How do I insure my home and/or contents?
Insuring your home and/or contents with Budget Direct is quick and easy:
- Decide whether you want home and/or contents insurance.
- Calculate how much cover you need.
- Get a quote – we’ll ask you some questions about you and your home and/or contents.
- If you’re happy with the quote, apply for cover. If we agree to insure your home and/or contents, your cover will start on the date you select.
When should I get home insurance?
It’s not a legal requirement, however your lawyer or conveyancer will usually recommend you insure your home (or investment property) when you exchange signed copies of the purchase contract with the seller.
Also, most mortgage lenders require you to take out insurance before the loan becomes unconditional.
I'm selling my house – what do I need to do?
If you’re selling your house and buying another one, your lawyer or conveyancer will usually recommend you:
- keep your current home (and contents) insured until settlement day – which generally occurs 30–90 days after you and the buyer sign the contract of sale
- insure your new house when you and the seller sign the contract of sale.
How to insure your new house
|If you're…||You can do this…|
|A new customer||Get a Quote|
|A Budget Direct customer looking for home and/or contents insurance||
|An existing Budget Direct home insurance policyholder||
Alternatively, you can call us on 1800 700 027 for assistance.
You can also call this number to cancel a Budget Direct home insurance policy if you have no intention of buying another house (e.g. if you plan to rent).
Can home insurance be transferred to another home?
If you’re a Budget Direct customer and you sell your home and move into another one, you’ll need to update your policy details.
Simply follows these steps:
- Log into your online account.
- Click/tap the button for the relevant policy.
- Click/tap ‘Modify Policy/Edit Policy’.
- Follow the prompts.
Can home insurance be transferred to a new owner?
No — when a home is sold, the current insurance policy cannot be transferred to the new owner; they must arrange their own insurance for the home.
Generally, the risk of damage to a home passes from the seller to the buyer on exchange of contracts or at settlement.
To find out when the risk passes to the buyer in your state or territory, you may wish to consult a solicitor or conveyancer.
Some buyers get home insurance as soon as the signed copies of the sales contract have been exchanged and the buyer has paid the deposit.
They do this is in case, for example, the seller has underinsured the home, their policy does not include flood cover (which the buyer wants), or the policy has lapsed.
If you have a mortgage on your home, the lender will require you to insure the home and provide them with a certificate of currency before the loan settles.
I'm building a new house – when must I insure it?
If you’ve contracted someone to build your house, you can contact us to get it insured when you have obtained the certificate of occupancy.
Get a quote online and receive a discount on your premium; or call us on 1800 700 027.
Do I need to list, or specify, home contents on my policy?
It’s up to you to decide whether to list the following on your Budget Direct contents policy:
- contents you want to insure for more than our benefit limit (where applicable)
- portable items you want covered when you take them with you away from your home.
You can specify your contents when you get a quote and buy a policy or – if you’ve already bought one – by calling us on 1800 182 310 or logging into your online account and editing your policy.
How much home insurance do I need?
It’s up to you to determine how much it would cost to replace your home and contents – the ‘sums insured’ – if they were totally destroyed, for example, by fire.
It’s the maximum amount we’ll pay, so it’s important you’re comfortable the amount you nominate is sufficient to replace your entire home and all of your contents at today’s prices.
For a more accurate rebuilding cost estimate, we recommend you consult a professional valuer or building contractor.
What's the difference between a house’s market value and its replacement cost?
Market value is the estimated price your property – the dwelling and the land – would sell for on the open real estate market.
Replacement cost is the estimated price to completely reconstruct your property's residential building and other structures if they were totally destroyed, for example, by fire.
It’s important to appreciate the distinction – and to you insure your home for its replacement cost.
It’s up to you to decide how much it would cost to replace your home (the sum insured).
What if the amount I insure my home for is too low?
It’s important the home sum insured you nominate is sufficient to rebuild your home at today’s prices.
You can increase your sum insured at any time by calling us on 1800 182 310 or logging into your online account and editing your policy.
For extra peace of mind, you can add optional Sum Insured Safeguard cover to your home insurance policy.
If you select this cover, we’ll increase your home sum insured by up to 25% if your nominated sum insured is not sufficient to repair or replace your badly damaged or destroyed home (e.g. from $400,000 to $500,000).
What's the most I can insure my home for?
With Budget Direct, you can insure your home for up to $1.5 million.
(If the replacement value of your home is greater, you’ll need to seek insurance elsewhere.)
Is there a minimum amount of cover for home contents?
Yes – the minimum amount of cover we provide for home contents is $20,000.
Are there any limits on the amount you'll pay to replace home contents?
Yes – the following table shows the most we’ll pay to repair or replace certain contents damaged or lost in any one insured event.
If you have an item that exceeds this limit, you’ll need to list, or specify, the item on your policy (where applicable).
|Hand-woven carpets and rugs||Up to $2,500 per item1|
|Cash, cheques, and any other negotiable financial document||Up to $800 in total|
|CDs, DVDs, flash cards, digital media cards, audio and video tapes, records, computer discs, computer software, game cartridges, and game consoles||Up to $3,000 in total1|
|Firearms (legally registered and stored)||Up to $2,000 in total|
|Home office equipment||Up to $12,000 in total|
|Jewellery and watches||Up to $1,000 per item or set; and up to $5,000 in total1|
|Solid and plated silver and gold items (excluding jewellery and watches)||Up to $2,000 per item or set|
|Paintings, pictures, works of art, sculptures, and art objects||Up to $5,000 per item or set; and up to $12,000 in total1|
|Collections, memorabilia, stamps, collectors' pins, medals, and collectors' non-negotiable currency||Up to $2,000 per item or collection1|
|Tools of trade||Up to $2,000 in total|
|Specified contents items||Up to the sum insured2|
- You may be able to insure the item/s for more than the limit by specifying it, or listing it separately, on your policy, with an individual description and value. You can do this when you get a quote and buy a policy or – if you’ve already bought one – by calling us on 1800 182 310 or logging into your online account and editing your policy.
- This amount is shown on your insurance certificate and in your online account.
Are there any limits on the amount you'll pay to replace home-building items?
Yes – the most we’ll pay to repair or replace unfixed home building materials and uninstalled home fittings damaged or lost in any one insured event is $1,000.
Does home insurance come with optional extras?
For an additional premium, you can customise your Budget Direct home and/or contents insurance by adding one or more of the following optional covers to your policy:
|Can be added to a home or contents policy|
|Flood cover||Covers your home and/or contents for damage or loss caused by flooding rivers, creeks, lakes, dams and other bodies of water.|
|Accidental Damage||Standard cover includes accidental damage to glass, ceramic and sanitary fixtures; Accidental Damage extends this cover to most of your home and/or contents.|
Landlords can choose one or both of the following:
|Motor Burnout||In case a power surge burns out a motor in an electrical appliance you own (less than 10 years old); we can also pay for related spoilage of food.|
|Can be added only to a home policy|
|Sum Insured Safeguard||If your nominated sum insured is insufficient to repair or replace your home, we’ll increase it by up to 25% (e.g. from $400,000 to $500,000).|
|Can be added only to a contents policy|
|Personal Effects Cover||Insures the portable items (e.g. jewellery, sunglasses, camera) you take with you away from your home. Read more|
|Commercial Storage||Covers your contents for loss or damage while they're stored in a commercial storage facility.|
How do I add optional covers to my home insurance policy?
Do apartment owners need home insurance?
If your unit, flat, apartment, townhouse or duplex is part of a strata scheme, it should already be covered by residential strata insurance (also called body corporate insurance).
Indeed, the owners corporation (also known as the body corporate) is legally required to take out this insurance to cover the building and common areas (e.g. car park, swimming pool).
It’s likely you’re already contributing to the cost of this insurance through your strata fees.
However, strata insurance does not cover your belongings and may not cover certain fittings and fixtures in your unit or apartment.
While Budget Direct does not insure strata buildings, we do provide Contents Insurance to cover what’s inside them.
Does Budget Direct offer strata-title insurance?
We do not insure strata-title buildings, however we do cover their contents.
I'm a landlord – do I have to provide you with a copy of the rental agreement?
You won’t need to provide us with a copy of your rental agreement when you buy Budget Direct home and/or contents insurance.
However, because our acceptance of landlord claims is conditional on a rental agreement being in place, we’ll need to see a copy of the agreement if you lodge a claim.
Can I insure a home used for short-term rentals?
Budget Direct does not insure homes rented to paying guests as short-term holiday rentals (e.g. Airbnb, Stayz).
(We do insure investment properties on long-term leases; and holiday homes the owners stay in when they want to.)
If the home you live in is insured by us and you start renting out all or part of it, you must tell us. If you don’t, we may:
- reduce the amount we pay
- refuse to pay a claim
- not offer to renew your contract
- cancel your contract.
To find an insurer who may agree to cover a home used to host paying guests for short stays, go to the Find an Insurer website.
I'm a renter / tenant – do I need home insurance?
If you’re a renter or tenant, you do not have to worry about insuring the unit, apartment, flat, townhouse, detached or semi-detached house you’re living in – that’s your landlord’s responsibility.
However, if you want to be covered for the cost of repairing or replacing your belongings (e.g. furniture, whitegoods, electrical appliances, clothing, and personal effects), then you’ll need to get renter’s insurance.
I'm moving into a place with some housemates — will you insure me?
Yes — as long as you don’t share with more than two unrelated housemates.
Note that your policy would cover only the contents you own — not your housemates’ belongings.
Can I get insurance for a home near the beach?
Yes — Budget Direct insures dwellings situated along Australia’s coastline, including beachfront homes — except those located north of the Tropic of Capricorn.
Budget Direct home and contents insurance covers 10 insured events.
These include tsunamis — an ocean wave caused by an earthquake or earth tremor under the sea.
You also have the option of adding Flood Cover to your policy.
There are some things we do not cover (called ‘exclusions’). They include loss or damage or legal liability resulting from:
- an action of the sea, including
- high tide
- king tide
- tidal wave
- storm surge
- sea-level rise
- flood (unless your policy includes optional Flood Cover)
- underground water seepage or pressure.
For more information, please read the Product Disclosure Statement.
When does my home insurance take effect?
Your Budget Direct home and/or contents insurance will take effect the day you buy the policy – unless you’ve chosen a later date for your cover to begin, in which case it will take effect on that date.
Note that we will not cover any loss or damage caused by storm, flood, bushfire or grassfire within 72 hours of your policy starting, unless the policy:
- commenced immediately after another policy covering the same risks expired, without a break in cover
- commenced on the same day you bought your home or moved to a new address.
This is designed to stop people taking out cover immediately before anticipated severe weather or fires and then claiming.
Is it compulsory to insure a mortgaged home in Australia?
Most Australian home mortgage lenders require you to take out home insurance before your loan becomes unconditional.
(If you own your home and have no mortgage, it’s still important to insure your home. Otherwise, you run the risk of financial losses you may not be able to cover on your own.)
My bank has asked me for a home insurance certificate of currency – what’s that?
A certificate of currency is a document issued by insurers like Budget Direct.
It states that your insurance policy (e.g. for your home) is current and valid.
Many lenders require borrowers like you to give them the certificate to prove your mortgaged home is insured.
Among other things, the certificate shows the period of insurance, the sum insured, and the interested party or mortgagee, namely your bank or other lender.
What information do home insurers ask for?
When you get a quote from Budget Direct, we’ll ask you a series of questions about you and your home, including:
- its address
- how it will be occupied
- type of building
- its age and construction materials
- the replacement cost of your home (and contents)
- whether it will be used for business
- your insurance and claims history
- whether you’d like any optional extras.
Your answers to these questions will help us to determine your risk level and set your premium accordingly.
Why do you want to know about my home insurance claims history?
When you get a quote for Budget Direct home and/or contents insurance, we’ll ask you about your claims history – specifically any claims you’ve made over the past five years.
This helps us to accurately assess the risk of insuring you and your home and calculate the cost – your premium.
It’s therefore critical this information is complete and correct.
If it’s not — if you under-report your previous claims — we can reduce the amount we pay you if you make a claim; or deny the claim.
Insurance Reference Services recommends you obtain a copy of your ‘My Insurance Claims Report’ so you can accurately disclose your claims history when getting quotes for home insurance.
How can I find out about my home insurance claims history?
There are two ways you can find out about your home and/or contents insurance claims history:
- contact your previous insurer/s from the past five years, or
- order a ‘My Insurance Claims Report’ from Insurance Reference Services; it includes details of home (and motor) claims made under insurance policies held solely or jointly in your name over the past 10 years.
What insurance policy documents can I expect to receive?
Your Budget Direct home and/or contents insurance policy documents will comprise:
- Certificate of insurance – your proof of insurance, including your sum insured; excesses; optional covers; specified, or listed, contents; and a summary of what you’ve disclosed to us.
- Product disclosure statement – tells you everything you need to know about the product, including the terms, conditions, limits and exclusions that apply.
Are home insurance premiums tax deductible?
Generally, you cannot claim owner–occupier home insurance premiums as a tax deduction.
However, you may be able to claim some of your premium as a deduction if your home is also your principal place of business.
That is, you run your business from part of your home and have floor space set aside exclusively for business activities.
(Budget Direct does not insure all types of business use; to find out whether your business use is acceptable, contact us.)
As for investment property building insurance premiums, you can claim your premium as a tax deduction — but only for the period the property was rented or advertised for rent.
This information was obtained from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and was correct as of 1 November 2019.
To find out what other types of insurance premiums may be tax deductible, read our blog.
What is a product disclosure statement (PDS)?
A product disclosure statement (PDS) is a document containing all the things you need to know about an insurance product.
Budget Direct’s home and contents insurance PDS includes information about:
- what is covered (the ‘benefits’) – and the terms and conditions under which these benefits are provided
- the insured events (e.g. storm and rainwater, theft)
- what is not covered (the ‘exclusions’)
- optional covers (e.g. Flood Cover)
- how to claim
- how claims are settled
- benefit-amount limits
- excess types (Basic and additional)
- cancellation fees.