Am I covered for that? 10 questions about home insurance answered
This article was originally published in January 2019 and was updated in November 2020.
Bruno tore apart and ruined my friend’s lounge.
My kids accidentally smashed our TV screen.
Is that covered by my home and contents insurance?
Knowing exactly what’s covered and what’s not in a home insurance policy is crucial before making the purchase.
“That’s because understanding what is and isn’t covered will help you make an informed decision on purchasing the right policy for you and your needs.”
”You also need to take the right preventative steps to avoid damage to your home or belongings that may not be covered”, says QBE Householders National Product Manager, Angelo Colosimo.
We’ve compiled the answers to some of the most common things people want to know about home insurance.
1. Will home insurance cover roof repair?
It depends how the roof was damaged.
The purpose of home insurance is to cover people if they experience loss or damage due to an insured event which generally is an unexpected major event like a fire or storm.
Therefore, you may not be covered if the damage or loss could have been prevented if you had maintained your home.
Colosimo says this is where it’s key to be wary that damage that occurs due to an event – and there’s a lack of maintenance on your property – you may not be covered.
“If a storm rolls in and damages your roof which also leads to water damage internally, then you may be covered for the repair of the roof and the resultant damage inside your property.
“However, if your roof was not properly maintained, for example it’s weathered and suffered a leak from deterioration or wear or tear, then your insurance may not cover the roof repair,” he says.
2. Will home insurance cover an engagement ring?
Yes, we can cover an engagement ring as part of your Contents insurance.
Under QBE’s Home Insurance policy, jewellery is covered up to $2500 per item,set or pair, as part of your contents insurance, but can also be specified as a high valuable item on your policy and you can opt to increase your required limit of coverage.
“You can also elect for coverage for your jewellery, such as an engagement ring, outside of your home. Known as portable contents, it’s an optional benefit you can take out as part of your contents cover,” says Colosimo.
3. Will home insurance cover termite damage?
Unfortunately, home insurance will not cover damage caused by termites and other pests such as insects, mice or other animals considered as vermin.
Home insurance also won’t cover the costs to remove termites or other pests.
“It’s important to note that damage from mould, mildew, rot or another inherent defect will not be covered by your home insurance,” Colosimo adds.
4. Will home insurance cover liability?
Legal liability or public liability is when you must pay damages for a person – be it a friend, neighbour, or colleague - if they’re injured on your property.
But it’s not commonly known that your home and contents insurance provides cover for your legal liability.
“Common liability claims include trips and falls or trees or branches falling and causing damage, for example, hitting your neighbour’s garage.
“Another frequent claim is dog bites. If your dog bites another person or harms their pet, you may be liable for the vet and medical bills.”
“However, you may be covered under your home insurance, if this occurred at your home, or under contents insurance if away from your home,” Colosimo says.
“By the same token, if your dog wreaks havoc in someone else’s house and damages their property, your contents insurance could cover the costs of that too.”
QBE’s home insurance policy offers a large amount of cover up to around $30 million.
5. Will home insurance cover a broken window?
If your window has been broken by accident, you can claim the cost of replacement or repair on your home insurance.
Home insurance will also cover accidentally broken glass that forms part of shower screens, permanent lighting fixtures, doors, pool fences and balcony surrounds.
6. Will home insurance cover fences?
If your fence or gate is damaged by severe storm or flood, we’ll cover loss or damage to them.
“But it’s important to note that if your fence or gate was in a poor and already damaged condition immediately prior to the incident, then you may not be covered,” Colosimo warns.
If you share the fence with your neighbour, we will pay half of the cost to repair or replace a dividing fence.
7. Will home insurance cover a broken TV screen?
“We’ll cover the cost of an accidentally broken tv screen only if you’ve chosen the Accidental Damage optional benefit as part of your Contents cover. Other similar items that would be covered as part of these Contents optional benefits include glassware, ornaments or vases,” Colosimo says.
8. How is my home insurance premium calculated?
When we calculate your premium, there’s a range of variables at play that are taken into consideration.
Some of these factors include:
- Your sum insured
- The address where your building is
- Where your insured contents are, for example, whether they’re stored at your home, in storage or student accommodation
- Your insurance and claims history, including any claim experience bonus you may be entitled to
- Security features of your building
- The age and construction of your building
- Optional benefits you’ve selected
- Whether you choose to pay your premium annually or by instalments
9. Will home insurance cover mobile phones?
A mobile phone will be covered under your Contents policy if it’s damaged by an insured event such as being stolen or damaged by fire within your home.
Phones can also be specified as part of general portable contents for protection when you’re not at home.
10. Will home insurance cover temporary accommodation?
Yes, according to Colosimo.
“Home insurance can cover temporary accommodation if your home is destroyed after an insured incident and it’s unsafe or unliveable.”
“We’ll also look after your pets too by putting them up in a professional animal boarding home at the same time,” he says.
* This is the QBE Direct Home Insurance Product Disclosure Statement & Policy Wording (QM8697).