Maintaining a home
Does my home insurance cover fire damage?
02 March 2021
Queensland’s smoke alarm rules have changed.
Here’s what you need to know to keep everyone in your house safe.
By 2027, all homes must install interconnected, photo-electronic smoke
alarms. You’ll need one in every bedroom and hallway or between a bedroom and rest
of the home. If a storey has no bedrooms, you’ll need one on the most likely exit path.
This means that if one smoke alarm sounds, all the smoke alarms in the house will sound, giving you and your household more time for action.
If you’re a landlord, you must install interconnected smoke alarms in your residential rental properties by Jan 1, 2022. Within 30 days before the start of a tenancy in a domestic dwelling, landlords and leasers must test and clean each smoke alarm in the dwelling.
If you’re a builder or renovator, all new homes and renovations need to have new smoke alarms installed. They must be:
Interconnected with all other smoke alarms on the property
Located on each storey, in each bedroom, in hallways, between a bedroom and the other parts of the storey if there is no hallway and on a storey where there are no bedrooms on the most likely exit path.
For new buildings, smoke alarms must be hardwired, but for existing properties, they can be powered by a non-removable 10-year battery.
Regulations prescribe where smoke alarms can be located. For example, where practical, smoke alarms must be placed on the ceiling and not within:
300 millimeters of a ceiling and wall corner
300 millimeters of a light fitting
400 millimeters of an air-conditioning vent
or 400 millimeters of the blades of a ceiling fan.
The Regulations contain further requirements on where smoke alarms can be set out, in addition to those listed.
If you’re a home owner or occupier, check the date on the back of your smoke alarm.
If it’s 10 years old or fails any tests then it needs to be replaced immediately with a hardwired photo-electronic alarm that complies with Australian Standards.
If your alarms are working great and are less than 10 years old; don’t worry. Just remember to replace them once they’re ten years old, no longer pass tests, or by the January 1st 2027 deadline. Whichever happens first!
If you’re a renter, your landlord is responsible for keeping your smoke alarms up to scratch. If your alarm is 10 years or older, or doesn’t sound when tested, then your landlord needs to replace it with a compliant, photo-electronic smoke alarm.
As a tenant, it’s your responsibility to test and clean each smoke alarm in your dwelling at least once every 12 months.
To test a smoke alarm, press the 'test' button.
When cleaning it, check the manufacturer’s instructions.
Even with the most advanced smoke alarms, unfortunately not all fires are preventable.
However, cover for flood, fire, bushfire, and earthquake is included with Suncorp Home Insurance policies, to give you a little more safety.
Get one hundred dollars off when you quote and buy a Home & Contents policy online*
Find out more at suncorp.com.au/insurance/
House fires are a fear of any property owner and renter — and for many Aussies, the potential for bushfires and the resulting damage is an unfortunate reality. That’s why it’s important to get the right level of home and contents insurance.
What’s covered by Suncorp Home & Contents Insurance?
Suncorp Home & Contents Insurance can help to cover the cost of repairing or replacing your home, including permanent fixtures, as well as the stuff inside it.
Say an electrical fault causes a fire and there’s damage to your kitchen, including to your cookware and fridge. You can probably claim the repair and rebuilding costs of the kitchen itself, as well as the cost of replacing the damaged items, up to your sums insured — the maximum amounts we pay out for a home or contents claim.
If you don’t know your sum insured amounts, you can find them on your certificate of insurance, or online.
Depending on what happened, you could also be covered for:
- temporary work to make your home safe again
- debris removal
- temporary accommodation costs if your home cannot be lived in, and
- storage for contents that aren’t secure at your home after the fire.
Limits for each feature can depend on your sums insured and your policy type, so make sure to check the PDS for the specifics.
Am I covered for a fire started at my neighbour’s property?
If your home and contents catch on fire, yes. If the fire does not spread to your property, you could still be covered for heat, ash, soot and smoke damage from the neighbour’s fire if it’s within 100m of your property.
What isn’t covered by Suncorp Home & Contents Insurance?
Some situations where Suncorp Home & Contents Insurance doesn’t cover fire damage are:
- damage from arcing, scorching and cigarette burns,
- pollution caused by a home heater or kitchen appliance, and
- damage from heat, ash, soot and smoke when your home hasn’t caught on fire, unless it’s caused by a fire at a neighbouring property.
Make sure you’re properly insured
Having the right amount of cover can help you avoid the heartbreak of being underinsured. If you’ve done any recent renovations or bought big ticket items like a new TV, your home and contents may cost more to repair or replace than they would have a couple of years ago. That’s why you should regularly review your sums insured to make sure they reflect your needs if your home or contents were destroyed.
Our Home & Contents Calculator can help give you an estimate if you don’t know where to start. You could also consider enlisting a professional to help value your home, like an architect or builder, so you can get the most accurate picture.
Safeguard yourself from underinsurance
Even if your home sum insured is up to date, there’s no guarantee you won’t be out of pocket in the event of major damage. Included with Suncorp Insurance Classic Extras and Classic Advantages cover, safety net home protection can give you a financial buffer against underinsurance. Depending on your level of cover, you could be covered for a further 25-30% on top of your home sum insured to rebuild your home. This can help give you peace of mind knowing you’re less likely to be out-of-pocket if the worst were to happen.
- How to prepare for a bushfire from the start of building your home
- Are you on the best energy plan?
- How to protect your home from wild weather
Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Any advice in this information is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the Product Disclosure Statement before making any decisions about whether to acquire this product.