Australian Unity home insurance rates
Home and Contents
Multi policy discount available
Online discount available
Pay monthly at no extra cost
One excess for building & contents' claims
Under insurance protection option
24 hrs phone claim service
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Learn more about home insurance
What does home insurance cover?
What home insurance specifically covers and the extent of the coverage depends on the insurance provider and the individual policy. However, home insurance typically covers the property and other permanent structures found on or in the property, such as fences, in-ground swimming pools, garages, and dishwashers, to name a few.
There are usually two types of homeowner's insurance you can choose from, with "total replacement cover" or "sum-insured cover".
If you’re not sure which option to take, it may be worthwhile to speak to a professional valuer to understand how much it might cost to rebuild your home and replace what's inside.
Do I need home insurance?
While homeowners' insurance is not legally required, it’s an option for those who want financial protection for their property. Some mortgage lenders may even require borrowers to take out home insurance.
How much is home insurance?
How much your home insurance could cost and the amount of premiums you pay will depend on many factors, including the amount you need to cover, the excess you're willing to pay, and what type of cover you want to take.
It's important not to base your insurance policy decision solely on the premiums being charged, reviewing what the policy covers, its features, claim exclusions, and caps when deciding which home insurance policy is the right one for you.
Do I need home insurance for a home loan?
While home insurance isn’t necessarily a requirement for a home purchase per se, it’s likely that if you’re purchasing a home with the help of a home loan, you’ll need to take out home insurance on the property. Home insurance can be one of the factors required in the pre-settlement documentation for a home purchase, and you may be advised by either the bank or a broker (or both) ahead of settlement.
Does homeowners insurance cover blown-down fences?
Most insurers consider fences a permanent fixture on your property. They are ranked alongside your home, garages or sheds, swimming pools, and solar panels when it comes to your home insurance policy. Your policy, therefore, covers your fences for the same incidents that cover your home or other parts of your property. For example, if there’s a major storm in your area and fences get blown down, you can get your insurer to pay for the cost of repairing the fence. You can check your insurer’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to confirm that your policy covers the incident before filing a claim. Also, if the fence that has been damaged or blown down divides your property from your neighbour’s, you both may file a shared fence damage claim with your respective insurers.
You should remember that there may be situations when your home insurance policy doesn’t cover damage to the fences on your property. Suppose you were working on or near the fence and cause some sort of damage to it you may not be able to claim compensation in this case. Wear and tear on a wooden fence from water-logging near the fence, can be considered negligence on your part and your insurer may deny your claim.
Does home insurance cover rising damp?
If you spot mould formation on the walls of your home, the cause could likely be rising damp. As a homeowner, you are expected to monitor your home for rising damp and the resulting mould damage. If you do have rising damp in your home, the renovation of your walls can cost you thousands of dollars. Worse, most home insurance policies won’t cover you for such repairs, as mould damage is considered gradual damage arising from negligence or poor maintenance.
In most cases, rising damp is a structural issue which occurs when the damp proof course (DPC) installed in your home is damaged or rendered inadequate. For instance, a broken or leaking storm pipe may result in water accumulating below the floor of your home, causing damp to rise through the walls. Equally, the sub-floor area or the DPC may be obstructed or damaged, for instance, by a concrete slab.
You will need to hire experts to locate the exact problem and make the necessary repairs. Again, the issue causing rising damp can also result in other problems such as termite damage, which means you may need to act quickly. Remember, your home insurance will likely not cover termite damage either.
Does home insurance cover asbestos removal?
If you’ve inherited or purchased an old home, the house may have been built using asbestos. While it may not cause harm in sealed walls or ceilings, exposure to loose asbestos dust can cause serious health issues. Although the Australian government completely banned using asbestos-based building materials in 2003, houses built earlier may also have asbestos in the cladding or the ceiling for insulating and fireproofing.
Many home insurance policies do not cover asbestos removal. However, in some circumstances, insurers may still pay for its removal. For example, hail storms or falling trees can damage the roof or the walls of your home, causing the asbestos to become more likely to release fibres. If your home insurance covers hail storms or tree damage, your insurer may pay for asbestos removal. Having said that, a better option is to check with an insurance company to see if they cover asbestos removal before purchasing their home insurance policy.
In general, when living in an old home, you need to take precautions to make sure you don’t accidentally cause asbestos materials to crumble. You should also plan for regular maintenance to prevent wear and tear to any areas containing asbestos.
Does home insurance cover lightning damage?
Lightning strikes are usually among the events included in the home insurance policies offered by various Australian insurers. For instance, if your home gets hit by lightning and there’s a power surge which knocks out your television or other electronic items, your home insurance provider should compensate you after confirming that the damage was caused by the lightning strike, which you could not have prevented. Likewise, if a lightning strike causes a tree branch to break off and harm any of the permanent fixtures on your property, you may be eligible to file a lightning damage insurance claim.
You should check if your insurer requires you to buy additional coverage or take measures to protect against lightning damage. For instance, your claim for lightning damage to a fridge or another appliance with a motor or compressor may be denied if you have not purchased fusion damage cover.
Is my home insurance covered for weather damage?
It is important to understand what is covered and what isn't covered in your home insurance policy before purchasing it. One crucial point to consider at the time of evaluating home insurance policies is whether it includes home insurance weather damage cover, and what it actually means if it does.
Typically, the protection afforded by home insurance actually depends on how the home was damaged or affected by conditions. The whole idea behind home insurance is to protect you from loss or damage against an unexpected, sudden event, like a fire or storm. If your home was in the way of a storm and your roof was damaged, which also caused internal water destruction, you may be covered for the damage to the roof and the property. The same holds true for walls or a fence that got damaged in a storm or flood.
However, you may not be covered if the damage occurred because your property was not well maintained and your home suffered a leak. A poorly maintained fence is less likely to be covered by home insurance.
How do I make a Budget Direct home insurance claim?
You can make a Budget Direct claim either online or over the phone by calling 1800 069 336.
Before you make your Budget Direct home insurance claim, it’s recommended you:
- Take action to prevent or minimise any further loss or damage.
- Inform the police about any theft (or attempted theft), malicious damage or vehicle impact.
- Collect the relevant documentation to support your claim. You can email documents to [email protected]
While there is no limit on when you can claim, the general rule is the earlier, the better. Once you’ve submitted your claim, you should receive a call within two business days to let you know what the next steps will be. In some cases, the insurer may ask for a bit more information. After that, a decision will be made. If your claim is accepted, you’ll receive details about your repair, replacement or payment.
How can I cancel my Budget Direct home insurance policy?
You may have purchased a Budget Direct home insurance policy, but changed your mind and now wish to cancel it. You can do this at any time after your purchase, even if you’ve made a claim.
To cancel your Budget Direct home insurance policy, you can call 1800 182 310. If you cancel before the 21-day cooling off period, you’ll receive a full refund. If you pay annually and choose to cancel after the 21 day cooling off period, you will be charged an early exit fee of $40. However, you will also receive a pro-rata refund of your unused premium.
If you pay monthly or fortnightly, you won’t be refunded any of your previous payments, but you also won’t have to pay a cancellation fee when you cancel.
Can you withdraw a home insurance claim?
If your home is damaged, say due to a fire or a storm, your first thought may be to file a claim for the repair costs.
You may later realise that the claim is too small and not worth the effort of filling in the paperwork and losing any no-claim bonus. Instead, you may think ‘I’d like to withdraw the claim’.
In this scenario, you can simply tell your insurer that you wish to cancel your claim. Keep in mind when you withdraw the claim, it often continues to remain on the insurer’s records, but with no payout recorded.
You may wish to withdraw your home insurance claim for several reasons. You may realise the damage is minor and the repair cost is close to or less than the excess. The excess is the amount you agreed to pay on top of your insurance payout.
Before making a claim, it’s important to understand it may increase future premiums and also affect your ability to get insurance later.
So in summary, when asking “can I withdraw my home insurance claim?”, the answer is yes. However, before making a claim, it may be worth looking at if it is worth it.
Do I need legal cover on home insurance?
Besides protecting your home and your possessions from damage and theft, many home insurance policies also cover unfortunate accidents that sometimes result in legal action. This is called home insurance legal cover.
What does it cover?
This type of insurance cover protects you and your family members from liability if someone gets injured on your property. You can also get coverage for scenarios such as you or a family member accidentally injuring someone else outside your home or accidentally damaging someone else’s property.
Typical liability claims include slips and falls in your home and the ensuing medical expenses, or falling trees or branches that cause damage to your neighbour’s home or parked car.
Dog bites are another claim often covered. If your dog bites someone and you’re found liable, you’ll be covered for the vet and medical bills. Similarly, if your dog damages someone else’s property, home insurance legal cover will often take care of your liability.
Every member of your family is usually automatically included in home insurance legal cover provided they live with you.
Does homeowners insurance cover structural damage?
The most common causes of structural damage to a property include foundation issues such as settling or ground shifting, hidden structural damage, such as caused by termites, or weather-related damage, like by a tornado or hurricane.
If you’re wondering if structural damage is covered by homeowners insurance, you’re probably not going to like the answer. Most insurance providers don’t include structural damage in home insurance policies because they build the polices to offer protection from loss due to sudden, accidental events, such as fire, burglary or weather-related damage. It can take months or even years for you to discover most foundational or structural damage to your property, and by that time, they become rather costly to repair.
Since it takes a long time to detect, most structural damage is considered a maintenance issue and therefore, your home insurance policy won’t cover it. However, all is not lost. Once you locate the damage and take the necessary steps to not only repair it but also prevent further harm, your insurance policy might cover any subsequent loss. For example, if the foundation has cracks, and it lets water into your home, the water damage could be covered by insurance, but the cracks themselves would not be.
How to make a Virgin Money home insurance claim
If you want to submit a claim for damage caused by an event that is covered in your policy, the process at Virgin Money is fairly simple and straightforward.
To make a home insurance claim, you can call the Virgin Money helpline service number on 1800 662 884 from Monday to Friday, between 8 am to 5 pm and on Saturdays between 8 am to 2 pm (AEST).
You can also fill its online claim notification form, which is available 24/7. Following the submission of your claim, you should receive a call from a Virgin Money representative to confirm the details and lodge your claim. Virgin Money may also send an assessor to visit the property to inspect any damage and the cause, and determine the extent of the repairs and replacements needed.
If you’re in an emergency and need immediate support or advice, you could contact the Virgin Money customer service staff on 1800 069 336.