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Emergency accommodation in home insurance

How to get temporary accommodation in home insurance.

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If your home is damaged by an insured event like a storm or fire and is not safe to stay in, most home insurance policies will pay to house you in temporary accommodation. However, how much they pay you and how long they will pay you can differ between home insurance providers, so it's worth shopping around.

How does home insurance cover me for emergency accommodation?

Sometimes damage to your home and its contents can prevent you from living at your insured address. If your home becomes unlivable as a result of an insured event, a home insurance policy could help pay for temporary accommodation. This generally includes accommodation for you, your family and your pets while your home is being rebuilt or repaired.

The amount you get paid depends on the insurer. For many, the amount you will receive will be based on the weekly rentable value of your home. Others will generally pay you between 1% and 12% of the building's sum insured towards temporary accommodation. Most will pay you for no longer than 12 months.

Some insurers, like youi, have specific coverage tailored to emergency evacuation. It will cover you for reasonably-priced temporary accommodation in relation to an emergency where the relevant local authority has either instructed you to evacuate or prevented you from getting home. The maximum period it will pay for is 30 days.

Which insurers cover emergency accommodation?

The table below outlines the home insurers that cover temporary accommodation and how they cover you.

ProviderHow it covers you
Budget DirectIt will pay up to 10% of your home or contents sum insured for temporary accommodation.
St GeorgeUp to 10% of the sum insured or the cost of accommodation for up to 12 months from the date of the event, whichever is less. And up to $5,000 for pet accommodation.
Youi1% of the building's sum insured plus up to $250 for pet accommodation. The most it will pay in total is 12% of the building's sum insured plus up to $2,500 for pet accommodation.

For emergency evacuation it will pay the temporary accommodation costs up to the day you are allowed to return to the premises; the maximum period it will pay for is 30 days.

Virgin MoneyIt will pay up to 10% of your home or contents sum insured for temporary accommodation.
HuddleCover for the lesser of 12 months' rent or 10% of your home sum insured.
WestpacUp to 10% of the sum insured or the cost of accommodation for up to 12 months from the date of the event, whichever is less. And up to $5,000 for pet accommodation.
RealCover for the lesser of 12 months' rent or 10% of your home sum insured.
KoganCover for the lesser of 12 months' rent or 10% of your home sum insured.

Compare policies and get a quote for home and contents insurance

Name Product Fire, storm, & theft damage Rebuilding & Repairs to your Home Accidental Damage to Home or Belongings Sum Insured Safeguard Pay Monthly at No Extra Cost
Budget Direct Home & Contents Insurance
Optional
Optional
Save 30% on your first year's premium when you purchase a new combined Home & Contents insurance policy online. T&Cs apply.
Youi Building and Contents Insurance
Optional
Youi Home Insurance takes the time to tailor a premium for you.
Virgin Home and Contents Insurance
Optional
Optional
Grab a $100 e-Gift card when you purchase a new eligible Virgin Home and/or Contents insurance policy by 30 September 2020. You’ll also save up to 30%. T&C's Apply.
Domain Home Buildings & Contents Insurance
Get 12% off your first year's premium when you purchase a new combined Home & Contents Insurance policy online. T&Cs apply.
St. George Home and Contents
Save up to 25% when you purchase cover online.
Westpac Home and Contents Insurance
Save up to 25% when you purchase cover online.
Real Top Home and Contents Insurance
Save up to 20% when you purchase combined Home and Contents online.
ANZ Home & Contents Insurance
Optional
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What kind of emergencies are eligible for emergency accommodation?

Generally, if your insurer agrees that you cannot safely live in your home because of damage caused by an insured event, then it will pay for emergency accommodation. An insured event can include, but is not limited to:

  • Fire
  • Earthquake
  • Explosion
  • Lightning
  • Riot

Bushfires are an ongoing concern for many homeowners in Australia. It's not uncommon for the authorities to order evacuations or prevent you from returning home during bushfire season. However, only youi specifies in its product disclosure statement (PDS) that it will pay your temporary accommodation if you are ordered to evacuate.

How do I claim for emergency accommodation?

You can only receive cover for emergency accommodation once you have made a claim for an insured event, like a fire, and the insurer agrees to pay your claim. At this point, your insurer will inform you of whether or not it will pay for temporary accommodation, provided your home is uninhabitable.

To make a claim then, you would follow the usual process. Visit your insurer's website or call it. Most insurers have an online form or you can claim by mail or email. Complete the form and attach relevant documented evidence of any damage to your home and its contents, showing that it is unfit to live in. Once you've done this, your insurer will need time to process your claim. It may send an assessor to your home to see if it's liveable. If your insurer accepts your claim, it should reimburse you for the time you have spent in temporary accommodation while the claim was being processed.

What kind of accommodation will I be covered for?

In most cases, it should be equivalent to your current accommodation. Many insurers will pay you a percentage of your sum insured (if you don't have total replacement cover) so it's important to ensure that your home is valued correctly. For example, if your home would cost approximately $1,000,000 to rebuild from scratch, but you only have it insured for $600,000, you are likely to receive a much lower standard of accommodation.

If your insurer pays you up to 10% of your home or contents sum insured for temporary accommodation and your home is valued at $1,000,000, then you could receive up to $100,000 for temporary accommodation.

Depending on your circumstances, temporary accommodation may not be available in your immediate area. If this is the case, speak to your insurer about finding suitable accommodation nearby.

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