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Find and compare contents insurance plans from Australian insurers

Did you know that contents insurance can be purchased separately from home insurance? It's something renters may want to consider. Compare separate contents insurance and cover the things inside your home, rather than the entire building you live in.

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What is contents insurance?

Contents insurance is a policy that covers the possessions you keep in your home. If your home’s contents are lost, damaged or destroyed in an insured event, a contents insurance claim may let you receive new-for-old replacements from the insurer, or a cash payout of up to the value of what was lost, or to an agreed maximum limit (whichever is lower).

Contents insurance only covers your possessions – it does not protect the structure of your home itself, such as the walls, floors, or roof. Insuring the physical building requires a home insurance policy

Because of the differences between the policies offered by different insurers, it’s often worth getting some quotes and conducting a contents insurance comparison before signing on any dotted lines. This can help you work out what’s covered, what’s not, the cost and the value being offered by different insurers to help you determine the best contents insurance policy for you.

Can you get contents insurance without home insurance?

Contents insurance is often packaged alongside home insurance as a combined home and contents insurance policy. However, contents insurance is not always an optional add-on for a home insurance policy. In fact, you can apply for a contents only policy from an insurer if you only want to cover your home’s contents.

Contents only insurance policies can be popular with tenants, as insuring the property itself is the landlord’s responsibility. Some insurers offer specific renters insurance policies, which may also offer features like alternative accommodation and emergency contents storage if an insured event makes your home uninhabitable.

Owner-occupiers of apartments, units or townhouses may also choose contents-only insurance policies, as their home’s structure is often already insured by their building’s strata plan.

It’s also possible to get a home-only insurance policy that only covers damage to the building and not the contents. These policies are often used by property investors, with some insurers offering landlord insurance policies that also cover risks like damage caused by tenants. 

Contents-only insurance generally costs less than a combined home and contents insurance policy. The cost of your content insurance policy will vary based on a wide range of factors. In general, the higher the value of your home’s contents, and the higher the risk that they could be lost, damaged or destroyed in an insured event, the more you may need to pay in premiums.

Some of the factors that may go towards calculating your premiums include:

  • The size of your house
  • The number of people in your household
  • The age of your contents
  • Whether your policy provides new-for-old replacements
  • Your home’s location (e.g are you vulnerable to crime or natural disasters?)
  • Your excess amount
  • Your claims history
  • Your home’s security features

You may also be able to take out separate policies on individual high-value items in your home’s contents, such as expensive electronics, high quality musical instruments, precious works of art or valuable jewellery. This may increase the overall coat of your premiums.

Similarly, you may be able to get some of your home’s contents covered for when you leave the house, such as portable electronics and other wearables. This could also increase the cost of our contents insurance premiums.

How much contents insurance do I need?

You can often choose to insure your home’s contents so that you’ll receive new-for-old replacements if they are lost or damaged. However, this often leads to higher insurance premiums.

Alternatively, you can choose a sum-insured amount for your contents insurance policy. This means that if your contents are lost, damaged or destroyed, the insurer will pay you the current value of what was lost, up to a pre-arranged limit. Keep in mind that the value of your contents may depreciate over time, so it’s often worth recalculating the sum insured amount with each policy renewal.   

If you’re unsure how much you should insure your contents for, a common guideline is to base your sum insured amount on the estimated cost of replacing them. Insurer websites often feature calculators to help you estimate the value of your home’s contents.

You may be able to choose a lower sum-insured amount to lower your premium, but you risk finding yourself underinsured if disaster was to strike. While you could also choose a higher sum insured amount, this could cost you extra in premiums without providing extra benefits, as the insurer will only pay you up to the value of the insured goods – if this is lower than your sum-insured amount, you won’t receive extra. 

What does contents insurance cover?

In the broadest terms, contents insurance covers the movable possessions you keep in your home, from your furniture and books to your collectables and clothing. Contents insurance also generally covers your home‘s fittings - parts of your home that are semi-attached or removable. 

Contents insurance often covers your contents against many of the same insured events as home insurance policies, including but not limited to:

  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Theft
  • Storm
  • Vandalism

Are carpets covered under contents insurance?

Fitted carpets and rugs are most likely to be covered by a contents insurance policy. Even if they’re attached to your home with glue or staples, the insurer may still consider them ‘fittings’ rather than ‘fixtures’. Check with your insurer to be sure, as different insurers may have different policies.

Are bicycles covered under contents insurance?

Bicycles may be included as part of your home’s contents while they’re sitting at home, but not when you’re riding outside. In cases like this, a portable contents insurance policy may be required.

Are kitchen appliances covered under contents insurance?

Some kitchen appliances may be covered by a contents insurance policy, while others may not. Depending on the insurer, freestanding or portable kitchen appliances such as some fridges, stoves and microwaves may be considered part of your home’s contents, and should be covered if lost, damaged or destroyed in an insured event.

But when it comes to appliances that are permanently installed into a kitchen, such as an integrated dishwasher, air conditioning unit, cooktop, or a hard-wired wall oven, these may be counted as fixtures and need to be covered as part of your home insurance policy. Check your insurer’s PDS to be sure.

Are laptops and mobile phones covered under contents insurance?

Similarly to bicycles, laptops and mobile phones may be covered as part of your contents insurance when they are lost or damaged in an insured event while inside the home. But for these items to still be covered when outside the home, you may need to take out portable contents insurance, which may cost extra.

It’s also important to keep in mind that some contents insurance policies may pay out a maximum limit on electronics, such as $1000 per item. If you have a high-end laptop or smartphone, you may not get its full value back from a contents insurance policy unless you opt to add extra insurance for these high-value items in the policy, which may cost extra.

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