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Home insurance (also called building insurance or property insurance) helps to cover the cost of damage to – or destruction of – your home, garage, other outbuildings, and permanent fixtures such as built-in wardrobes.
Contents insurance provides protection against damage or loss of personal possessions. This could include anything from a pair of designer sunglasses to a flat-screen TV.
These two types of insurance can be bought separately, or combined into the one policy purchase.
Depending on the policy and circumstances of the claim, home and contents insurance cover could potentially cover you for:
These are just some of the events that your home and contents insurance may cover, depending on your policy. To find out what a policy covers, read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) provided by the insurer.
Keep in mind that home and contents insurance is different to landlord insurance, which is similar to home insurance but can also include some landlord-specific features such as loss of rent, tenant eviction, legal expenses and malicious acts and damage.
Please note: Many insurers are no longer issuing new landlord insurance policies and others have withdrawn cover for rental default and other landlord specific covers. Consequently, Canstar has removed from its tables all policies that can no longer be purchased. The coverage of policies still available for sale may have been varied materially from those policies that have been available up to mid-March 2020. Check all policy details with your insurer and read the PDS before making a decision.
Canstar currently researches and rates more than 100 home and contents insurance policies from dozens of different providers to see which products offer customers outstanding value before they get a quote online. We can help Australians choose between standalone building insurance, standalone contents insurance, and combined home and contents insurance packages.
The secret to our Star Ratings is that we compare on value, not just price.
Canstar’s research team rates home and contents insurance products for each state in Australia and for two different sums insured. This means you can see how a policy might perform in a situation like yours, which may be different to the cover provided and the cost of that cover for people in other customer profiles. Then you can create a shortlist of products that may be suitable for your needs.
You can find a summary of features that we look for in an outstanding value insurance policy in the Methodology attached to the Home and Contents Insurance Star Ratings report.
The results are reflected in a consumer-friendly Star Ratings concept, with a 5-Star Rating representing a product that offers outstanding value compared to others on our database.
So whether you’re looking for contents insurance, home insurance or home and contents insurance, Canstar can help you make a shortlist of policies to investigate.
If you’re comparing home and contents cover, you may want to consider what insurance issues are important to you. Some things to think about when choosing home insurance could include:
From there, Canstar can help you compare the price and features of home insurance and contents insurance policies that could suit your needs, and you can get a quote online from the insurers on your shortlist.
If you’re looking to keep your household costs down, you might be looking for a cheap home insurance policy. Just be careful not to unintentionally sacrifice the level of protection you’re getting in the process. For example, a cheap home insurance policy may not always offer cover for certain risks that a more comprehensive policy would, such as accidental damage or certain kinds of flooding. Depending on the policy, cheap home insurance might also mean paying a higher excess if you need to make a claim. For alternative ways to keep costs down, some insurers offer discounts if you take out your policy online rather than over the phone, or if you pay the premiums annually instead of each month. Just make sure the policy as a whole is suitable for your needs and you’re not signing up solely to take advantage of a discount.
As Canstar’s Editor-in-Chief, Nina heads up a team of talented SEO experts and journalists committed to helping empower consumers to take greater control of their finances. Previously Nina founded her own agency where she provided content and communications support to clients around Australia for eight years. She also spent four years as the PR Manager for American Express Australia, and has worked at a Brisbane communications agency where she supported dozens of clients, including Sunsuper and Suncorp.
Nina has ghostwritten dozens of opinion pieces for publications including The Australian and has been interviewed on finance topics by the Herald Sun and the Sydney Morning Herald. When she’s not dreaming up ways to put a fresh spin on finance, she’s taking her own advice by trying to pay her house off as quickly as possible and raising two money-savvy kids.
Nina has a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in English Literature from the University of Queensland. She’s also an experienced presenter, and has hosted numerous events and YouTube series.
Please note that these are a general explanation of the meaning of terms used in relation to home and contents insurance.
Policy wording may use different terms and you should read the terms and conditions of any policy you are considering to understand the inclusions and exclusions of that policy. You cannot rely on these terms to be part of any policy you may purchase.
Refer to the product disclosure statement (PDS) and Canstar’s Financial Services and Credit Guide (FSCG). You may wish to seek advice from a suitably qualified adviser.
What is accidental glass breakage?
Accidental glass breakage is the accidental breakage of or damage to glass items or glass that is part of an item. Glass contents may include such things as light fittings, glass in furniture, and mirrors. It does not usually mean glass in televisions or small glass items such as crystal and ornaments, although exact definitions will depend on the insurer and policy you choose.
What are contents?
Contents are the unfixed household goods, valuables and personal effects that you own, which may include furniture, carpets, electrical appliances, pot plants and more. Learn about what contents insurance covers.
What is an excess?
An excess is the amount you have to pay your home insurer for each incident if you make a claim. It is generally deducted from the amount of cover provided by your policy. The amount and type of excess that applies to your policy is shown on your Certificate of Insurance.
What is flood cover?
Flood cover is insurance that covers damage caused by flooding. The types of flooding that you may or may not be covered for will depend on your policy. Learn more about flood cover.
What is new-for-old replacement cover?
If you have new-for-old replacement cover in your home and contents insurance, this means that if your home or contents are damaged or stolen, your insurance provider may agree to replace the lost items with new items, or repair them with new materials that are available at the time of replacement or repair.
What is optional cover?
Optional cover is extra insurance cover not included as standard. Generally speaking, to get optional cover you must specifically select that option and pay an extra premium for it. You can discuss with your insurer of choice the optional covers that may be available.
What is a period of insurance?
A period of insurance is the time you are covered by the insurance, as shown on your Certificate of Insurance.
What is sum insured cover?
Sum insured cover is home insurance where you specify the amount of cover you would like for any particular incident when you take out the policy. The amount is shown on your Certificate of Insurance or in the PDS.
What is total replacement cover?
Total replacement cover is home insurance that covers you for the amount it would cost you to totally rebuild your home at today’s prices, including any home improvements you may have made. It is an alternative to sum insured cover.
Learn more about sum insured and total replacement cover, as well as some of the other factors you may want to consider when choosing a home insurance policy.
If you are looking to take out home, contents, or combined home and contents insurance, Canstar can help you compare policies and narrow your search, which could be a helpful step to take before you seek a quote.
Home insurance premiums are based on your personal circumstances and the level of cover you want, and so the most accurate way to obtain a quote is generally by contacting the provider directly or by filling in an online quote form on the provider’s website.
As there are many providers offering a range of home insurance products and extras, it is generally a good idea to have a solid understanding of the extent of the cover you are looking for, as well as your budget, before you seek a quote.
It’s important to note that the home insurance policy with the cheapest premium may not necessarily provide the best value for money if it does not offer an adequate level of cover for your needs.
As such, it could be worth weighing up the cover on offer (noting the inclusions and exclusions) along with the cost of the policy when assessing a quote.
You can also consider details such as the excess options available (how much you pay the insurer in the event of a claim), the total amount you may be paid out, any waiting periods which may apply and the level of customer service provided by the insurer before making a decision.
The quote you receive detailing the likely cost of your home insurance premium will be based on a number of factors, including whether you want to cover your home, the contents in your home (or both), the value of your home and contents, the age and structure of your home, and where your home is located.
All of this information helps enable the insurer to determine any specific risks your home may face, such as flooding, bushfires, or cyclones. The insurer will typically ask for this information when you are requesting a quote. You may also be able to ask the insurer if their quote includes cover for specific events, such as accidental damage, flood, motor burnout, or specified contents (for expensive belongings such as jewellery or electronics).
Depending on the home insurer and policy you’re considering, these items may be included as standard in the quote you receive, or you may be able to pay a higher premium to have them covered as optional extras.
Some home insurance providers may offer deals and discounted premiums in certain circumstances, such as if you bundle home and contents policies together or buy online. As such, it could be worth asking if you’re eligible for a deal or discount when obtaining a quote from a provider.
Before you commit to any deals offered to you by an insurer, it’s important to research your options carefully and decide whether the products on offer suit your needs and budget.
Canstar considers the cost and features of home, contents and combined home and contents insurance policies when determining the results of its Star Ratings. These results are represented in a rating of up to five stars, with products offering outstanding value receiving a 5-Star Rating. This can help consumers narrow their search to home insurance products that have been assessed and determined to offer strong value before they seek a quote.
Canstar researched and rated the following providers of combined package home and contents insurance for our most recent Home and Contents Insurance Star Ratings:
Canstar researched and rated the following providers of home-only (building) insurance for our most recent Home and Contents Insurance Star Ratings:
Canstar researched and rated the following providers of contents-only insurance for our most recent Home and Contents Insurance Star Ratings: