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Home and contents insurance reviews

Keep hikes to your home and contents policy at bay with our complete guide to home and contents insurance.
 
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05.Tips

Pay less

  • Get quotes from three insurers - some will match or beat competitors’ premiums.
  • Vary your excess, as small increases in the excess can lead to big savings on premiums
  • Many insurers offer cheaper premiums for new business than they do for renewals. Simply checking your renewal price on your current insurer’s online quote calculator could save you plenty

Don’t under-insure

The amount for which you’re covered depends on your policy:

  • A sum insured policy pays claims up to the sum insured amount specified on the insurance certificate.
  • Extended replacement pays a specified percentage – as much as 30% – above the sum insured amount.
  • Total replacement cover pays whatever it costs to repair or rebuild the building, taking into account policy exclusions.
  • Most policies are sum insured, but some standard policies offer extended replacement as an optional extra and several top policies include extended replacement. 
  • AAMI and ANZ are the only insurers in our survey offering total replacement policies.
  • During times of disaster, building and temporary accommodation may be in short supply and prices will go up. If you live in an area that is prone to natural disaster such as flood or fire consider purchasing extended or total replacement protection.
  • Look out for removal of debris, building or architect’s fees, costs to comply with council regulations, increased cost of material in a widespread disaster, temporary accommodation costs and mortgage discharge fees to name a few. Make sure the benefits for under-insurance protection are paid on top of the sum insured.
  • Go through every room of your home and estimate how much it would cost to replace each item. Include everything, such as commonly overlooked items like crockery and cutlery, bed linen, books, CDs, clothing and footwear. It’s a good idea to take clear, close-up photos, and be sure to store any relevant receipts or proof of purchase.
  • Contents policies usually set a limit for valuable items, such as up to $1000 per item and up to $5000 in total for jewellery. If you have items that exceed the limits provided, you need to list them separately with your insurer. If you choose not to do this, you won’t be able to claim any higher than the standard sub-limit regardless of how much your valuables are worth.
  • Before you purchase or build a home, get a few quotes from insurers. Premiums may be unaffordable for flood-prone areas. Check with the local council to see if flood maps are available

Keep records

  • Keep records of email and phone communications of your insurer confirming definitions and coverage, in case of any future dispute.
  • Do your own insurance evaluation - are there dangers around the home waiting to cause damage or an accident? Leaky roofs are a common cause for claims-denial according, so this is a good place to start.
  • At each renewal, take photos proving how spick and span your building and contents are in the event you need to make a claim.

Optional and additional benefits

Some policies don’t include full coverage but allow you to buy extra cover for an additional amount. The most common optional covers include:
  • Burnout of electric motors (fusion)
  • Flood
  • Domestic workers’ compensation
  • Pet cover
  • Variable excess (increasing this will lower your premium, just remember you will need to pay it in the event of a claim. A higher excess makes small claims less valuable.)
 

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