How to protect your home

home-insurance

How to protect your home for the future.

It's likely that your home is the most expensive asset that you'll purchase in your lifetime. Protect the asset that you've worked so hard for by taking the right steps to protect it for you and your family. As part of their lending criteria, most Australian lenders require that security properties are insured against loss or damage, and that you also take out building insurance.

Insurance is also crucial if you plan on accessing your equity in the future, as you are borrowing against your home. You will need to maintain adequate insurance on the property and keep it in a good condition. You may also need to obtain your lender's approval for other people to reside in your property if need be.

It's important to note that when choosing an insurance policy, the circumstances of every person and situation is different. Speak to an insurance broker to discuss your specific needs.

Home and contents insurance

Insuring is the most common method of managing the potential risk of loss or damage. It can apply to an individual or property and it works by transferring the risk to an insurance company, in return for a payment which is known as a premium. Your household will typically pay lump sums on a regular basis to protect against an event if it results into some element of financial hardship. The most common type of insurance used to protect properties is home and contents insurance.

The cost of insurance is considered as an expense when a lender is assessing your financial position and is also considered as a 'financial need' within the household. If you already own a property and you're using it as a security property, you'll be asked to provide your insurance details.

Home and contents insurance is considered a medium-term insurance need and generally comes under 'general insurance'. This type of insurance tends to cover the concerns of individuals and household, as well as renewed on a yearly basis depending on whether or not the risk continues. Premiums increase and decrease each year, depending on your circumstances. Home and contents insurance allows you to operate with the peace of mind in knowing that your asset is protected in the event of financial hardship or an unexpected event.

A general insurance contract is usually called a policy and this contains the terms of the agreement or the product disclosure statement.

  • Where can I get home and contents insurance? Your lender should be able to recommend general insurance to you, but be mindful that in some cases they may get a commission for this so you might also want to compare a range of insurance providers yourself.
Building (home) insurance

This cover provides protection against damage or destruction to residential buildings such as flats, units, townhouses and houses. Generally, building (home) insurance also includes other structures such as garages, sheds, fences and decks. Lenders require this as the minimum insurance when using a property as security.

Contents insurance

Often combined with home insurance, contents insurance covers loss or damage to domestic goods or property that you own. It may cover goods that an insured person buys as well.

Owner-builder insurance

This type of insurance protects owner-builders from losses during the process of building or construction. This cover is usually optional under a standard building policy or could be required to be taken out as a separate policy.

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Lender's Mortgage Insurance (LMI)

Loans that are attached with a security, such as a home loan, are generally insured regardless of the loan to value ratio (LVR) or the loan amount. The borrower generally pays LMI on full documentation loans when the LVR is above 80% and the lender pays LMI when the LVR is less than 80%. For low documentation loans, the LVR is around 60%.

LMI protects the lender in the event that you default on your loan, or you're unable to meet your repayments. If the borrower decides to sell the home and there is a shortfall in the funds, the insurer pays out the outstanding balance. Some major Australian LMI providers are QBE and Genworth Financial.

The type of loan and its conditions offered to you are often influenced by the LMI provider and their individual criteria. If LMI is required, the decision of the insurer is pivotal to your loan approval. In some cases, a loan might be provided but with additional assets used as security. This may include additional real estate or establishing another guarantee.

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Protecting your investment property

As many investment property loans exceed 80% LVR, additional security or LMI is often required. Lenders will generally allow up to 95% LVR for loans with LMI. Some lenders will let you use your current home as security and depending on its value, and the amount of equity you have, this could mean that you avoid paying LMI.

Landlord insurance

This may be available as an option under building insurance or taken out as a separate policy. It protects landlords even further against events such as malicious acts and theft by the tenants or financial losses should the tenant fail to pay their rent.

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Tips for protecting your home

  • Consider income protection. Maintain the stability of your income by taking out income insurance. This ensures that you continually receive an income should anything happen to your ability to work.
  • Maintain a cash buffer. It's best to keep some equity or liquid assets handy as one of your risk management measures so that you can prepare for unexpected emergencies.
  • Lock in your interest rate. While there is the risk that you won't benefit if interest rates fall, a fixed interest rate eliminates any future guesswork as to what your repayments will be in the future. This can help with future budgeting and financial planning.
  • Beware of cross-collateralisation. This is when the liabilities from one asset are woven into the liabilities of another. One example is when you use the capital appreciation from one property to finance another property. If you can't meet your repayments with one asset, this could ripple through your debt structure which could harm your entire portfolio.
  • Use a trust. This is a legal entity that can own a property and has beneficiaries that identifies where the returns of the investment go. A benefit of a trust is that if a debtor takes action against you, the trust is protected. If your property assets are owned by a trust only the creditors of the trust can take legal action.
  • Consider a pre-nup. While it's a topic that makes us uncomfortable, if you're getting married or you're in a long-term relationship and you want to ensure that your assets stay protected, then this can provide you with added security. A pre-nup states how the assets will distributed should a marriage breakdown occur.
  • Make sure your will is up to date. If you ensure that your will is up to date, it can protect your assets and ensure that they are distributed how you would like them in the event that you pass away.
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Compare home loans

Rates last updated April 21st, 2018
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Loan purpose
Offset account
Loan type
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Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment Short Description
3.64%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no ongoing fees and enjoy a flexible repayment schedule, including the ability to make unlimited additional repayments without penalty.
3.59%
3.60%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Borrow up to 90% of the value of your property and pay no ongoing fees with this loan from a leading international bank.
3.69%
3.73%
$600
$0 p.a.
95%
Variable rate home loan from one of the big 4 banks. Available with just a 5% deposit.
3.69%
3.69%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Get a special discount for a limited time when you open an IMB Transaction Account. Face-to-face consultations available in NSW and ACT.
3.69%
3.69%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Enjoy flexible repayments, a redraw facility and the ability to split your loan. Plus, pay no application or ongoing fees. Refinance to a UBank loan and you could get $1,000 in your USaver account (offer conditions apply).
3.68%
3.69%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
This variable rate loan offers flexible repayments and a redraw facility. Available with a 5% deposit.
3.58%
3.58%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
A low interest rate home loan with no application or ongoing fees.
3.65%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Offset up to $50,000 of the combined balances of your CUA Everyday Accounts and save on interest.
3.64%
3.67%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A mortgage with a competitive variable rate, limited fees and plenty of flexibility.
3.52%
3.53%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Go from application to approval in as little as 20 minutes with a variable rate loan from this innovative online lender. Add a 100% offset account for $10 a month.
3.64%
3.67%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
This loan offers a competitive variable rate and a 100% offset account to help save you on interest repayments.
3.49%
3.49%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Get a competitive variable rate with low fees. Add a 100% offset account for $10 a month. Available with a 10% deposit.
3.87%
3.87%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
90%
Get Virgin Velocity Points at settlement, monthly and every three years, plus the option to make up to $10,000 a year in extra repayments.
3.68%
3.83%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
80%
Get a 100% offset account to save on interest charges, and pay no application fee.
3.49%
3.52%
$500
$0 p.a.
95%
A loan that combines a competitive rate with a 100% offset account.
3.64%
4.03%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
New borrowers or refinancers from another lender get a discounted rate with this package loan.
3.54%
3.58%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Eligible borrowers can get $1,200 cashback on this loan with a 100% offset account and a redraw facility.
3.72%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Save on interest by taking advantage of a 100% offset account along with no ongoing fees or application fees.
3.62%
3.62%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
Free home and contents insurance for 1 year. Terms and conditions apply. QLD residents only.
3.65%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
This special rate loan comes with no application or ongoing fees, and offers a flexible repayment schedule.
3.77%
3.81%
$200
$0 p.a.
95%
A simplified mortgage with a low interest rate and a redraw facility.
3.70%
4.13%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Package your loan with an eligible credit card for discounts on rates and fees, and get a 100% offset account.
3.73%
3.73%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Get a 100% offset account and pay no application or ongoing fees on this special variable rate for owner-occupiers.
3.59%
3.99%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
A high maximum LVR home loan with redraw facility and additional payments.
3.69%
4.86%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Start your home buying journey with 2 years of fixed repayments and a reasonable rate from a big 4 bank. Available with a 10% deposit.
3.78%
3.78%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application or ongoing fees and get access to a free redraw facility with this innovative online lender.
3.62%
3.62%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application or ongoing fees and get access to a redraw facility and flexible repayment schedule. Refinance to a UBank loan and you could get $1,000 in your USaver account (offer conditions apply).
3.84%
3.87%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Save on interest with a free 100% offset account and buy your property with just a 10% deposit.
3.59%
4.14%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
A one year fixed rate offer with no ongoing bank fees.
3.99%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Borrow up to 90% of the value of the property you're buying, and pay no application fee.
3.69%
4.11%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
Save on interest with a 100% offset account and save on other ME products with this package loan.
3.59%
3.99%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
Get interest rate discounts and waived fees on this package loan with a 100% offset account.
3.74%
4.01%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive 3 year fixed rate with no ongoing bank fees.
3.99%
5.17%
$600
$0 p.a.
90%
Competitive rates for fixed for 3 years with redraw facility.
3.85%
4.05%
$0
$350 p.a.
95%
This high LVR fixed rate loan allows you to borrow up to 95% of the value of the property you're buying.
3.74%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application or ongoing fees and get access to a redraw facility and flexible repayment schedule.
3.79%
3.80%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Investors can go from application to approval in as little as 20 minutes with this innovative online lender.
4.15%
4.76%
$600
$0 p.a.
90%
A competitive rate with no ongoing fee and borrow up to 90% LVR.
3.85%
5.05%
$600
$0 p.a.
95%
This fixed rate loan offers a 100% offset account and the flexibility to make extra repayments.
4.50%
4.82%
$600
$0 p.a.
90%
A variable interest-only loan to fund your investment. Get this loan with a 10% deposit.
4.19%
4.21%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Investors will pay no application or ongoing fees for this interest-only loan.
3.99%
4.99%
$600
$0 p.a.
95%
Get a 100% offset account and the option to make extra repayments with this fixed rate loan.
3.94%
3.57%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Apply online for this fixed rate, low-fee loan with redraw facilities and an optional offset account.
4.09%
4.12%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Access a fee-free offset account and a special interest rate for investors.
3.65%
4.84%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Pay no application fee for this package loan, and get access to a redraw facility. Face-to-face consultations available for NSW and ACT customers.
4.14%
4.14%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Investors pay no application or ongoing fees on this loan from an innovative online lender.
4.09%
4.49%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Enjoy all the benefits of a full-featured package investment loan, including a 100% offset account.
3.97%
3.97%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
A variable rate loan with a 100% offset account. Available with a 10% deposit.Face-to-face consultations available for NSW and ACT customers.
4.14%
4.17%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Investors can easily access their equity using BPAY, a debit Master Card or cheque book with this interest-only line of credit.
3.89%
4.87%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Borrow up to 90% of the value of the property you're buying and pay no application or ongoing fees.
3.97%
4.02%
$445
$0 p.a.
90%
Buy a home with just a 10% deposit with this variable rate loan. Face-to-face consultations available for NSW and ACT customers.
3.99%
4.86%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Access a fee-free 100% offset account and pay no application or ongoing fees.
4.29%
4.34%
$445
$0 p.a.
80%
Variable investment loan with 100% offset account. Face-to-face consultations available for NSW and ACT customers.
3.69%
3.71%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Family guarantee option available. Enjoy flexible repayments and a low minimum loan amount.
4.29%
4.21%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Investors can go from application to full approval in as little as 20 minutes with this innovative online lender.
4.14%
4.81%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application fees and access a fee-free redraw facility with this fixed rate loan.
3.69%
4.06%
$0
$349 p.a.
90%
Package your loan with other AMP products and save on rates and fees.
4.11%
3.83%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Enjoy a fast application process and flexible repayment options with this fixed rate investment loan.
3.96%
3.98%
$350
$0 p.a.
90%
For a limited time, pay no application or settlement fees. You can also take advantage of a free redraw facility.
4.09%
3.79%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
A competitive 3-year fixed rate loan with a high max insured LVR.
3.99%
4.02%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Investors can enjoy flexible repayment options and pay no application or ongoing fees.
3.85%
4.82%
$600
$35 monthly ($420 p.a.)
90%
Make up to $10,000 in extra repayments per year and take advantage of a flexible repayment schedule.
3.68%
3.69%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Get one free online redraw per month and pay no ongoing fees. Application fees are waived for loans above $150,000.
4.09%
4.12%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
Buy a home with just a 5% deposit and get flexible repayment options and a redraw facility.
3.64%
3.78%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
80%
Earn Velocity Points on your mortgage (for a limited time, subject to eligibility requirements). Plus, access a 100% offset account to save on interest.
3.79%
3.80%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
Keep your LVR at 70% or below and enjoy a special discounted rate. Also, pay no application or ongoing fees.
3.89%
4.96%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
Refinancers can get $1,500 cashback. Conditions apply. Package your home loan with a Qantas rewards earning Amplify credit card.
3.69%
3.69%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
Pay no application or ongoing fees and get a flexible loan with the ability to split up to 6 times.
3.99%
4.03%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
Buy a home with just a 5% deposit and pay no application or ongoing fees.
3.89%
4.97%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
Get discounts on a range of Commonwealth Bank products and enjoy the option of fee-free extra repayments during the fixed term.
4.39%
5.42%
$300
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
95%
Borrow up to 95% and lock in a 3 year fixed rate. Access your account via internet and phone banking.
5.29%
5.64%
$995
$15 monthly ($180 p.a.)
65%
Available for former bad credit borrowers who have had a clean credit file for the last 24 months. Available for purchase or refinance.
3.59%
4.42%
$600
$0 p.a.
95%
Get a 1% discount for the first two years of your loan and pay no application or ongoing fees.
3.64%
3.65%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
Family pledge option available. Get a special discount off Bank of Melbourne's basic variable rate.
3.89%
4.88%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
Refinance from your existing loan and get a $1,250 rebate. Terms and conditions apply. Plus get discounts on a range of Westpac products.

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Shirley Liu

Shirley Liu is a program manager at finder, formerly the publisher for Banking and Investments. She is passionate about helping people make an informed decision, save money and find the best deal for their needs.

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