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What home insurance do I need for an apartment?

Mark Bristow avatar
Mark Bristow
- 4 min read
What home insurance do I need for an apartment?

Key highlights

  • Strata insurance may not always provide sufficient coverage for apartments, so it's worth considering contents insurance to protect your possessions.
  • While home insurance is not legally required for apartments in Australia, some mortgage providers may require it before approving a mortgage application.
  • Landlord insurance may be useful to apartment owners who are renting out their property, as it provides additional cover for damage caused by tenants and loss of rental income.
  • Many apartments are already covered by strata insurance, so you may not need to apply for a traditional home insurance policy to cover damage to the property. However, strata insurance may not always offer the cover you need. If you’re one of the 10% of Australians who live in apartments, it could be worth comparing contents insurance policies and other options.

    Do you need home insurance? 

    In Australia, you aren’t legally required to have insurance on a home in the same way that you need to have Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance on your car. That said, some mortgage providers won’t approve a mortgage application unless the borrower takes out a home insurance policy before settlement that covers the building. 

    If you’re buying a strata property, such as a unit or a townhouse, the body corporate and/or strata manager should already have strata insurance in place to cover the whole strata complex. You and the other apartment owners will cover the cost of this strata insurance policy’s premiums as part of your strata fees.

    While strata insurance should be enough to satisfy most mortgage lenders when applying for a home loan, it may not offer the cover you want. For example, strata insurance may only cover damage that affects the apartment building's structure itself, but not the fixtures and fittings inside your apartment.  

    Do you need contents insurance? 

    While home or strata insurance may cover your property’s structure against the risk of fire, flood and more, it won’t cover loss or damage to your furniture and other possessions if they are damaged, lost or stolen in an insured event. This is where contents insurance comes into play.

    Contents insurance covers your possessions against damage or theft, so they can be repaired or replaced (often with new-for-old replacements) if an insured event occurs. Contents insurance can often be bundled with home insurance as a combined home and contents insurance policy, but it’s also available separately to help cover apartment owners, as well as renters.

    Contents insurance may also cover legal liability, such as If someone accidentally injures themselves in your apartment. You may also be able to add accidental damage insurance to your policy to help cover unpredictable events, such as the dog knocking over the TV or a visiting toddler spilling a sticky drink on the expensive couch.

    You can also choose to add on portable contents insurance, which covers loss or damage to your home’s contents even when you take them outside of your property, such as engagement rings or mobile phones.

    Remember that the more optional extras you add to an insurance policy, the higher your premiums may be. Consider comparing quotes from multiple insurers before making a switch to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal for your needs. 

    What if my apartment is an investment property? 

    If you’re renting your apartment out to tenants, you may want to investigate options for landlord insurance. While strata insurance should still cover your property’s structure against many types of damage, landlord insurance may be able to provide additional cover that’s specific to landlords, such as damage caused by tenants, or loss of rental income.

    As a landlord, you usually won’t need to look at contents insurance for your investment property, as that will be your tenant’s responsibility to arrange. That said, if your rental property is furnished, you could consider taking out contents insurance to cover the risk of damage to these possessions.

    Do apartment renters need home or contents insurance?

    Tenants living in apartments don’t need to apply for home insurance policies, as it’s the responsibility of the landlord and building’s strata to organise this insurance cover. But a renter may find a contents insurance policy useful to protect their possessions in case an insured event occurs.

    There are also specialised renters insurance policies available that cover the possessions in an apartment or other rental property, as well as offering useful benefits for renters, such as temporary accommodation if an insured event like a fire leaves your rented home uninhabitable.

    Compare home insurance

    Product database updated 15 Jul, 2024

    This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Georgia Brown before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.