How to find the right cover for your strata complex
- Strata insurance is compulsory in all states in Australia
- If you’re looking to secure quality strata insurance, or would like to review your existing cover, then knowing where to start can be overwhelming
- Read on for tips to help you find the right cover for your strata complex
Strata insurance in Australia
Strata insurance is a legal requirement for commercial and residential strata complexes in Australia. This means that the Owners Corporation of a strata property is required to take out strata insurance that covers the building, its common areas and other legal liabilities associated with operating a strata complex.
If you’re looking to secure strata insurance, or would like to review your existing cover, then wading through the different products on the market can feel overwhelming. We’ve taken time out to share our tips for securing the right strata insurance for your complex, as well as insights into what makes quality strata cover.
Here’s what you need to know.
What exactly is strata insurance?
Strata insurance is designed specifically for properties that form part of a strata scheme. A strata scheme includes apartments, townhouses or even units in a multi-unit complex. Typically, strata insurance covers common property and shared areas within a strata complex. This means individual unit owners still need to secure their own separate insurances.
Good quality strata insurance should provide cover for:
- Building damage – cover for damage to the building’s structure, including walls, floors, roof and common property elements
- Public liability – against legal liabilities that may arise from injury or property damage to third parties, which may arise on common property
- Legal costs – that may arise from defending or pursuing a legal action that involves the Owners Corporation
- Replacement and repairs – the cost of replacing or repairing damaged common property, such as lifts, water pumps or shared laundry facilities
- Voluntary workers – for injuries suffered by anyone voluntarily working for an Owners Corporation at the strata complex
- Fire and natural disasters – for damage to the strata complex caused by fire, storms, earthquakes or other natural disasters
- Vandalism or malicious damage – for damage caused by intentional acts of vandalism or malicious activities
- Loss of rent – compensation for loss of rental income if common property becomes uninhabitable as a result of damage covered by the strata policy
- Theft – for theft or burglary-related damage that occurs in common property areas within the strata complex
- Fidelity guarantee – cover against the theft of strata funds by a strata committee member or a strata manager
Tips for finding quality strata cover
- Seek an independent review
We recommend securing a good insurance broker who has access to products from multiple insurers. They can then review the options and costs and provide you with a shortlist of products best suited to your strata complex. Just remember that when it comes to insurance, the cheapest product isn’t always the best.
A cheaper policy may seem like a great deal, but if it’s not covering you for the risk and exposures that matter, then it’s not going to have your back when you actually need it. A good broker will make sure the strata policy includes the items we listed earlier. (Some direct strata insurance placements can incur hidden or extra placement costs.)
- Know your building
A good strata insurance policy should take into account the specifics of your strata complex. Perhaps you have a shared laundry, common contents, or driveway mailboxes. Maybe there’s a pool that is used by residents and their guests, or a gym that’s only open during daylight hours.
A good policy should adapt to the unique circumstances of your strata complex. That way, you’re not wasting money on insurance that isn’t doing the job.
- Check the law
Different states in Australia have different laws relating to strata insurance. For example, strata insurance in Queensland won’t cover air conditioning units, while in NSW, paint and wall paper is not covered.
Always check the regulations that govern your state, so you can know exactly what your strata insurance will actually cover, should you need to make a claim.
- Understand your building’s replacement value
Building costs have escalated over the past three years due to increases in the costs of labour and materials. This is why it’s important to seek an independent review from a builder or quantity surveyor, to ensure the building is insured for replacement value.
Doing so will ensure the Owners Corporation is adequately protected under the strata policy. For more information on why having an up-to-date strata survey matters, head here.
- Get expert support
If you need help researching different strata insurance products, a reputable insurance broker can do the legwork on your behalf. At Bruce, we do this by pinpointing strata insurance products that match the unique characteristics of your complex.
We’ll make sure your policy complies with regulations in your state, and we’ll find a product that aligns with your budget. If and when you need to make a claim, we’ll also take care of the entire process for you.
For more information on our commercial and residential strata insurance products, please get in touch here.