When it comes to insurance, it’s important to know what’s covered and what’s not. Some cover will be included as standard, and often there will be options to increase your cover.

While cover can differ from one policy to the next, here are nine common home insurance exclusions to be aware of.

1. Empty homes

Homes that are left unoccupied for extended periods may be excluded from cover. Check with your insurer should you be planning on being away for a while.

2. Guests

Usually, only people named on your policy are covered – which means house-swapping or some rental agreements can be risky. If you’re using a service like Airbnb, check whether they offer insurance to help fill the gap.

3. Lack of maintenance

It’s important to keep your home and contents well maintained and in good condition. Home insurance does not cover general wear and tear or insufficient maintenance.

4. Existing damage

If your home has any existing problems that contributed to the damage, your policy is unlikely to cover you.

5. Weather damage

While some policies cover floods and storms, it’s not unusual for special conditions or exclusions to apply. Some policies will allow you to opt out of flood cover completely. So if you live in an area prone to floods and storms, you should check the policy coverage to help decide whether it’s right for you.

6. Animal damage

Damage caused by dogs, cats or other animals kept in your home typically isn’t covered under a standard home insurance policy.

7. Acts of war

Any damage or costs incurred by an act of war usually won’t be covered by an insurer.

8. Renovations

If you’re renovating your home you may need to let your insurer know, especially if the value or extent of the renovations is significant. Most insurers won’t cover damage caused by or connected with the renovations. You may need to take out a specialised policy or see what’s covered by your builder’s insurance.

9. Home businesses

If you run a business from your home, any stock you keep at home may not be covered.

Other things to know

Keep in mind this isn’t a complete list of exclusions. What’s not covered can vary from one policy to another. 

An insurance policy’s product disclosure statement (PDS) provides a complete picture of what you will and won’t be covered for. Make sure you read it carefully before taking out any policy.

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This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice.

Home Insurance is provided by CommInsure, a registered business name of Commonwealth Insurance Limited ABN 96 067 524 216 AFSL 235030 (CIL). CIL is a wholly owned non-guaranteed subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 (The Bank). The Bank does not guarantee the obligations or performance of CIL or the products it offers. Where we refer to 'we', 'us' and 'our', we mean CIL. As this information has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should, before acting on this, consider the appropriateness to your circumstances.

A Product Disclosure Statement is available at all Commonwealth Bank branches, by downloading them from commbank.com.au or by calling 13 2423 and should be considered before making any decisions about this product. You should also read the Home Insurance Key Fact Sheet, Financial Services Guide and Privacy Policy which are also available by calling 13 2423.