Moving in with a partner is an exciting stage in a relationship — and in life overall.
It can be a great step towards building an even stronger partnership — roughly 80 per cent of couples cohabitate before marriage , according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies.
But there's a lot to think about when it comes to making the move. There’s packing all of your things, arranging the moving van, and then pulling it all off successfully once the removalists arrive (not to mention deciding how you’ll divvy up responsibilities as a newly cohabitating partnership).
With so many tasks to stay on top of, it's easy to understand why many people forget to check their home insurance cover, but doing so is vital. If your policy isn’t up to date or if it doesn't provide sufficient coverage, you could lose the ability to make a claim, should an incident occur.
So if you’re getting ready to move in with your partner, take the time to understand the ins and outs of home insurance cover.
Do you need home and contents insurance together?
The first step in identifying your ideal insurance policy is to confirm the specifics of the property. The best insurance policy will largely depend on whether the couple — or at least one of its members — will be living in the residence as owner-occupiers, or as renters.
If it’s the former, then taking out home and contents insurance is generally the right move. This type of policy generally covers two aspects of the property: the property itself and the contents inside it, such as the TV and fridge.
If it’s the latter, you may only need to take out home insurance, leaving it up to the tenant to decide whether or not to insure their contents (unless such insurance is required by the lease).
The contents-only option
If you’re moving in together as a couple and neither of you are an owner-occupier, consider an insurance policy that covers contents only. Generally speaking, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to take out the corresponding home insurance policy.
Also, although it’s commonly known as a ‘contents’ insurance policy, any new couple moving in together should understand that such a policy is likely to offer additional benefits beyond insuring against common incidents of loss or damage to contents inside the home.
As an example, a contents insurance policy can also offer protection against incidents of theft or loss of goods while moving to the property. The policy may also cover legal liability for up to $20 million in the event of an incident where the policyholder is found liable due to an accident that results in bodily injury, death, or damage to someone else’s property.
Check the existing policies you both hold
When going through the moving process, it’s also important to keep in mind that two policies for home and contents insurance may be active if you’ve each held such policies in the past. If that’s the case, it may be necessary to let one run out and not renew it , or to cancel one of the policies outright.
On the other hand, the existing policy that remains will need to be updated to reflect both the change in living situation and any new items that may now be associated with the residence. If both partners are moving to a new residence, then considerations around the change in address (and potentially type of residence) should factor into the decision as well.
If an incident occurs and the previous policy hasn’t been updated to reflect the current value of contents contained inside the home, then the policy may not be able to provide coverage (in part or in full) to address the loss.
When moving belongings to a new space and updating an existing policy, always be specific about the items you have. For example, if you've insured your basic TV, but your partner brings a much more expensive one, make sure you request a higher level of cover.
That said, you’re also likely to save money when consolidating certain belongings. If each partner had separate beds, home entertainment tech, or other goods when living apart, you'll now only need to cover one of everything and split the cost.
Consider contents elsewhere on the property
Next up, consider the contents you may have stored outside your home, but that are still on the property.
Consider the overall sum you need to have insured. At Youi, for instance, the most we’ll pay for each claim is 10% of your contents sum insured, up to a limit of $20,000 after excess. This encompasses loss or damage caused by an insured event to contents located:
- Outside your private domestic residence but at the premises, or
- Inside unlocked structures at premises other than your private domestic residence.
As an example, imagine you have a shed, a garage, or a similar construction where you store landscaping or maintenance items. If both your house and garage are destroyed, the overall sum you insured needs to cover losses suffered to goods in both locations to be covered.
Update the policy early and often
Communication can be a challenge in any relationship, but it may be especially difficult when moving in together for the first time. Moving is stressful, as is adjusting to the new lifestyle shared with your partner. In this environment, it's easy for couples to forget to discuss things, or to presume the other partner has taken care of it.
But when it comes to insurance, it’s critical to make time for a conversation about ongoing updates and reviews of the policy. Some couples find it’s ideal to have one partner take on the task of managing the policy and keeping it up to date. That way, it’s easy to avoid the confusion that can arise when both partners are involved in managing the policy updates.
However, others find it better to have both partners play a role. Although this arrangement isn’t as straightforward as simply having one person manage it, a second set of eyes can help ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
Making the move
Moving in with a partner can quickly pile up tasks on the to-do list. It’s understandable that you may overlook the finer details of ensuring your insurance policy is kept up to date — but it’s essential this task gets done too.
Disaster can strike at any time. Nobody expects a fire or other incident to occur in their home, but the results can be devastating. That's why it's crucial that every couple makes sure they've got the right amount of home and contents cover in place to meet their needs.
Start this process early, so that coverage can be in place as soon as the moving process officially begins. More than 40 per cent of us change address every five years. Whether or not you continue to cohabitate with your partner, make sure the attention you pay to your insurance policies is a constant.
Contact Youi for a contents quote that ensures you and your partner are protected.