You may not own your house, but chances are you do own a lot of valuable things within it. If your place is burgled, or damaged in a fire or a storm, contents insurance can be a relief – covering part or all of the cost of replacing things that are lost or damaged.
There are many insurance companies (we’ve listed some below) offering a range of policy types. It’s worth doing your homework and searching around for a policy that’s right for you.
Many companies will now let you take out your own policy, even if you’re renting with other people.
A few tips:
- Think about how much it would cost to replace all of your things – it can be a lot more than you expect
- Decide whether you want to insure things for when they’re out of your home (your laptop or phone for example). This is more expensive, but may be worth it for you
- Read the fine print to understand what would happen if you make a claim – will you get the full amount to replace the goods new, or just a proportion? Are there any exclusions? What excess will you need to pay if you make a successful claim?
- Keep receipts, photos or warranties for as many of your belongings as possible, particularly the valuable ones – it’ll make it easier to process your claim
- It's in your interest to disclose as much information about yourself as you can. If you don’t then your policy may be deemed void when you go to make a claim.
Consumer Affairs Victoria can give you free confidential advice about contracts, insurance or anything about your rights as a consumer. The Insurance Council of Australia is another useful contact. And if you think you’ve been treated unfairly in an insurance dispute, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman.
When you're renting, there are plenty of good reasons to consider having contents insurance. Student houses are often treasure-troves of goods, with at least one computer per person, several bikes, and everyone's individual clothing and jewellery. Knowing that you will be able to replace your belongings in the event of fire, storm or burglary gives you peace of mind.
Most insurance companies offer multiple separate policies per household, which means you don't have to rely on other house members to take out a policy – you can take out your own contents insurance cover.
To get an idea of how much a policy may cost you, go online and use the various calculators and checklists that insurance companies provide. Check out our list of insurance companies listed at the bottom of this page – they'll have some handy online tools.
If you do make the choice to take out contents insurance, remember when filling out the form to be honest and disclose as much information as you can to ensure that your policy will be valid if you need to make a claim.
If you believe you've been treated unfairly regarding an insurance dispute, then you could contact the Financial Ombudsman.