CHU Insurance specialises in insurance for all things strata, including residential strata schemes and contents insurance for both landlords and tenants.
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CHU is well placed to understand the unique needs of landlords and tenants of strata properties, having created Australia’s first strata insurance plan in 1978. The insurer now underwrites more than 100,000 strata schemes, and deals exclusively with strata-related insurance.
In addition to covering the strata residence itself, CHU offers insurance to landlords and tenants who lease and/or live in a strata-managed building. Compare policies below, or read on to find out more about the policies Chu offers.
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Contents insurance for strata properties
Contents insurance is a big part of what CHU offers and it is relevant to both tenants and landlords. In a rental property situation, both the landlord and the tenant will need contents insurance, even for the same property, in order to protect their respective belongings.
The policy is structured the same way for both groups, but their reason for needing it differs:
- Tenants. Contents insurance covers tenants’ belongings that are kept in the unit, such as clothing, electronics and children’s toys.
- Landlords. Contents insurance covers a landlord’s belongings that are kept in the unit like a washing machine, dryer and any furnishings that are provided. It also covers fixtures such as kitchen cupboards, meter boxes and garage doors (if these are not already covered by the strata’s insurance).
The following items are classed as contents, either for tenants or landlords depending on whom they belong to:
- Internal blinds and curtains
- Household goods
- Electronic items
- Relocatable light fixtures not permanently secured to the unit
- White goods
- Clothing and other personal belongings
- Children’s toys
- High-risk items such as cash, documents and jewellery
- Swimming pools or spas that are not in-ground
- Swimming pool and spa covers and accessories
- Items relating to your business or occupation used in an office or surgery in the home unit
- Specified contents
- Fixtures (see next list)
Items that CHU considers to be fixtures are as follows, and apply mainly to landlords:
- Fixed saunas, barbecues, clotheslines, room heaters, stoves, air conditioners, ceiling fans, lighting fixtures and hot water systems
- Kitchen cupboards
- Built-in furniture
- Meter boxes
- Exterior blinds and awnings
- Carports, pergolas and gazebos
- Paths, driveways and terraces
- In-ground swimming pools and spas
- Tennis courts
- Gates and fences
- Garage doors
- Reticulation systems, wells and bores
- Television aerials, radio masts or aerials and fittings
- Fixed floor coverings and floating floor coverings (but not carpets)
- Solar panels and equipment (but not plastic solar heating systems for swimming pools or spas)
- Private jetties, including fixed floating jetties
- Fixed water tanks and the water inside them
If your contents are damaged due to any of the following events, you will be eligible to make a claim:
- Lightning or thunderbolt
- Earthquake or tsunami
- Vandalism or malicious damage
- Water or other liquid
- Falling tree, branch or aerial
- Damage by animals
- Storm, rain or flood
- Accidental glass breakage on permanent light fixtures, shower screens, oven doors, stove tops, cooking surfaces, china bathroom or toilet fittings, furniture, wall mirrors and light fittings
- Accidental loss or damage of other items (premier cover only)
What else does contents insurance include?
If you take out contents insurance, you’ll also be eligible for some additional benefits including:
- Essential temporary repairs. You can get up to $500 when you need to make repairs quickly and don’t have time to wait for CHU’s consent.
- Landscaping. You can claim up to $1,000 towards damaged landscaping caused by certain events.
- Death benefit. Your family or someone else you nominate can receive up to $5,000 if you die as a result of one of the insured events.
- Food spoilage. Up to $500 to replace spoiled food and medicine if your fridge or freezer breaks down or loses power.
- Veterinary expenses. Up to $500 for reasonable vet expenses if your cat or dog is injured in a road accident or due to certain insured events.
- Legal liability. This covers you for injury to other people or damage to their property arising out of a covered event.
Is there any optional protection you can buy?
CHU offers a few extra protection options you can add to your policy, including:
- Specified contents insurance. Your contents insurance will have limits on the amount you can claim on any individual item. If you have an item that is more expensive than the limit allows, you can add it to a list of “specified items” of higher value and pay a little more to have it covered.
- Specified portable contents insurance. Contents insurance doesn’t normally cover you when you take items outside the home. However, you can get certain items such as watches, jewellery and mobile phones covered outside the home if you purchase this option.
- Accident cover. Your standard policy won’t cover you if you damage your own contents by accident; for example, if you knock over the TV while cleaning. By purchasing optional accident cover, you can be protected against such situations.
- Premier cover. If you upgrade to premier cover, you will get higher benefit limits on certain items. You’ll also be covered for additional events away from home, such as when your contents are in a bank safe or when you are in transit to your new home.
Landlords insurance for strata buildings
If you rent out property in a unit that is managed by a strata, your insurance needs will be a little different than if you let out a non-strata unit. CHU’s landlords insurance is specifically tailored to those requirements. The biggest difference is that you generally don’t have to worry about building insurance as it is usually handled by strata management.
That leaves you with the responsibility of insuring the inside of the unit, the contents, tenant-related risks and business-related risks.
CHU landlord insurance is broken down into eight separate sections:
- Damage to contents. This includes carpets and any furnishing you own.
- Building damage. This refers to parts of the building that you are responsible for such as walls, windows, doors, floors, ceilings and fixtures.
- Loss of rentable value. If you can’t rent your property due to damage that is insured under your policy, you will be able to claim the amount of rent you lose.
- Loss of rent (departure by tenant). This covers you for any rent you lose if your tenant skips town before the contract is up.
- Loss of rent (default by tenant). This provides cover if your tenant defaults on their payments or has to be evicted following: a termination notice; their death; or their release from the contract by a court on hardship grounds.
- Legal expenses. If you need to take action against your tenant for one of the tenant-related risks mentioned above, or if a tenant takes action against you for breach-of-contract, you can claim costs if someone has to represent you in court.
- Liability to others. This protects you if you’re responsible for property damage or injury to others in connection with your insured property.
- Government audit costs. This covers your expenses related to a record-keeping audit if the government audits you in relation to the insured property.
The contents, building and liability portions of CHU landlords insurance are all the same as those listed under “Contents insurance” above. It is the additional cover for loss of rental value, loss of rent, legal expenses and government audit costs that sets landlord insurance apart.
Residential strata insurance
What really sets CHU apart from other insurers who offer landlord insurance is its residential strata insurance. This type of insurance has many moving parts, combining elements of building insurance and business insurance. CHU breaks its residential strata insurance into 10 sections, which are described below.
Each section can be considered a separate policy, each with its own detailed list of covered events and exclusions (events that are not covered). For a more detailed look at each section, you can refer to CHU’s residential strata insurance product disclosure statement (PDS).
This is insurance for property on the strata title. It includes cover for:
- The building and the contents of any common areas such as the gym
- Temporary accommodation costs and loss of rent
- Loss of owners’ contributions and other fees
- Building alterations
- Fusion of electric motors
- Rewriting and reconstructing your records
- Internal paintwork and wallpapering of lots and units in NSW and ACT.
Flood damage is not included unless it is from a tsunami.
Liability to others
This covers you for any injuries to other people or damage to their property if the strata is found to be responsible. It includes damage caused by:
- Bridges, roadways, kerbing, footpaths and services
- The car park
- Fertiliser, pesticide and/or herbicide application
- Hiring out sporting and recreational facilities
- Recreational activities
- Services provided
- Wheelchairs, garden equipment including lawnmowers or other vehicles
- The cost of defending a claim
- Your court appearance
- The amount you end up being liable for
This protects you in the event that a volunteer worker is injured or killed while working for your strata. It provides them or their estate with a lump-sum payout and/or weekly lost-income payments for the following:
- Loss of hands or feet
- Total or partial disability
Paid workers who injure themselves or are killed while working for you will be paid (or their estates will be paid) any amounts you are liable for based on your state’s workers compensation legislation. Workers compensation is mandatory in all states.
This covers the strata for loss of money or property if an employee commits fraud.
Office bearers legal liability
Strata committee members who are accused of carrying out their duties inappropriately, leading to loss, are covered under this policy. It will help cover legal fees and any losses they are liable for. While it won’t cover liability for intentional wrongdoing such as fraud, it will cover the legal fees to defend against those claims.
This covers unexpected breakdown of strata-owned machinery such as air-conditioning units, lawnmowers and elevators. It does not cover breakdown due to normal wear and tear.
This is an increased form of property insurance that covers you in the event of a sudden, widespread catastrophe causing damage over a large area. It provides for:
- Temporary accommodation
- Removing and storing undamaged property to a safe location
- Evacuating residents to a safe location
Government audit costs
Cover for a variety of legal issues including:
- Any professional fees related to a government audit
- The cost to appeal any decisions against you regarding health or safety violations
- Legal fees from employee disputes and other business affairs
Lot owners’ fixtures and improvements
This covers any fixtures or improvements that individual lot owners attach to the strata building so as to become legally part of the building.
What will it cost?
CHU will calculate your contents insurance or landlords insurance premium based on the following:
- How much you select to be insured for. The more valuable your contents are, the more you will have to pay to insure them.
- Where your home is located. If you’re in a high-crime area, it’s likely your premiums will be more expensive. Ground floor apartments also tend to attract higher premiums as they are generally easier to break into.
- How your home or building is constructed. This affects how safe your contents are from damage, as well as how likely it is for a passerby to be injured. Homes that are more solidly built will usually have lower premiums.
- The level of security. The more secure your building, complex and/or home are, the more you can usually save on your premiums. Examples include an on-site security guard, surveillance cameras on the premises, secure elevators, deadbolts on doors, and home security systems.
- Your claims history. Insurers are more likely to increase your premiums if you have a history of making expensive claims.
- The optional extras you select. CHU offers the ability to purchase optional extras such as accident cover, that will cover you if you accidentally damage your own property; for example, by being clumsy.
What does excess mean?
Your excess is the amount of money you agree to pay out of pocket for any single claim. You can choose to have a higher excess in return for a lower premium and vice versa.
Is there a way I can save on my CHU insurance policy?
Following are some tips on how you can reduce the cost of your policy:
- Choose a higher excess. If you agree to pay a higher amount from your own pocket for each claim, you can usually lower the cost of your premiums.
- Look for discounts. CHU offers a 10–15% discount on certain contents insurance policies for people aged 50 and above.
- Choose a lower level of cover. It isn’t advisable to skimp on liability cover or tenant protection; but you can reduce your contents cover if you are willing to replace your contents yourself if something happens to them.
What if I need to make a claim?
If you need to make a claim with CHU, there are a few steps to follow:
- Do what you can to minimise additional damage. You might not be able to claim on any extra damage that is done after the initial event if you could have prevented it.
- Report any crimes to the police and keep all records.
- Submit your claim via CHU’s online form, the CHUniverse app, email or phone.
- Provide any evidence and information CHU requests, including contents ownership evidence, legal notices and police reports.
- Allow CHU to send an inspector to look over any damage relating to contents claims.
To lodge a claim, you can contact the CHU team on 1300 361 263 or make a claim online.
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