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Floods, bushfires and termites: what does home insurance cover?

Published 27 January 2021

Bushfires, cyclones and floods are a very real threat in Australia so it pays to be prepared.

In our sunburnt country, natural disasters are inevitable. Insuring your home is essential for peace of mind and can help ensure you’re financially protected if disaster strikes.

After the devastating 2009 Victorian bushfires, a royal commission reported that about 13 per cent of homes in need of rebuilding or significant repair were not insured. Home and contents insurance, including flood and fire insurance, are especially important when you live in a country that has seen some devastating bushfires and weather events, and is likely to see more.

Whether it’s a bushfire, flood, cyclone or hailstorm, it’s not about expecting the worst – it’s about knowing that you and your family have financial protection in case your home and contents are damaged or destroyed.

Understand the risks

Forewarned is forearmed, as the saying goes. Some areas of Australia are more prone to natural disasters such as bushfires and cyclones more than others, and it’s worth finding out if you’re in one of them.

  • Your state emergency service or local fire service can give you information on flood and fire dangers and preparation.
  • Your local council may be able to tell you whether your house has been built to a specific standard (such as cyclone standard).

Specific types of cover

Home and contents insurance policies are not all the same: it’s really important to know what yours covers you for.

Fire cover including insurance for bushfires

Fire insurance and fire-damage restoration tends to be top of mind during Australia’s peak bushfire season in summer, but don’t neglect it until then: now is the right time to make sure you have adequate insurance. And if you’re in a fire-prone area, regularly review and update your bushfire survival plan.

Home and contents cover in ANZ Home Insurance can cover you for loss or damage caused by fire (including bushfires) to your home and your possessions inside.disclaimer If your home is completely destroyed by fire, ANZ Home Insurance will cover the cost of rebuilding your home or pay you the cash equivalent.disclaimer

Read more about the true cost of bushfires and ANZ’s cover.

Flood insurance

Flood insurance cover is a variable feature across home insurance policies. Your home and contents insurance could have:

  • flood cover as a standard policy inclusion, such as in ANZ Home Insurance
  • no flood cover
  • flood cover, but with an additional loading
  • flood cover with specific exclusions
  • flood damage cover up to a set amount.

Make sure you know what your policy covers and whether it’s adequate for your home and your situation.

Termite damage

Although you might think of termite damage as a ‘natural’ event, most insurers, including ANZ, don’t provide ‘termite insurance’ (or more accurately, insurance for damage by pests). This is because it’s preventable in a way that, say, a flood or bushfire isn’t. The best thing you can do is make sure the damage doesn’t occur in the first place.

  • Termites need moisture, so minimise it by repairing anything that’s leaking or letting in water, such as taps, pipes, air conditioning units, roof tiles, etc.
  • Make sure external plumbing – gutters and downpipes especially – divert water away from your house.
  • Check foundations and woodwork regularly for telltale signs of termites such as mud tubes, hollow-sounding wood or bubbling paintwork.
  • Store any untreated wood as far away from the house as possible.
  • Before your purchase a property make sure you commission a pest inspection to check for termite damage and understand the risk of your property being infested by termites.

Make sure you have the right insurance

Many people with building and contents insurance underestimate the value of their home or contents, or their insurance policy isn’t as comprehensive as they thought it was, and they’re left short when it comes time to make a claim. With a natural disaster, your entire home and contents can be lost. Making sure you accurately value your home and contents, and that this is reflected in your insurance policy, is critical.

Take a look through your existing policy and make sure it suits your needs – time spent securing your future is always well spent. And if you’re in the market for a new or more comprehensive cover, check out ANZ’s award-winning insurance to see if it’s right for you today.

Find out more about ANZ Home and Contents Insurance

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Mon-Fri 8am to 8pm (AEST)

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This information is current as at date of publication and is subject to change.

ANZ Home Insurance is issued by QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited (ABN 78 003 191 035, AFSL 239545) (QBE) and distributed by ANZ under its own license. ANZ recommends that you read the ANZ Financial Services Guide (PDF 179kB), ANZ Home Building Key Facts Sheet (PDF 130kB), ANZ Home Contents Key Facts Sheet (PDF 130kB)ANZ Home Insurance Target Market Determination (PDF 199kB) and the ANZ Home Insurance Product Disclosure Statement (PDF 548kB) (available by calling 13 16 14), before deciding whether to acquire, or to continue to hold, these products.

Although Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) ABN 11 005 357 522 AFSL 234527 distributes these products, ANZ does not guarantee or stand behind the issuers or their products.

This information is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether the information is appropriate for you having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. 

The ANZ App is provided by ANZ. Super, Shares and Insurance (if available) are not provided by ANZ but entities which are not banks. ANZ does not guarantee them. ANZ recommends that you read the ANZ App Terms and Conditions available at and consider if this service is appropriate to you prior to making a decision to acquire or use the ANZ App.

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We do not cover loss or damage caused by a bushfire, flood or named cyclone that occurs within 48 hours of the start of your policy. We cover loss or damage as a result of charring, melting or scorching as a result of a fire without the presence of a flame, but not where it is caused by a hot item (including cigarettes, cigars or pipes), home heater or cooking appliance, unless Accidental Loss or Damage (Buildings and/or Contents) optional benefit has been selected.