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Insurance essentials

Insurance essentials

Discover how insurance can help protect what matters to you.

Life is unpredictable and not everything goes to plan. When things go wrong, insurance can be a valuable financial safety net for you and your loved ones. But getting the cover that’s right for you will depend on your unique lifestyle and circumstances.

We know that understanding all of the different types of insurance can be daunting. To help, here’s a run-down of the main types of cover.

Car insurance

If you own and drive a vehicle on Australian roads, it’s compulsory to have insurance that covers accidents which result in death or injury to others. Depending on the state or territory in which you live, this may be included in the vehicle’s registration or purchased separately e.g. Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance.

Here are some other types of insurance you should consider for your vehicle:

  • Comprehensive car insurance – covers damage to other people’s property, plus cover for damage from events like collision, flood, storms, fire and theft.
  • Third Party Property, Fire & Theft – covers damage to other people’s property, plus cover for fire and theft.
  • Third Party Property damage – covers damage to other people’s property.

Home insurance

Building and contents insurance protects against damage or loss of your property and belongings. If you own your own home, you can bundle these covers together. If you’re renting or live in a strata building, you may want to consider contents insurance.

Use our Building sum insured calculator or Contents sum insured calculator to estimate how much cover you need.

Health insurance

Private health insurance can cover some hospital and medical costs that aren’t covered by Medicare – including ambulance cover, and extras such as optical and dental. While health insurance isn’t compulsory, if you earn above a certain level of income, you may need to pay the Medicare levy surcharge.

Life insurance

If something happens to you or your partner, this can have a devastating impact on your finances. That’s where life insurance may help. There are different types of life insurance available, depending on your circumstances and needs:

  • Life cover (also called death cover) – pays a lump sum benefit if you die or become terminally ill.
  • Total and permanent disablement (TPD) cover – pays a lump sum if you’re no longer able to work due to a specified permanent disability.
  • Income protection – pays a regular benefit if you’re unable to work because of injury or illness.
  • Trauma cover – pays for medical traumas such as heart attack or cancer.

Before you insure

Cover can differ from one insurer to another, so make sure you choose a policy that meets your individual needs. Insurance doesn’t cover everything so it’s important to find out what’s covered and what isn’t. Make sure you also understand the premium costs and any excess you’ll need to pay if you do claim.

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 and Car 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 or by calling 13 2423 and should be considered before making any decisions about these products. You should also read the Home Insurance Key Fact Sheet, Financial Services Guide and Privacy Policy which are also available by calling 13 2423.