One of the most essential policies for homeowners is home insurance. That’s because if your home burns down or is severely damaged by storms for example, without insurance, you have to pay for the repairs or replacement of your home. For most Australians, buying a home is their biggest financial purchase and their biggest asset, so losing it all in a matter of hours is devastating.
Let’s take a look at what home insurance actually covers, what questions you need to ask and how you can make a claim against this policy.
What does home insurance cover?
This type of insurance covers homeowners against loss or damage to their home. It not only covers the home dwelling itself, but also any garages and outbuildings that can be locked. It also includes coverage for permanent fixtures, such as light fittings and built-in wardrobes, as well as fences and in-ground swimming pools.
Home insurance usually covers homeowners for fire, theft and storms, but not always for floods. Theft, vandalism, malicious damage, explosions and sudden impacts are also generally included. It’s important to know that your home insurance also includes legal liability in the event that an individual is injured or their property is damaged whilst in your home or on your land.
What questions do you need to ask?
As a homeowner, you need to know exactly what is covered under your home insurance policy. You want an itemised list of this coverage, as well as the excess that’s required for each of these items. The excess will be dependent on your premiums, so you can ask about reducing these excess payments, if you are happy to increase your premiums. You also need to know whether the insurer provides a guarantee for any repairs that may be undertaken via the claims process.
Another question to consider is how much insurance cover is enough? You need the replacement costs for your home, but what about temporary accommodation if your home is destroyed? What about surveyor’s or architect’s fees for building a replacement home? Even clearing the site after your home is demolished can be expensive, so who pays for that?
How can you make a claim?
Your first step when making a claim against your home insurance policy is to contact your insurance adviser or insurance provider. You might not have all the information they need right then, but it keeps them informed and starts the claims process. Next, download the claim forms from their website and then complete these forms (if you have an insurance adviser, they will manage this for you). You will need to include photos or videos of the damage and any police reports. If items were stolen or damaged, then you need brand names, model and serial numbers, as well as receipts or valuations of the items. Keeping damaged items, rather than disposing of them, is also a good idea. Always ask whether there is a deadline for submitting your claim and make sure to file your claim as soon as possible. Your insurer should reply within 10 business days. The benefit of having an insurance adviser means they can manage this process for you, meaning you have one less thing to worry about during this difficult time.
Knowing what type of cover you need to protect your home, what questions to ask potential providers and understanding how to make a claim, can all help to smooth the way to a successful claim being processed.
To speak to an insurance adviser about your home insurance policy, find your local adviser.
General Advice Warning
The information provided is to be regarded as general advice. Whilst we may have collected risk information, your personal objectives, needs or financial situations were not taken into account when preparing this information. We recommend that you consider the suitability of this general advice, in respect of your objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on it. You should obtain and consider the relevant product disclosure statement before making any decision to purchase this financial product.