According to the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA), the damage bill from declared natural catastrophes is about $255 million this year so far.
Storms and floods that hit Hobart and surrounds in May this year have led to more than 7,500 claims worth about $61 million.
Recent devastating wildfires in California served as a reminder to homeowners in Australia of the damage natural catastrophes can cause, with reports from the US suggesting that many of those affected may be underinsured.
It’s been a heartbreaking few days. This is what’s left of my house. Love. Many people in Malibu and surrounding areas in California have lost their homes also and my heart goes out to everyone who was affected by these fires.
— Liam Hemsworth (@LiamHemsworth) November 13, 2018
But it doesn’t always take a natural disaster to cause serious damage to your home or contents.
ICA ranks large televisions tipping over, plate glass windows breaking and faulty hoses under kitchen and bathroom sinks among the most common accident-related claims.
In the past year alone, about 30,000 water damage claims worth $320 million were made in Australia due to flexible braided hoses bursting or leaking in kitchens and bathrooms.
Canstar Research Manager Mitchell Watson said not too many people could afford to replace their home and contents in the event of damage or loss and as a result, insurance was an important consideration for home owners and renters.
He said it was equally important to choose the appropriate home and contents insurance for your circumstances.
“It goes without saying that if you live close to waterways or bush, that flood and fire should be in your policy,” Mr Watson said.
“However, understanding what additional events the policy covers is also important as you don’t always know what exactly will happen in the future.”
Canstar Research assessed 132 policies by 52 providers this year over the three main categories of home, contents, and, home and contents insurance.
Each category has three winners, with ANZ the only provider to score a hat-trick by receiving top marks in each category.
Outstanding value for home, contents and home and contents insurance
ANZ has taken out the national award for Outstanding Value for Home, Contents and Home and Contents Insurance for providing extensive coverage with competitive premiums, representing outstanding value for consumers. Canstar Research found ANZ offered premiums about 20% below the market average and provided a comprehensive list of items covered in its building and contents policies.
The building cover included full rebuilding cost protection, choice of repairer, and an option to rebuild at a different site without a cash settlement. Its contents cover included new for old insurance cover where regardless of the age of an item, it will replace it with a new equivalent. It also included theft cover with no excess even if the home had been vacant for up to 120 days.
Outstanding value for home insurance
CommInsure and Guild Insurance, alongside ANZ, received the national award for Outstanding Value Home Insurance. CommInsure has retained this award for a second consecutive year. Its premiums were about 20% lower than the market average and its range of features included competitive building cover with the option to choose a builder and repairer and the option to rebuild at a different site without a cash settlement.
Guild Insurance impressed Canstar Research with premiums up to 36% lower than the market average and features that included highly competitive building cover and a range of building benefits such as funeral, key replacement, mortgage discharge costs, temporary accommodation and debris removal.
Outstanding value for contents insurance
Budget Direct and the Westpac Group (Westpac, St. George, BankSA and Bank of Melbourne) were the other two winners when it came to Outstanding Value for Contents Insurance. Canstar Research found both offered affordable insurance with a wide range of features. Budget Direct also took out a second award for Home and Contents insurance as seen below. The Westpac Group offered premiums almost 30% lower than the market average and favourable policy terms with new for old replacement cover for contents in the open air as standard. It also included credit card theft, home office equipment and visitor belongings’ cover. Another plus was cover of motors for up to 15 years.
Outstanding value for home and contents insurance
Budget Direct and CommInsure were the other two award winners for Outstanding Value for Home and Contents Insurance. Canstar Research found Budget Direct had highly competitive premiums, which were up to 35% lower than the market average. Its contents policy included new for old replacement cover for items left outside and theft cover for homes vacant up to 60 days with zero additional costs. CommInsure had premiums about 20% cheaper than the market average, a wide range of features and customers can pay monthly premiums at no extra cost.
Here are the state winners
|NSW Home||Guild Insurance|
|NSW Home & Contents||ANZ|
|Queensland Contents||Budget Direct|
|Queensland Home & Contents||CommInsure|
|North Queensland Contents||ANZ|
|North Queensland Home||ANZ|
|North Queensland Home & Contents||ANZ|
|Victoria Home||Guild Insurance|
|Victoria Home & Contents||ANZ|
|South Australia Contents||ANZ|
|South Australia Home||CommInsure|
|South Australia Home & Contents||CommInsure|
|Western Australia Contents||Suncorp Insurance|
|Western Australia Home||Suncorp Insurance|
|Western Australia Home & Contents||CommInsure|
|Tasmania Home||Suncorp Insurance|
|Tasmania Home & Contents||CommInsure|