Does home and contents insurance cover bushfires?

Yes — Budget Direct home and/or contents insurance covers loss or damage due to bushfires.

We’ll pay to repair or — if it burns to the ground — replace your home (and/or contents), up the sum you’ve insured it for. 

(Depending on the circumstances, your property’s bushfire cover may not take effect until 72 hours after you purchase the policy.) 

Does landlord insurance cover bushfires?

Yes – Budget Direct home and/or contents insurance covers loss or damage to rental properties due to bushfires.

We’ll pay to repair or — if it burns to the ground — replace your investment property, up the sum you’ve insured it for. 

(Depending on the circumstances, your property’s bushfire cover may not take effect until 72 hours after you purchase the policy.) 

How soon after buying my policy will I be covered for bushfires?

Your home and/or contents will be instantly covered for bushfires if your insurance policy started:

  • immediately after another policy covering the same risk with the same level of cover ended, without a break in cover; or
  • the same day you bought your home or moved to a new address.

Otherwise, your cover for loss or damage due to bushfires will start 72 hours after you buy your policy.

This is designed to stop people taking out cover immediately before anticipated bushfires and then claiming. This in turn helps keep your premiums down.

Does Budget Direct cover damage caused by heat, ash, smoke or soot?

Yes — Budget Direct home and/or contents insurance covers loss or damage caused by heat, ash, smoke or soot that is the direct result of a fire within 100 metres of the insured address.

Does Budget Direct cover damage caused by scorching, melting, smoke, or soot?

Budget Direct’s standard Home and Contents Insurance covers loss or damage caused by fire. Fire is defined as ‘burning by flames’.

For an additional premium and subject to our approval, you can add optional Accidental Damage cover to your policy.

You’ll then be covered for (among other things) loss or damage caused by:

  • scorching or melting when there is heat but no flame
  • heat, ash, smoke or soot when no damage by fire has occurred.
  • smoke or soot when the home or contents have not been damaged by fire.

You can add this cover when you get a quote and buy a policy or —if you’re already bought one — calling us on 1800 182 310 or logging into your online account and editing your policy. 

Read more about Accidental Damage cover 

Is my home in a bushfire-prone area?

To help homeowners assess their level of risk, some state and territory governments provide property-specific bushfire hazard maps. 

These maps show the potential for a bushfire to take hold, spread and do damage, if one started in your area. 

Check how prone your property is to bushfires:

Alternatively, your local council may be able to supply you with a map showing whether your property is at risk of bushfire. 

Can I get home and contents insurance in a bushfire-prone area?

Yes, living in a bushfire-prone area generally doesn’t exclude you from being able to take out insurance, although you're likely to pay significantly higher premiums.

What does my home’s bushfire risk mean for my insurance?

Following the ‘Black Saturday’ bushfires in Victoria, new national construction requirements (AS3959-2009) were introduced on 10 September 2009, to better enable buildings to withstand bushfires.

If your home was built before then and it burns down, it may – depending on its Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) – have to be rebuilt to a higher standard than it was originally constructed.

These higher construction standards can significantly increase the cost of rebuilding your home.

It’s therefore critical you take this into account when calculating the cost of replacing your home – the ‘sum insured’ – otherwise you run the risk of it being underinsured.

Read more about bushfire insurance

Does Budget Direct cover loss or damage to fences due to bushfires?

Yes — we’ll cover fences up to 500m in length if they’re damaged or destroyed in a bushfire. 

We do not cover agricultural fencing. 

Does Budget Direct cover loss or damage to sheds due to bushfires?

Yes — we’ll repair or replace your shed if it is a domestic outbuilding and it’s damaged or destroyed by bushfire. 

We do not cover structures established or used for business or farming purposes including sheds, tanks, agricultural fencing, and stables or shelters.

Does Budget Direct cover loss or damage to gardens due to bushfires?

No — our Home Insurance does not cover loss or damage to gardens (including garden beds, hedges, lawns plants, shrubs, trees, and soil) caused by any event.

However, it does cover hardscaping, such as paths, paving and garden edges damaged or destroyed by bushfire.

And our Content Insurance covers tools and gardening equipment, including ride-on mowers.

Does Budget Direct cover removal of burnt trees following a bushfire?

No – our home insurance does not cover loss or damage to trees that are burnt down.

If a burning tree falls on the home and damages the home and we are repairing damage or rebuilding your home, we will pay the reasonable and necessary costs and fees to remove debris caused by the damage, except tree stumps.

My home is in a bushfire-prone area — do I need to disclose that when buying insurance?

No – there is no need for you to disclose your home is in a bushfire prone area.

Is there anything I can do to make any future bushfire claim less stressful?

Arguably the most important thing you can do to minimise the stress of any bushfire claim is to make sure you’ve got enough insurance to cover the cost of replacing your home and contents. In the unfortunate event of a fire we can often lose all evidence of what was there before. It's a good idea to keep electronic copies of general photos of property (including contents) and all important documents (e.g. warranties, receipts for valuable items, valuations etc.) so that we can validate their loss. 

Read about home underinsurance and how to avoid it.  

How will my bushfire claim be settled?

Upon acceptance of your bushfire insurance claim and, depending on the extent of the fire damage to your home and contents, your claim will be settled with a:

  • cash payout
  • repair
  • replacement, or
  • a combination of the above.

Is my car covered for bushfires?

Budget Direct comprehensive car insurance and Third Party Property, Fire and Theft Insurance can cover your car for loss or damage due to fire, including bushfires.

Is my caravan covered for bushfires?

No — Budget Direct does not insure caravans. 

Find an insurer who offers caravan insurance

Is my home insured against bushfires if it’s still being built and doesn’t have a certificate of occupancy?

The builder of the home is responsible for arranging insurance for a partially or incompletely built home. 

According to Master Builders Insurance Brokers (MBIB), this ‘contract works insurance’ or ‘construction works insurance’ is a common requirement in building contracts.

Also, to secure their loans, many lenders require building works to be insured. 

Contract works insurance policies cover homes undergoing construction, including loss or damage caused by bushfires. 

If you’re building your home yourself (i.e. you’re an owner–builder), Australian Owner Builders (AOB) recommends you take out site insurance (also known as self-build insurance).  

For more information, visit MBIB’s ‘What does contract works insurance cover?’ web page or the AOB’s ‘Site insurance’ web page.

After your home has been built and you’ve received a certificate of occupancy for it, you’ll probably want to get it insured by a general insurer, like us.

Get a quote for Budget Direct Home and Contents Insurance.  

Does home and contents insurance cover bushfires if the home has been evacuated?

One of the most critical questions facing homeowners in the path of a bushfire is whether to stay and defend their home or leave early to seek refuge in a safer place. 

Regardless of what you decide to do, your Budget Direct-insured home will be covered.

Find out how to assess your bushfire risk and prepare a bushfire survival plan. 

Can I increase my home and/or contents insurance before a bushfire?

If your home is under threat of fire you may not be able to increase your home and/or contents insurance before a bushfire. 

(Depending on the circumstances, your property’s bushfire cover may not take effect until 72 hours after you purchase the policy.) 

If a mortgaged home is destroyed in a bushfire, what happens to the loan?

In the event of a total loss, we would provide the lender with a letter expressing our intent to settle the claim and the value of the claim. The lender would then provide a written response advising where the funds are to be paid to. In some instances, this is solely to the mortgage account; in other instances, it is partially to the mortgage account and partially to the client's transactional account. If the mortgage is discharged, the client is free to use remaining funds how they need and seek a new loan if required. If the mortgage is not discharged, the bank will usually assist the client to rebuild by providing installment payments. 

Get a home contents insurance quote online