Does home insurance cover that? 9 things you may not know about your policy

Home insurance can be tricky – are you covered if your neighbour’s lawn mower sends a rock through your window? What about if your pipes burst?

Knowing the answer to these questions could be the difference between a successful claim and having to dip into your own savings in an emergency.

So whether you’re doing your research on what you’re covered for just in case, or your in the situation where you need to make a claim, here are some questions that might be on the top of your mind.

1. Does home insurance cover fences?

Generally speaking, damaged fences are covered by your home building insurance, as long as they’re kept maintained. There may also be limits to the size of the fence - for example, you might be covered for fences under 500 metres long.

What if it’s a shared fence? The rule of thumb seems to be that if a well-maintained, shared fence is damaged, your insurance will cover up to 50% of the cost of repairs (your share of the fence.)

2. Does home insurance cover plumbing?

Home insurance is designed to cover the costs of unexpected damage. That means that gradual damage to your plumbing, such as rusting pipes, seepage or damage from faulty fixtures usually isn’t covered, because it could have been avoided with regular maintenance.

A common answer seems to be that your insurance covers finding a leak and fixing any damage caused by it - but not repairing the leak or burst pipe itself.

3. Does home insurance cover public liability?

First of all, what is public liability? This insurance benefit covers you for injury to another person or damage to their property that’s deemed to be your fault. In the case of home insurance, this covers people visiting your home, and can cover the cost of things like a guest tripping on your step and breaking their leg.

Most home insurance policies cover public liability to some extent at least.

4. Does home insurance cover a leaking roof?

Similar to plumbing, you’re leaky roof won’t be covered by your home insurance if it’s happened because you didn’t do maintenance on your home.

On the other hand, if your roof is damaged in a storm, then you should be covered for repairs to the roof, plus internal damage caused by water leaking through.

5. Does home insurance cover mould?

The last thing you want to find in your home is mould! But will your home insurance cover the cost of getting rid of it?

Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases, the answer is no. Because mould is typically a gradual process and often caused by other factors that are fixed in routine maintenance - like leaking showers or blocked ventilation - it usually doesn’t come under your insurance.

6. Does home insurance cover mobile phones?

Home and contents insurance covers your personal belongings while they’re in your home, and some insurance policies will cover things like jewelry or sporting equipment even outside your home.

However, mobile phones usually don’t come under this protection. The good news is you can take out extra insurance to cover big ticket items that leave home with you, like a mobile phone.

7. Does home insurance cover tree removal?

Your insurance will cover damage from a tree falling on your property during a storm - provided the tree was not rotten - and will usually pay to cut down any remaining part of the tree and take it away.

But if you’re voluntarily removing a tree, no, your insurance won’t pay for this. And, if you’re lopping down a tree on your property and it damages your home, you probably won’t be able to make a claim on your insurance for that damage.

8. Does home insurance cover foundation problems?

Generally speaking, the foundations of your home are covered under insurance if they’re damaged by an insured event - like a flood, fire or storm. One thing to keep in mind that natural shifting and settling of foundations or damage due to tree roots are nearly always excluded from cover.

9. Does home insurance cover termite damage?

Unfortunately, if your home has been damaged by termites, mice, insects or any other vermin, the cost to repair and get rid of these pests usually isn’t covered under your home insurance.

So, in a nutshell, anything that would usually fall under the umbrella of routine maintenance - or could have been prevented by doing routine maintenance - isn’t covered under most insurance policies. Your insurance is designed to protect you from unexpected damage, particularly after major events like a storm, earthquake, flood or fire.

How do I choose a home insurance policy?

If you're only just getting into the home ownership game, you might need a hand comparing and choosing a home insurance policy. To get started you should:

  • Figure out what kind of insurance you need

If you sit in the owner-occupier camp, you might want a different kind of home insurance policy than if you're a landlord renting out the property. You may also want to bundle contents insurance into the mix. So start by confirming these details.

  • Calculate the level of cover you want

This involves getting an accurate valuation of your home. Underinsurance can be a big problem, so make sure you're insuring your home so that it can be fully repaired or rebuilt without leaving you out of pocket.

  • Compare policies

Mozo's home insurance comparison table details a bundle of policy options so you can compare their key features side-by-side. You can start collecting quotes once you've narrowed your search down to a few top contenders. 

  • Start an application

Found the perfect home insurance fit for your circumstances and budget? It's time to get applying. You can normally do this online, over the phone or in person at an insurance branch.

Still not sure what's the best home insurance option for you? Take a look at the winners of our Mozo Experts Choice Awards for home insurance for a little more insight into what makes for a top home insurance policy.