Cover under different home insurance policies varies, but there are some common traits – and exclusions – that many policies typically share. Some things are included as standard or you can choose to increase your cover to safeguard against loss or damage. Others, however, you may not be able to control.
Either way, it’s important to have a solid understanding of everything you are and aren’t covered for under the terms and conditions of your home insurance policy. The following are common exclusions worth knowing about.
Leaving your home empty
The exact time period will vary depending on your insurer, but if you’re planning on being away for a while you should check with your insurer whether this will impact your policy.
Having people stay in your house
Typically, only people named on your certificate of insurance are covered – so taking part in a house swap or renting your place out can be risky. If you’re doing the swap through an organisation like Airbnb, you may find they may offer specific insurance that best suits your needs.
Not securing your home
If your home is deemed unsecure – say a window or door is left open – your claim may not be valid as the insurer could deem you haven’t taken proper steps to keep your things safe.
If your home has any existing problems, a new policy is unlikely to cover them.
Some insurers will not automatically provide for flooding, or may only provide coverage for damage from flood and/or storms under specific circumstances. Special conditions may also apply. If you live in an area prone to flooding or storm, it’s worth checking what the policy you’re considering covers.
Damage caused by your dog, cat or any other animals kept at the home is generally not covered under a standard home insurance policy.
Acts of war
Any damage or costs incurred by an act of war typically won’t be covered by an insurer.
If you’re renovating your home, your cover may be impacted. You may be required to let your insurer know, especially if the value or extent of the renovations is significant. Take note, too, that most insurers won’t cover damage caused by or connected with the renovations. You may need to take out a specialised policy or look at what’s covered by your builder’s insurance.
If you run a business from your home, related stock may not be covered.
Other things to know
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 a policy.
Also make sure you’re completely honest when it comes to declaring what is in your home and the condition of your items. If you’re not, you risk any claim you make being declined.