  • eliminate small claims that have a high administrative cost relative to the value of the claim – which in turn helps keep your premiums down.

Paying the excess

We will:

  • ask you to pay the excess directly to us, or
  • ask you to pay it to the repairer or supplier, or
  • deduct the excess from the amount we pay you.

Reduce your excess

You can reduce your excess by increasing your premium, and vice-versa.

How do I make a contents insurance claim?

If your contents are damaged or lost, contact us and tell us what happened in as much detail as possible.

If your contents are stolen or maliciously damaged, report the incident to the police before contacting us. The police will give you a reference number, which you’ll need to pass on to us.

After you you’ve lodged your claim online or over the phone, we may visit your home to:

  • investigate the cause of the damage or loss
  • inspect the damaged contents
  • assess what’s required to repair or replace your contents.

It’s important you get our permission before you authorise or commence repairs or incur any costs (unless they are necessary to prevent further loss).

Will I be offered alternative accommodation while my contents are being replaced?

If the damage to or loss of your contents makes your home unfit to live in, we’ll offer you, your family and your household pets temporary accommodation while your contents are being replaced.

Get a Simply Smarter Quote

Get a Quote for:

 
%

OFF

Combined Smart
Home & Contents
Insurance
Online

 

Save % online

When you buy Home or Contents Insurance online^

Save % online

When you buy Home or Contents Insurance online^

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