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Is my home covered while unoccupied?
Whether you’re on a holiday around the world or temporarily living away from home due to renovations, leaving your home unoccupied could impact your home insurance. Learn how you can keep your home safe, secure and occupied.
Unoccupied home insurance
If no one is living in your home for an extended period of time, home insurers consider your home unoccupied. The length of time a home can be vacant for before it’s ‘unoccupied’ differs between home insurers, so check with yours to find out.
With AAMI Home Insurance, your house is considered unoccupied if you’re away for more than 60 continuous days. This means that if you make a claim for an insured event, an unoccupied excess will apply.
Keeping your home occupied
Consider nominating a house sitter
You don’t need to be the one at home to avoid paying the unoccupied excess. If, for example, you nominate a house sitter to live in your home, for at least 2 consecutive nights or more, then the house won’t be considered unoccupied. The excess will only apply if the home has been unoccupied for another 60 continuous days before an insured incident.
You can find more info about “unoccupied excess” in the AAMI Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).
With AAMI, you can add a house sitter as a nominated representative to your policy, so if an incident occurs while you are away, they can make a claim on your behalf and get the ball rolling while you’re away. Just send us a message on the Contact Us page, or give us call on 13 22 44.
Keep track of your policy
Check whether your policy is up for renewal in the time you’ll be away. Be sure to contact us and update any contact details before you go. AAMI customers can give us a call on 13 22 44 or visit AAMI Online Services.
Keeping your property safe and secure
Hide away your valuables
Get creative with your hiding spots! Think about what works for you and your house — an unwelcome intruder will check the typical spots, like a dresser in the master bedroom. So, consider storing items like jewellery and portable electronics in creative hiding spots, or in a safe if you have one, so that if a forced entry occurs while you’re away they won’t be able to find them so easily. Just remember where you left them when you get back!
Turn off taps connected to appliances and fixtures if possible
In your home, many water-using fixtures have some type of shut-off valve. This allows you to stop the water supply at that fixture without shutting off the water to the entire house if it isn’t practical to turn off your mains. If for example there was an unknown leak somewhere, like a burst flexi hose under the kitchen sink, turning off your water main could potentially reduce any loss or damage occurring while you are away. But again, you need to consider whether it is practical for you and your home to do so.
Make a “house-to-do” checklist before you leave
Consider the following things:
- Check your home insurance policy to ensure it’s up to date and all the contact details are correct.
- Think about whether a house sitter will work for you and your situation.
- If you have insurance with AAMI, tell us about your travel dates if you’re away for more than 60 continuous days.
- If you have insurance with AAMI – and if it is right for you – consider organising a house sitter or another person you nominate to claim on your behalf if an incident occurs while you’re away, and update your policy to note this.
- If it is appropriate for you and your home, it can be a good idea to leave lights on inside the home, or security lighting, such as motion-sensor outdoor lights, and ensure any home security devices are turned on and working properly.
- Turning off taps connected to appliances and fixtures, or the water mains, if appropriate to your home.
- Hide away valuable home contents items.
- Keep your lawns mown.
- Make sure your home inventory is up to date.
- Redirect your mail and pause newspapers or other deliveries, or organise for someone to collect your mail while you’re away.
- Check all your windows and doors are secure.
When you return home
A burglary isn’t always obvious, so it’s a good idea to thoroughly check your home when you return from being away. A good place to start is by making sure that the items most frequently stolen from homes are all where you left them!
Need to make a claim?
You might be surprised to learn about some of the things AAMI Home and Contents Insurance covers. For example, when you’re away from home anywhere is Australia or New Zealand, you can still insure unspecified personal items under optional cover you pay extra for, but there are conditions and exclusions that apply to this cover, so always read the PDS before taking out this additional cover. Call us on 13 22 44 to talk about adding AAMI’s Portable Valuables – Unspecified Items cover to your policy as an optional extra.
- Manage your insurance easily with the AAMI App
- What does my AAMI Home and Contents cover?
- Should you get complete replacement cover home insurance?
Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 AFSL 230859 (AAI) trading as AAMI. Any advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. Please read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before you make any decision regarding this product. The Target Market Determination is also available.