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How much should I insure my house for?

ASIC’s 2014 Review of the Sale of Home Insurance identified that the vast majority (81%) of homeowners/renters are exposed to financial loss because their insurance does not cover them to resume the same standard of living in the event of a crisis. Your home is one of your most valuable assets and taking out insurance cover can give you the option to repair, rebuild or replace your home or contents – if you have the right amount of insurance cover.

Many homeowners gloss over the fine print and grab an insurance policy only to discover there are mistakes. It is up to you to determine how much it would cost to replace your property and it’s not easy to find out with the amount of complexity and technical knowledge required.


What are the risks of not taking out enough insurance cover?  

One of the biggest risks when considering home insurance is not taking out enough cover. In the event that your home and/or contents are completely destroyed, you may not have enough money to rebuild the home entirely or replace all of your possessions, let alone a little help to get you back on your feet. The best way to avoid under-insurance is to get the right sum insured amount included in your insurance policy. Sum insured is an Insurance policy term describing the amount the insurer agrees to up to in the event of a claim. The agreed sum insured is nominated by you. 

Cost of building a house calculator

To make it easier to understand the cost to build your home in today’s prices, if an unfortunate event occurs, many insurers offer building calculators, which are quick and easy to use. A building calculator will give you a good idea of the sum insured amount you need for your Insurance policy. You also need to include this in your Building Insurance quote, and if you do need to claim, it will help to avoid those nasty surprises found with under-insurance. 

The Building Calculator will take several areas into consideration to work out the cost to rebuild your house. 

  • Construction style, original year built and slope of land 
  • Number of storeys, standard of construction, external wall and roof material
  • Living area along with the number of rooms, bathrooms, garage spaces and retaining walls
  • Other features such as heating and cooling, solar power, sheds, pool or spa 

To help you estimate the replacement value of your home, you can check what's covered and use the Building value calculator. You will receive a downloadable report which is handy to get an insurance quote to find out the cost of home insurance. 

It is also advisable to get a professional valuation for a more accurate rebuilding cost; a licensed builder or professional valuer will be able to provide this for you. 

How much is enough contents insurance cover?

If you lost everything in a flood, fire, or storm – how much would you need to replace your belongings? Most of us undervalue the amount of personal belongings we accumulate and the costs involved to replace those items. 

Most content insurance policies offer ‘new’ for ‘old’ replacement on contents, irrespective of age, where an item cannot be repaired. This covers the cost of replacing your belongings with new items, which could cost more, and is dependent on the cover limits of the policy you choose. Often the more expensive policies will have higher cover limits, so you will be less likely to be out of pocket if you do need to claim. 

If you have high value items such as an engagement ring, watch, surfboard, TV, laptop, handbag or other items they may fall outside the standard cover limits, even if you choose the top level of cover. Instead many insurers allow you to take out extra cover for your valuables. You can choose the value you would like cover for, although there could be limits and exclusions so it is always best to read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) or speak to your insurer to be safe.  

Calculate the value of your contents

Insurance calculators are great time savers for getting an estimate on the cost to replace your contents and they are especially handy when getting an insurance quote. For building insurance you need to choose a sum insured amount and contents insurance follows the same process. These calculators are based on a three tiered structure comprising items, categories and rooms. To obtain a contents insurance estimate, follow the prompts to choose the level and standard (average, quality and prestige), on your home contents along with any special items you would like to be covered. 

The estimate uses the information you provide to determine the cost to replace your home contents. 

Insurance is not a set and forget strategy, it should be reviewed regularly to avoid under-insurance, especially if you make any special acquisitions. 

To help you estimate the value of your contents, you can check what's covered and use the Contents Value Calculator

Do I really need Home Insurance?

Imagine if a flood, fire or storm wreaked havoc on your home and also caused damage to your personal property – what would you do? A home insurance policy allows you to receive compensation for a specific loss or damage in return for the payment of a premium.

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Do I need Landlord Insurance?

Landlord Insurance can offer peace of mind to investment property owners if something unexpected were to happen. Landlord Insurance provides cover for specific events such as a flood, fire, storm and theft.

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Important information

The information contained in this article is general information only and is not specific to any product.  

It does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness, having regard to your personal objectives, financial situation and needs to these factors before acting on it.

Terms, conditions and exclusions apply to any insurance product. Please read the disclosure documents for your selected product or service, including the Terms and Conditions or Product Disclosure Statement, before deciding.

Cover is subject to your application for insurance being accepted.

Product Disclosure Statements (PDS)

Home and Contents Insurance Product Disclosure Statement and Supplementary Product Disclosure Statement (PDF 382KB)  (applicable to policies issued or renewed on or after 1 July 2019)

Home and Contents Insurance Product Disclosure Statement and Supplementary Product Disclosure Statement (PDF 365KB) (applicable to policies initially issued in the period between 30 June 2018 and 30 June 2019; or renewed in the period between 30 July 2018 and 30 June 2019)

This information does not take your personal objectives, circumstances or needs into account. Read the relevant PDS(s) to see if this insurance is right for you.

View the Retail and Business Banking Financial Services Guide, Credit Guide and Privacy Statement. (PDF 137KB)

Home and Contents Insurance is issued by Westpac General Insurance Limited ABN 99 003 719 319 (except workers compensation cover where applicable).  St.George  – a Division of Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 (the Bank) distributes the insurance, but does not guarantee the insurance.