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Domestic building insurance

If you have a contract to do domestic building work in Victoria worth $16,000 or more, you must take out domestic building insurance.

If you have a contract to do domestic building work in Victoria worth $16,000 or more, you must take out domestic building insurance.

What is domestic building work? 

Domestic building work includes, but is not limited to:

  • The construction, renovation, removal or demolition of a home.
  • Work associated with the construction or renovation of a home e.g. landscaping, paving, fencing, retaining walls, swimming pools, spas etc.
  • The construction of garages, decks, pergolas etc. on residential land.
  • Site works for the above projects.

When do I need to take out domestic building insurance?

Once you have signed a major domestic building contract you need to ensure a domestic building insurance policy is in place. If this is not in place and has not been provided to the homeowner, then the contract is conditional upon the homeowner receiving either one of these. 

Without a domestic building insurance policy, you cannot enforce the contract, commence work or receive money from the homeowner (including the deposit) until the insurance is in effect and the homeowner has been given a copy of the insurance certificate. 

Insurance Certificate

You must give the homeowner a copy of the domestic building insurance certificate within 7 days of receiving it. 

What does domestic building insurance cover?

Domestic building insurance provides protections to the homeowner from financial losses arising from incomplete or defective work carried out by a builder or tradesperson who has died, disappeared, or become insolvent. The protection extends to future owners of the property, subject to time limitations. 

It covers your client (and future owners) against loss or damage resulting from non-completion of the building work or from:

  • structural or non-structural defects in the building work;
  • a breach of any warranty implied under the Domestic Building Contracts Act;
  • a failure to maintain a standard or quality of building work specified in the building contract;
  • conduct by the builder or trade contractor in connection with the building contract that contravenes a provision under the Competition and Consumer Act or the Fair Trading Act.

How much can the owner claim for?

For policies issued before 1 July 2014 owner can claim up to $200,000, for policies issued after 1 July 2014 they can claim up to $300,000.

You should be aware that policies usually limit claims for non-completion to 20 per cent of the original contract price.

How to apply?

The BuildVic Domestic Building Insurance Portal provides builders with access to purchase an insurance policy directly.  Alternatively, HIA members may wish to contact HIA Insurance Services on 1800 762 878 to discuss further.

To find out more, contact HIA InfoCentre

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