- Most insurance companies insure the contents of a household; they don’t usually issue separate policies for each individual’s contents. Some policies only cover for fire and theft, others for all eventualities, the latter are more expensive.
- The more your contents are worth, the more insurance you pay. Many companies also set a minimum amount they will so even if you only want to insure for $15 000 worth of contents it won’t be any cheaper than insuring for $25 000.
- To apply for insurance you may be required to install home security measures such as deadlocks, keyed window locks, smoke detectors or a burglar alarm system.
Valuing your possessions
- To be fully covered, you must provide evidence of the value and ownership of items. ‘Evidence’ can include receipts, instruction manuals, warranties, photos and serial numbers.
- The Contents Insurance Checklist will assist you with this process. A checklist will help you understand the correct replacement value of your contents and assist you in recovering any stolen goods. Visit each room in your house and itemise everything. Write down the serial or model numbers of valuables as well as how much you paid for them.
- Take photographs or a video to record details.
Laptop and Bike Register
Register the serial numbers for your bike or laptop computer with a Victoria Police Database. This can help your chances of getting these items returned if they are stolen. Click here to access the register.
Who else lives in the property?
- Many of the insurance companies listed below have a maximum number of ‘unrelated residents’ allowed on a policy (‘unrelated’ does not include relatives or de facto partners).
- Ensure you give your insurance company the names of all housemates to be insured and remember to contact the insurance company when people move in/out of your house.
Contents insurance for colleges, hostels, hotels and rooming houses, etc
- This is sometimes called Boarders Contents or Occupancy Insurance.
- Minimum cover is from $10,000. This covers high risk items such as laptops, mobile phones, iPads etc whilst they are within the room. These portable items will not be insured once they are taken outside of the room. Not all insurance companies will cover you for these types of accommodation. Contact the companies directly for more information.
Duty of disclosure
Under the Australian Insurance Contracts Act 1984 you have a duty to disclose to the insurer every matter that you know, or could reasonably be expected to know, that is relevant to the insurer's decision whether to insure your contents. If you fail to comply with this duty, the insurer may reduce their liability if you make a claim, and may even cancel the contract.
Shop around and compare
It’s a good idea to shop around and compare the costs and coverage. For more information on things to consider as you shop for the best insurance policy go to the website of the Insurance Council of Australia.