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Learn more about home insurance
Does home insurance cover tree root damage?
While trees can add much beauty to your property, they can be an indirect cause of damage to your home. For instance, a storm could knock branches off trees on to your roof or windows. A really strong storm may even cause the tree to topple entirely.
Home insurance may not directly cover tree damage to your house. However, the policy will likely cover the incident, such as a storm, which resulted in branches or uprooted trees falling on your home. You can check your home insurance policy’s coverage for various incidents by reading the insurer’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).
You should remember that trees can require regular maintenance, just like the plumbing in our homes. Insurers may check whether the tree, its roots or its branches were rotting due to a lack of care, in which case the damage caused by the tree falling on your home may not be considered accidental damage. Again, if a branch falls on your house while you’re trimming it, you may not be able to claim compensation from your insurer for the damage. If any trees are growing too close to the walls of your home, consider checking that none of the branches or roots is causing any stress to your home, which can result in structural damage.
Does homeowner’s insurance cover electrical problems?
Every home has a range of electrical fittings,appliances and wiring running through the structure of the house. You can face many kinds of electrical problems but, unfortunately, your home insurance policy may not cover all of them. Damage accidentally caused by natural accidents may be covered, as might the repair of motors if you have opted for fusion damage cover. For example, if there’s a lightning storm and your home suffers a power surge which causes a short circuit, any repairs needed may be covered if your homeowner’s insurance contains lightning damage.
However, if any electrical appliances stop working, even a home and contents insurance policy may not cover the cost of repairing the appliance. Also, you should check with your insurer about making any electrical repairs inside your home as that may affect your coverage.
Usually, in Australia, you need to hire a professional electrician to carry out any inspections or repairs to the electrical system in your home. This can include conducting periodic checks to make sure the electrical wirings are not exposed to seepage, flooding, or attacks by rodents. Consider asking your insurance provider about optional coverage for fixed electrical appliances such as air-conditioners and washing machines.
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 termite damage?
It is unlikely that the average home insurance policy will cover damage caused by termites, mice, or other vermin, which are typically the result of negligence. For instance, water may have seeped from a heater or washing machine and dampened the woodwork in your home, attracting termites. Since termites usually build colonies, you’ll need to deal with the existing infestation and also take preventative steps to prevent future termite damage.
Treating your home for termite damage can be quite expensive, and you’ll likely have to make significant repairs depending on the size of the infestation. You may want to check if your neighbours have also had termite damage issues, and consider taking more long-term measures to keep termites away. For example, you could install a chemically-treated soil barrier or baiting station, both of which may be effective for a few years.
Consider inspecting your home for any leakage or seepage from time to time, especially in the flooring or the outer edges of your home, as a precaution against damage by vermin. You may also want to consider hiring a pest control professional who can inspect and treat your home to protect against termites.
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.
Can you transfer home insurance?
When you sell your home, you cannot transfer the home insurance policy to the new owner. The buyers need to purchase a new home insurance policy where the insurer will calculate the premium based on several factors.
The risk of any damage to the home is transferred to the new owners when you sell the property. You can speak to an experienced conveyancer or solicitor to find out more about when the risk gets passed to the buyers in your state or territory.
If you move to a new home
Can you transfer home insurance to a new property if you move to a new home?
Some insurers may allow you to transfer your policy to a new property as long as you meet certain conditions. These include informing the insurance company as soon as you enter into a contract to buy the new home. You may need to pay an additional premium when transferring your existing home insurance policy to the new property.
What is home insurance?
For homeowners, home insurance can provide some financial protection to your property when things don’t go as planned. If you have home insurance and your property is damaged (or even the permanent fixtures inside), you could make a claim to your insurer to cover the costs of getting it fixed, replaced or rebuilt.
The idea behind property insurance is that you pay insurance providers to take on the risk of loss or damage to your property that you would otherwise be carrying.
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.
Is hail damage covered by home insurance?
If storms are among the incidents covered by your home insurance policy, hail damage protection is more than likely assured. While all policies differ based on your needs and what a home insurance provider will offer, some things are close to a certainty.
Extreme weather events tend to be unpredictable in their severity, but dangerous all the same. You'll never be able to fully prepare for any damage caused, be it lightning, strong winds, rain leading to flooding, or hailstorms, but home insurance can at least provide you with a way to deal with life's unpredictable nature.
If your home suffers from hail damage, you can file a claim with your insurer. In the event that this happens, remember to take pictures of any hail damage as an insurance adjuster will need to evaluate the impact on your home. Any additional wind damage to your roof will also need to be documented similarly.
You may want to check if your home insurance also covers hail damage to the cars parked on your property, and then file the claim for the total damage caused by the hailstorm. Once your claim is approved, your insurer should offer you either a cash settlement or refer you to a network vendor for the necessary repairs.
Are bikes covered under home insurance?
Ordinarily, home insurance only covers damage to your house, which can include additional buildings such as garages, sheds, and fences, as well as permanent fixtures.
However, to protect the items located in your home or in any of these other buildings, you will likely need to purchase home and contents insurance. Even so, your bike would only be covered if it does not require separate vehicle registration, as is the case for bicycles and 50cc minibikes, but not motorcycles, and only when located on your property, parked or otherwise.
Depending on the cost of your bicycle or minibike, you can have it listed in your home and contents insurance as a high-value item. You'll want to check your insurer’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to know the normal coverage limit for a bike included as part of your home and contents insurance, as well as the incidents which are covered.
Insuring your bicycle can be distinct to insuring any personal effects on your bike at the time, or even using the bike when you're out and about. If you want to cover those, such as something in a basket or a camera equipped to the bicycle, or the bike itself as you travel, you will likely need to purchase additional personal effects insurance. You can also read about any additional coverage available under the personal effects policy, though for full coverage, an ideal option will likely be a separate bike insurance policy.
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.