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Home insurance for first-time buyers

You usually need to get home insurance when you buy a home in Australia – often before settlement.

What you need to know

  • You usually need to get home insurance before you move into your new home.
  • It is best to sort sooner – your lender often needs the certificate of currency before settlement.
  • You might not need home insurance if you are buying a strata property (e.g. an apartment or townhouse).

Do you need home insurance when you buy property?

Home

Houses

In the majority of circumstances, yes, most lenders will require you to take out home insurance if you have a mortgage and buy a house.

In most cases, you'll need to make sure you have a policy in place before settlement occurs and you take ownership of the house. This is often because your lender will need the certificate of currency (proof of insurance) before you are responsible for the property. Some states, such as Queensland, require you to have cover when you and the seller sign contracts.

Apartment

Apartments and townhouses

If you're buying a strata property, such as an apartment or townhouse, you don't need to take out building insurance – insurance should be included in your strata fees. Your conveyancer should be able to get proof of insurance for you.

When you need to get home insurance: State by state

Queensland icon

Queensland

You typically become responsible for the house from 5pm the next business day after the date you sign the contract – this is before settlement.

New South Wales icon

New South Wales

You are responsible for damage from the settlement date. However, lenders will usually make sure you have cover in place before the settlement date.

Australian Capital Territory icon

Australian Capital Territory

You are responsible for any loss or damage to the property when you exchange contracts so the lender will require you to have home insurance in place by the contract date.

Victoria icon

Victoria

You are responsible for damage from the settlement date. However, lenders may require you to have cover in place before the settlement date.

Tasmania icon

Tasmania

You become responsible for any damage to the property on the exchange of contracts so you need to have home insurance in place by the contract date.

South Australia icon

South Australia

You're responsible for loss or damage to the house when you sign the contract – this is before settlement – so you'll need to have home insurance in place by the contract date.

Western Australia icon

Western Australia

You become responsible for the house either when you're given possession of the property or the date the whole of the purchase price is paid – whichever date comes first.

Northern Territory icon

Northern Territory

You become responsible for the property either when you're given possession of it or the date you pay the whole of the purchase price – whichever date comes first.

Finder survey: Do people think home insurance is worth it?

ResponseFemaleMale
Yes70.34%66.17%
No14.14%22.37%
I don't know15.52%11.47%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1113 Australians, December 2023

What should your home insurance policy cover?

All home insurance policies cover you for most major weather events such as bushfires and storms. However, a small handful don't automatically cover floods. If you are moving to an area with a history or flooding, you probably want this.

Check icon

All insurers typically cover:

  • Fires (including bushfires) e.g. an electrical fault sparks a fire which seriously damages your home.
  • Theft and attempted theft e.g. burglars break into your home and steal your belongings.
  • Storms and rainwater e.g. hailstones damage your roof, letting rainwater inside.
  • Malicious damage e.g. a vandal graffitis your home and puts dents in your garage door.
  • Escape of liquid e.g. a pipe bursts and causes water damage throughout your home.
  • Lightning e.g. a lightning strike punches a hole through your roof.
  • Explosion e.g. a gas leak causes an explosion and destroys your home.
  • Impact e.g. a tree falls onto your house, damaging the roof and walls.
  • Breakage of glass e.g. a stray cricket ball breaks your window or solar panel.

plus icon

You might have to pay extra if you want:

  • Accidental damage. Usually an optional extra but sometimes included as standard. It covers mishaps such as a red wine spill or cracked TV screen.
  • Motor burnout. Also known as fusion damage insurance, it covers the repair or replacement of household appliances if the electric motor dies.
  • Flood cover. Insurers such as Budget Direct and Qantas don't automatically include this in their cover.
  • Specified items. If you have any high-value items, they might not be fully covered by a standard policy (most insurers have a cap of around $1,000). However, you can remove this cap with this add-on.
  • Personal contents. This covers your stuff while it's outside the home. So things like your handbag, backpack or phone.
  • Sum insured safeguard. If your sum insured ends up being less than the cost to repair, the insurer will increase your sum insured by a certain percentage.

How much home insurance do you need?

Figuring out how much to insure your home for is arguably the most important part of taking out home insurance.

calculator

Calculate your sum insured

Your sum insured is the amount your home would cost to rebuild if it was totally destroyed. You usually need to calculate this amount yourself – calculators can help. Make sure that your home is insured for the minimum amount required by your lender. You can usually find this in the loan offer document or by calling your mortgage broker.

sum insured

Consider a sum insured safeguard

Correctly calculating your sum insured is a pretty big onus to place on homeowners. For example, say you select a sum insured of $800,000 but it costs $1 million to rebuild your home – you would be $200,000 out of pocket. To prevent this, some insurers let you add a sum insured safeguard. This is a safety net that prevents big out-of-pocket expenses by providing up to an additional 30% of cover on top of your sum insured.

What's the best policy for first home buyers?

Just like buying a home, there's no one-size-fits-all for home insurance. While we can't say what's right for you, we can show you some policies we feel could be good depending on your situation. For more top picks, you can check out our best home insurance page.

Top pick

Total building replacement

ANZ Home & Contents Insurance image
Finder Award


Good for: Total peace of mind

✅ The only insurer to pay for the entire rebuilding costs if your home is destroyed
✅ One of the most comprehensive policies available (includes flood cover)
❌ Not the cheapest option

More info

Top pick

Accident prevention

Honey Home & Contents Insurance image
Finder AwardBonus


Good for: Preventing claims

✅ Gives you $250 worth of smart sensors
✅ Sensors detect accidents and help prevent claims (keeping your premiums down)
❌ More comprehensive and costlier than budget insurers

Go to site More info

Compare more home insurance policies here

Name Product Finder Rating
BonusFinder Award Finalist
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
4.5/5★★★★★
Our verdict: The most popular insurer on Finder, Budget Direct prioritises low-cost cover and gives you up to 30% off your first year for new combined policies purchased online. This is a big reason it won this year’s Finder Award for value.
Youi Building and Contents Insurance
4.5/5★★★★★
Best Rated Brand
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
4.5/5★★★★★
Our verdict: Finder’s 2022 Insurer of the Year for Customer Satisfaction and our Top Pick for Fire Damage cover. It’s good if you want a tailored quote over the phone.
QBE Home & Contents Insurance
3.5/5★★★★★
Green CompanyBonus
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
3.5/5★★★★★
Our verdict: Finder's Top Pick for Floods plus cover for other common claims such as fire and theft). Its discount is better than most – 20% off your first year with a combined policy.
Honey Home & Contents Insurance
4.5/5★★★★★
Finder AwardBonus
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
4.5/5★★★★★
Our verdict: Honey gives you $250 smart sensors to reduce accidents and estimates your rebuild costs for you. Honey was a finalist for the comprehensive category in this year’s Finder Awards.
Finder AwardBonus
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
3.5/5★★★★★
Our verdict: Covers common claims such as fire, storms, floods and rain. It’s also very helpful if you need to rebuild following a disaster. It offers a special safeguard of up to 30%.
Kogan Home & Contents Insurance
3/5★★★★★
Bonus
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
3/5★★★★★
Our verdict: Good comprehensive cover (issued by QBE). Also, get 16% off on your first year's premium when you purchase a new combined Home & Contents insurance policy online + $10 monthly credit. T&Cs apply.
Qantas Home and Contents Insurance
4.5/5★★★★★
BonusFinder Award Finalist
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
4.5/5★★★★★
Our verdict: Earn up to 30,000 Qantas Points with every Qantas Home Insurance policy you take out by 28 May. T&Cs and exclusions apply.
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Flood
  • Accidental Damage (e.g TV falls)
  • Impact to home (e.g falling trees)
  • Escaped water (e.g burst pipe)
  • Portable contents (e.g dropped laptop outside of home)
  • + more insured events and other features
3/5★★★★★
Our verdict: Provided by Allianz, one of the biggest insurers in Australia. Cover for fire, theft, storm, cyclones and more.
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Why you can trust Finder's home insurance experts

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We're free

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Unlike other comparison sites, we're not owned by an insurer. That means our opinions are our own and we work with lots of home insurance brands, making it easier for you to find a good deal.
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We're here to help

Since 2014, we've helped 150,000+ people find home insurance by explaining your cover options simply and clearly. We'll never ask for your number or email. We're here to help you make a decision.

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