Home insurance for Queenslanders
Here’s how you can find the right home insurance in QLD for your needs.
Beautiful beaches, spectacular weather and a relaxed lifestyle that’s hard to find anywhere else are just a few of the reasons why Queensland is a great place to live. But mother nature isn't always so gentle to the Sunshine State, particularly vulnerable coastal areas. Every so often, a cyclone or other strong storm will sweep through, leaving a mess in its wake. Yet, 36% of Queenslanders go without home insurance.
Home insurance is a no-brainer. Read on to find out what policies you should be looking for in Queensland.
Ready to compare Queensland home insurance policies for 2019?
Why do I need home insurance?
A study by finder.com.au found that damage from major cyclones from 2011-2016 resulted in more than $1.4 billion worth of uninsured losses, or 57% of the overall cost. Given how Queensland is prone to natural disasters, it's more important than ever for people to protect their property.
Here are just a few reasons why purchasing home insurance is a great idea for those in Queensland:
- Your home is your most important asset. Buying a home costs hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more in some capital cities), so protecting your investment makes perfect financial sense.
- You can’t predict the future. Home insurance is something that you take out and hope you will never have to use. While most people will never have to make a claim on their policy, the simple fact is that you can’t predict the future and disaster can strike at any time. Home insurance provides financial protection if something ever goes wrong.
- Protection against a wide range of risks. The best home insurance covers you against a broad range of risks, including damage from fires, storms, impacts, floods and vandalism. It even covers your legal liability. Queensland residents should ensure they have adequate cover against bushfires.
- Home insurance provides peace of mind. Home insurance is an important investment to guarantee your peace of mind. No matter what the future may hold, if you have a policy in place, you can rest assured that your home and your treasured possessions will be protected.
What should I consider when purchasing home insurance in Queensland?
There are several factors you need to take into account when choosing home insurance in Queensland.
Some of those factors are down to you personally, such as how much cover you want and how much you’re willing to pay for home insurance.
However, other factors will vary depending on where you live in Queensland. For example, if you live in Far North Queensland, you should have a policy that provides protection against loss or damage by tropical cyclones.
In parts of the state’s south-east where severe storms are a common threat during spring and summer, you’ll want to ensure that you have adequate protection against storm damage. And if you live close to the Brisbane River in a low-lying suburb, flood cover is a must.
Apartment owners also have slightly different cover needs to those who live in detached houses, so it’s important to carefully assess your cover requirements before choosing a policy.
What type of home insurance can I get in QLD?
It's the same as any other state. Queensland homeowners can choose from three types of home insurance:
- Home insurance. Also known as building insurance or building-only cover, this type of policy provides cover for your home and other fixtures on your property against damage from fires, storms, theft, vandalism and more.
- Contents insurance. Contents insurance provides cover for your possessions and household items against the same risks as building-only cover.
- Home and contents insurance. Home and contents insurance combines the benefits of the two policies above to provide comprehensive protection for your building and your possessions.
How much does home insurance cost in QLD?
Several competing factors affect the cost of home insurance in Queensland:
- Where you live. Location is one of the risk factors insurers consider when calculating the likelihood of you having to make a claim. If you live in an area with a high crime rate or that is prone to natural disasters, you can expect higher premiums.
- Your home. The design and construction of your home can influence the cost of cover. For example, a modern double-brick home will stand up to a severe storm or cyclone much better than a 50-year-old weatherboard shack, while some roofing materials withstand hail damage better than others.
- The type and level of cover you select. The higher the level of cover you select for your home, the more you will have to pay for your policy. If you include additional options in your cover, your premiums will also increase.
- Any discounts that apply. Some insurers offer loyalty discounts, multi-policy discounts and special offers for senior citizens to help you save money on the cost of cover.
I live in a high-risk area. How does this affect my insurance?
While the core advice around insurance is the same for everyone, it's worth emphasising a few important considerations for people in high-risk areas.
Understand your geography
No matter where you live, it is always a good idea to find a policy that is suited to your specific geographic conditions. This is especially important for people in high-risk areas given the strength of the local weather events and the magnitude of potential loss.
Here are some common weather events and where they are likely to occur. Double check that your policy covers these events, because not all policies cover all weather events:
- Tropical Cyclones. These are common to Far North Queensland and people in this region should have a policy that provides protection against them.
- Severe storms. These are common to parts of south-east Queensland during spring and summer, you’ll want to ensure that you have adequate protection against storm damage.
- Floods. Any low-lying area of Queensland near a body of water. You'll need to make sure you are covered for flooding specifically, as storm cover alone may not be enough. It's also important to note that storm surges are often not considered flooding for insurance purposes.
Your policy's product disclosure statement (PDS) will explain how to make a claim, and the process won't differ for people in high-risk areas. However, there are cases where people in hard-hit areas will get priority treatment.
If a weather event creates widespread destruction affecting many people, the Insurance Council of Australia may declare a catastrophe and design ways to get these people back on their feet as quickly as possible. Initiatives may include:
- Creating a priority claims process. This allows those most affected to have their claims assessed promptly, while less urgent claims are pushed to the back of the queue.
- Creating a disaster hotline. This gives people a way to inquire about their insurance details and ask questions about the claims process.
- Mobilise support on the ground. This provides direct support to local services and affected policyholders.
- Establishing a task force. This allows the council to react to unexpected issues in real time.
It may be tempting to put off home insurance until something is about to hit. After all, major weather events are often announced in advance. However, most policies contain a waiting period between the time you join and the time you can make a claim. This is usually only a few days. Putting home insurance off until the last minute could cost you big time.
Every year, home insurers can decide whether or not to raise their premiums and by how much. If a severe weather event led to unprecedented losses one year, people in that region can probably expect to pay higher premiums the next year. In most cases, this will not be individually targeted based on what you claimed, instead it will be a sort of macro-level decision affecting everyone.
On the other hand, your insurer could raise your individual rates if you've made a bunch of other excessive claims throughout the year.
The bottom line is: don't be afraid to make a claim when you really need it. Just be careful about making an excessive number of unnecessary claims otherwise.
What if I'm denied?
When so many people are affected by a severe weather event, there are bound to be some whose claims are denied. Maybe because they were underinsured, or maybe because the insurance company misinterpreted how exactly the complex weather patterns destroyed the home.
If you think your claim was wrongly denied, ask your insurer to review their decision. If they still refuse to cover you, you can contact the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA)
What insurers can I access in Queensland?
Australian home insurance providers usually aren’t state-specific, which means Queensland homeowners can access cover from an extensive range of trusted insurance brands. If you want to dive deeper into a specific company, we've got reviews for some of the main insurers available in Queensland:
Are there any exclusions and additional costs I should be aware of?
Before choosing any home insurance policy, make sure you read the list of general exclusions for details of when your policy will not provide any cover. The following exclusions are fairly common:
- No cover when you leave your home unoccupied for more than 60 days.
- No cover if you fail to properly secure your home.
- No cover for a home business.
- No cover for cyclone or flood damage within the first 72 hours after purchasing cover.
- No cover for any claims that arise due to your involvement in illegal activity.
It’s also important to be aware that stamp duty is charged on home and contents insurance premiums in Queensland at a rate of 9%. Remember to factor this into your equations when working out the total cost of cover.
How can I find North Queensland home insurance?
If you live north of Rockhampton, you would be familiar with crazy weather conditions that can cause significant damage to your area. Whether it is a tropical cyclone, flooding or heavy storms, these sorts of events could cause you some strife, so finding the right home and insurance for you will help you on your feet again
Many insurers will cover North Queenslanders, but the cost will probably be higher than other parts of Australia, due to the area being high risk for weather damage. It's good to be prepared well ahead of time, as most insurers have a 72 hour period without cover immediately after purchasing. Asking for quotes from a number of insurers will help you compare prices, and some insurers may even match or beat the cost of other companies, which is great for your hip pocket.
You may find an insurance broker helpful to discover a home insurance policy that covers all the intricate details you need for your property in North Queensland. Insurance brokers are the experts in this area, and it's their job to provide insurance advice that's in your best interest, allowing you to make an informed decision and find the policy that's right for you.
What do North Queenslanders need to be covered for?
As a high-risk zone, there are several severe weather events that you should be covered for if you're living in North Queensland, including loss or damage from cyclones, floods and storms.
Ensure you're covered for these extreme weather events with your home and contents policy, including flood cover. Some policies do not automatically cover this scenario and it may raise your premiums further, but it's one of the most important weather events to protect yourself from in flood-prone North Queensland. Again, this may be where an insurance broker comes in handy, as they will be able to pinpoint items or scenarios that need cover that you haven't thought of. Double check the policy exclusions, and if there's something your excluded that you feel you need, see if you can add it on as an extra before purchasing.
Your policy will most likely cover you for financially for other situations too, including theft, fire, vandalism, explosions and accidental damage.
What is the cost of North Queensland home insurance?
Due to the frequency of natural disasters, you may find you have to pay more for your premiums. North Queenslanders pay one of the highest premiums for home and contents insurance in Australia because of cyclone risk. As insurers pay out large sums of money for previous events, annual premiums go up.
Strengthening components of your house can reduce insurance premiums, such as strengthening roofs to protect from wild elements, protecting windows or updating old homes to meet modern building codes.
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