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Maintaining a home

Does your home insurance cover fire damage?

17 December 2020

Fire events under Home and Contents Insurance, usually refers to cover for damage or loss to your property and/or contents caused by fire. If you’re looking for insurance which offers cover for fire incidents, Suncorp Home & Contents Insurance can help. With a Suncorp Home and Contents Insurance policy, fire is covered as an insured event, except for bushfires within the first 72 hours of your policy commencing.

Read on for a breakdown of what is and isn’t covered when it comes to fire.

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What’s counted as fire damage?

For Suncorp Home and Contents Insurance policy holders, fire means burning with flames.

 

What can be covered under a fire incident?

Loss or damage caused by fire to your home and/or contents

Say you have Suncorp’s Home and Contents Classic Extras cover and your house that you own and live in catches fire because of an electrical fault. Some of your property is badly burned and needs to be rebuilt, and some of your contents have been destroyed. Other parts of your home have smoke damage.

Depending on the particulars of your policy, you could make a claim to replace items that were damaged or destroyed by the fire or smoke, up to the general contents sum insured, which may include any specified contents, plus any personal valuables sum insured, as shown on your certificate of insurance.  However, there are limits that apply to individual contents items or types of items and you should refer to the PDS for more specific details.

You could also make a claim for rebuilding costs, up to your sum insured amount. If your claim is accepted, we’ll provide the following additional features, and their limits are paid in addition to the sum insured for the home and contents:

  • other repair/rebuilding costs which are reasonable and necessary, and can include temporary work required to make your home safe again, up to 15% of the home sum insured
  • removal of debris, up to 15% of home or general contents sum insured
  • reasonable temporary accommodation costs, up to 10% of the home sum insured and the longest period you can claim for is 12 months, if we agree you can’t live in your home for the time it will take to repair or rebuild to a liveable condition
  • loss or damage caused by an insured event to contents temporarily removed from the insured address to another residence in Australia that you’re temporarily staying at,  up to 30% of the general contents sum insured for up to 180 days, unless the contents are stored in a bank deposit box
  • the cost of storing undamaged contents that we agree cannot be stored at the insured address, up to 10% of the general contents sum insured, and
  • up to a further 25% safety net home protection, when the cost of repairing or replacing exceeds the sum insured to repair or replace your home, or pay you what it would cost us to repair or replace your home  

Remember, the above example is specific to Classic Extra’s cover, so you should check the PDS to see what applies to the type of cover you have selected and what is stated on your certificate of insurance.

Heat, ash, soot, and smoke damage

Loss or damage arising from heat ash soot and smoke is not covered under the policy, unless your home and contents have caught on fire.

But if there is a burning building within 10 metres of your home which causes loss and damage to your home or contents, the policy provides cover.

Say there’s a fire next door, and as a result there’s soot and ash damage to your walls, floors, and furniture. If the neighbouring home is 10 metres or less from yours, then the policy allows for cover**. 

Pollution or vapour damage

If a fire spreads from a home heater or a cooking appliance and causes pollution or vapour damage to your home and/or contents, that damage may be covered**

Damage to contents in transit caused by fire

If you’re permanently moving house, your contents are covered for fire while they’re being moved up to the general contents sum insured.  All the limits of your contents policy apply, and there are certain items which are not covered and you should read the Suncorp Home & Contents Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) which has more information on that, as well as everything else covered under the insured event “fire”.

 

What’s not covered by insurance for fire damage?

Is damage or loss from a fire at a neighbour’s property covered?

As mentioned, we don’t cover for loss or damage arising from heat, ash, soot, and smoke when your home or contents has not caught on fire unless, it’s caused by a burning building within 10 metres of the insured address.

That means if your house has some smoke damage from a burning building a few houses away – if the burning building is more than 10 metres from your property – that damage unfortunately isn’t covered.

Fire doesn't include arcing, scorching, or cigarette burns 

Any arcing, scorching, or cigarette burns which occurs where a fire doesn’t spread from the initial burn spot isn’t covered by Home and Contents Insurance.

Say you have a fireplace and the fire has recently gone out. You open the fire door to poke the coal and logs inside to prepare another fire, and some of the coal and a piece of wood fall out and scorch your floorboards. The floorboards are damaged, but no fire starts. In this case the damage from the scorching isn’t covered.

Is pollution or vapour from a home heater or a cooking appliance covered?

Pollution or vapour from a home heater or cooking appliance is only covered by Home and Contents Insurance if fire spreads from the initial source**.

Are bushfires covered?

Yes, but not in the first 72 hours of your policy. There are some exceptions, which are explained in more detail in the PDS and you should read the PDS to understand and find out exactly what’s covered.

 

Sum insured safety net

Suncorp Home and Contents Insurance provides a safety net across all three types of cover which means in the event your home is damaged by an insured event and the cost of repairing or replacing it exceeds the sum insured, if we have accepted your claim, we will pay up to a further percentage of your home sum insured to repair or replace, or pay you what it would cost us to repair or replace your home.

With the Classic Advantages cover, there is an automatically included safety net of up to a further 30% of your home sum insured, with Classic Extras cover an automatically included safety net of up to a further 25% of your home sum insured, and with Classic cover, the safety net is not automatically included, but you can ask us to add it on by paying an additional premium, which can provide up to a further 25% of your home sum insured.

 

Underinsurance

Underinsurance is having insufficient insurance to cover the entire value of your home and/or contents in the event of a total loss, if you need to make a claim. In an event like a fire that can damage your home and belongings, and if serious enough, could mean a total loss, underinsurance could mean a financial disaster.

 

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**General exclusions apply under the policy, and you should read the PDS.

Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before making a decision about this insurance. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.

Banking Products are issued by Suncorp-Metway Ltd (“Suncorp Bank”) ABN 66 010 831 722 AFSL No 229882. Please read the Product Information Document for Personal Deposit Accounts before opening an account. Fees, charges, terms and conditions apply and are available on request.

The information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. We do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss incurred as a result of reliance upon it – please make your own enquiries.

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