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Insure Your Property and Make a Will

For good advice about buying insurance start by reading the insurance section on MoneySmart, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s website.

House and contents insurance

Colourful gingerbread houseYou’ll need house and contents insurance if you own your own home.

House insurance typically covers your home, garage (and any other buildings), walls, gates, fences and driveways. Experts recommend that you have replacement cover for all included items and provision for the full cost of rebuilding.

Contents insurance covers the fittings inside your home (carpets, curtains, etc.) and your personal possessions.  Always value expensive items such as jewellery and antiques separately – you may need specific cover for these items.

Many insurers also offer renter’s insurance (for possessions only) for people renting or in share accommodation.

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Landlord’s insurance

You’ll need landlord’s insurance if you own an investment property that’s being rented for residential purposes. Landlord’s insurance can cover you for buildings, contents, loss of rent, rent default and theft by a tenant and liability, among others. The good news is that landlord’s insurance is tax deductible!

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Car insurance

Car insurance is important for anyone who owns and drives a car. There are three main types of car insurance.

Compulsory third party. You’ve got no choice about this one as you have to pay it when you register your car. It covers claims made against you by someone you injure while driving and it covers your legal costs. It doesn’t cover the cost of repairs to your own or anyone else’s car.

Third party property (which can also include fire and theft). This covers you for damage caused by your car to property owned by a third party in the event of an accident. As a bare minimum, you should have this insurance. It doesn’t cover the cost of repairs to your own car, however if you take out third party fire and theft you are covered if your car is damaged by fire or through theft.

Comprehensive car insurance. Premiums for comprehensive car insurance are the most expensive, however you’ll be covered for any damage you may cause to the property of others as well as any damage to your own car, even if you are at fault. If you drive an expensive car this is probably the car insurance for you.

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Powered by Canstar Cannex (a specialist research service used by financial professionals, government and media), this website compares car insurance policies.

For ‘specialist’ car insurance try:

Bingle

Low cost car insurance only (underwritten by AAMI). Quotes online.

Vintage American carJust Car Insurance

Specialist insurance for young drivers and for modified, high performance and imported cars (again, underwritten by AAMI). Quotes online.

Youi

Short for you.insured, Youi’s selling point – cheaper car insurance if you give them more info (e.g. my car is usually parked at home during the day). Theory is, this helps them reduce your premium. Quotes online.

Emergency roadside assistance

You should also consider taking out emergency roadside assistance in the event that your car breaks down on the road. It’s not too expensive – contact your State or Territory’s motoring association for details (they all provide car insurance too and offer quotes online).

Make a will

A will is just a legal document that states who you want to inherit your assets after your death and names a guardian for your children if you have any. If you die without a will your estate will be divided up by a court who’ll decide who gets what – and it won’t necessarily be divided up the way you might like it. Every adult needs a will.

You can pay a solicitor to write up a will for you (contact the Law Institute or Law Society in your State or Territory to find a qualified solicitor) or you can write one yourself with the help of a do-it-yourself will kit.

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If your affairs aren’t too complicated and you’d like to try writing a will yourself, buy a do-it-yourself legal will kit.

Find a financial adviser

Check out the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s website MoneySmart – it has loads of great information about obtaining personal financial advice and finding a qualified financial adviser. Experts often suggest you find an adviser who charges by the hour instead of receiving a commission.

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3 Comments

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Ayesha Kelly
23 Nov 2011 at 1:07 pm

Thanks for this! I’m 21 and have been renting for 2 years now without any insurance on my belongings! After having to evacuate during the Brisbane floods earlier this year with nothing but my handbag and cat, I had to play chance with my belongings. Fortunately I came out lucky with no damage. But it made me realise I really DO need to look at things like insurance. Because I don’t drive, I’ve never dealt with insurance before and had no idea where to start. Thanks to your advice and links I’ve now found a quote for my situation which I can definitely afford! Now to finding some pet insurance before my cat tried eating another fish hook…

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