Unsure about something? Here are some frequently asked questions that may help you with your queries. If you need further information please contact us and we will get back to you shortly.
Existing Structures are all buildings (or pre-completed work) on the site before commencement of the owner builder insurance. If you've already completed some work before taking out a new Allrisk insurance policy (e.g. insured with another provider, or had completed without insurance), you should insure that work as Existing Structures.
These existing structures can also be other buildings on the site - for example the home you're renovating. Quite often your existing home insurer won't provide full cover over the home when you're renovating, and they'll tell you to insure the home with the construction insurer.
We offer two types of existing structures - standard and deluxe.
Standard existing structures covers the structures for damage arising from the new renovation/construction works. For example, a fire starting in the new part, and spreading to the old buildings, or a contractor on a forklift running through a wall (yes this has happened!).
Deluxe existing structures covers the structures for any damage; e.g. a bushfire or storm, not being caused by the new renovation/construction works.
We offer two levels of cover so you can get the appropriate insurance to dovetail with your existing home & contents insurance package.
Public Liability insurance is absolutely vital on your construction project. Your home & contents insurance only covers public liability related to you being a home owner and occupier, not you as an owner builder. The public liability you might have in your business should cover you for your business, not you as an owner builder.
We offer $5mio, $10mio, and $20mio levels of cover. On your quote you'll see that the base price includes $5mio; have a look at the next page of the PDF and you'll see prices for $10mio and $20mio limits as well.
Obviously we recommend the highest level of cover you can afford, but most owner builders go with their council requirement - some councils require $10mio or $20mio cover to approve the project.
Contract Works insurance is vital to protect your project against damage - like fire, storm, earthquake, malicious damage, or theft of building materials.
Yes, you absolutely need this as well as public liability. Whilst your tradesman carry their own public liability insurance, that won't help you if there's a bushfire - you can hardly sue your contractors for costs if your project is damaged by freak weather or matters outside of their control.
Our quotes include both public liability and contract works, you simply can't buy one type of insurance without the other.
Volunteers Cover insurance is for volunteers' loss of income following injury working on your site under your direction.
We count both you and your spouse as volunteers, along with of course any friends or family helping you out for free (up to 10 volunteers total at any one time). Unfortunately voluntary workers insurance does not cover medical expenses (other than limited non-Medicare costs), as this is prohibited by the Health Insurance Act 1973.
We recommend Volunteers Cover if you will be having some mates help you out on the site for free; the loss of income insurance will give them something following injury so they won't feel "ripped off".
Home Warranty insurance covers the risk of the owner builder disappearing or going bankrupt, and being unable to fix defects in the sold house.
It is absolutely not required when building, owner builders only need to buy the insurance when selling in the prescribed period, and even then only in VIC and in WA.
For VIC, please visit: https://www.dbi.vmia.vic.gov.au/latest-news node name/announcement-2
In general, though, the answer to any urgent property damage claims question is to:
The Works themselves. Household insurance policies generally do not cover the actual works in question against damage or theft - if something goes wrong (fire, storm water damage, theft, malicious acts, and so forth) you need insurance to cover the cost of making good. We recommend insuring for enough to have a professional builder complete the work in full. Your Public Liability for injury or damage to other parties. As a builder you will be held responsible for any damage or injury caused, even if you personally didn't cause the damage. You can't assume that all contractors will be correctly insured, and if an uninsured contractor is the true cause of the loss, you in your capacity as builder will have to pay compensation.
Your Existing Home (Structure) during the project. Most household policies exclude damage to your home buildings as a result of the owner builder project, and some even exclude any damage to the home from any cause while the project is ongoing. We recommend insuring your home for its full replacement value in the Works package.
Your Tools and Plant used in the project. Whilst most contractors will insure their own tools, any equipment you own is at risk of damage or theft.
Injury to any Volunteers working on your project. Whilst we'd recommend that your helpers should have their own Income Protection insurance, that's not an option for everyone. Voluntary Workers' Personal Accident covers the volunteers' loss of income following injury on the project site, and optionally Injury Assistance benefits as well.
Statutory obligations for Workers' Compensation. Even though your contractors will be their own businesses, as the builder you may be deemed to be the ultimate employer. This means that in the event of injury, you will be required to compensate the contractor's workers for their loss of income and medical and rehabilitation expenses. Workers' Compensation claims generally continue for quite some time post injury, and can easily mount up to tens of thousands of dollars for a knee injury, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for a serious back hurt.
We recommend in the strongest possible terms that you should either purchase Workers' Compensation insurance or at least discuss your exposure with WorkCover.
As a builder, you are responsible for any damage to your own project or injury to any other persons. Although most owner builder construction sites are safe and follow all laws, accidents can and do happen. If a worker, a contractor, or a passer-by is injured by your project, or fire or water damages neighbouring property, you will be held liable, and will have to pay compensation.
Just the cost of defending yourself can be prohibitive. If the compensation required is high enough, you may lose your home and your assets to cover your legal fees and damages.
Considering that insurance is extremely affordable and simple to obtain, we're confident in saying that yes, insurance is necessary for the prudent owner builder.
Our best advice is that you insure your project for the total cost of a professional builder to perform the work. If something goes wrong, your insurer will appoint a professional builder to return your work to its pre-damage position. If the project is damaged right before practical completion that could be the entire project.
Your Existing Home (structure) should be insured for its brand-new rebuilding cost, right down to and including the pad and earthworks. A bushfire or earthquake can destroy your home entirely.
Your Public Liability should be for the maximum amount you can comfortably afford - it's impossible to know what might go wrong and for how much a group of injured people may sue.
Your Tools and Plant should be enough to replace your equipment with brand new equivalents.
Then you won't receive enough to repair your project, and it will be left unfinished until you can restart.
We consider the more pressing concern to be the consequences of not having enough Workers' Compensation or Public Liability insurance. Owner builders have high legal obligations here; we strongly recommend that you arrange the maximum cover available to protect yourself.
Very. Assuming that you don't have any past difficulties to disclose, the entire quotation process will only take between two to five minutes, at which point we'll have a number of packages and options for you to consider. We'll also e-mail a copy of the quotation to you so you can peruse at your leisure.
We encourage you to regularly update your quote as the project changes, and when you're ready to go ahead with cover and payment, a covernote is available instantly.
Your initial policy can run for 6 or 12 months, depnding on the option you select. If your project is delayed or expands to take longer than this time, we can extend your policy for the additional period.
Cover will end at the earlier of the policy expiry (assuming not extended), or Practical Completion. Practical Completion is the date upon which the works are complete other than minor omissions or defects which don't stop the Project from being used for its intended purpose.
Once your project has reached Practical Completion, you should immediately arrange comprehensive home insurance. Your owner builder project insurance will no longer protect your project once it can be reasonably used for its purpose.
Before instructing us to arrange any insurance on your behalf, you must review our Financial Services Guide and the policies' Product Disclosure Statements to ensure that our services and the products will meet your requirements.
As part of the quote process, you must comply with your Duty of Disclosure. Put simply, you have a legal obligation to tell us anything which might affect an insurer's decision to insure you, and the terms of any such insurance. If you're not sure whether a matter should be disclosed, we recommend that you do disclose it as part of the quote.
Quotations are obligation-free, but once you're happy with the terms and the premium and instruct us to place cover on your behalf, we will require payment within 7 days. We will e-mail you the invoices with payment information. Most of our clients prefer B-Pay and credit card payments. Upon payment we can issue the insurance certificates which your council or shire will ask to see.
Contact us any time with any changes to the project, and we can adjust your policy to suit. Some cover additions may change the total premium - we'll discuss the requirements with you first.
There are several problems with assuming contractors have their own Workers Comp insurance:
So it boils down to two issues really, where a person should be insured but isn't, right down the line of subcontractors. And the fact that sole traders (in most cases) can't cover themselves for workers compensation.
The fact that claims can be lodged against you does not guarantee they will be successful. This is why your policy is a 'safety net' cover at the minimum premium level. When a contractor does lodge a workers comp claim against you, Workcover (in your state) will assess them and either deny the claim because they are a 'contractor', OR they will grant them the status of 'deemed worker' which means the claim will be approved. You won't know which way that would go until the claim is made. The policy also covers legal costs, etc, in defending claims however so it's vital for that reason also.