Home insurance supplementary costs

More than meets the eye

Rebuilding a home after it has been damaged or destroyed can be a logistical and financial nightmare. There are many additional (or 'supplementary') costs you may not have thought of that need to be paid for, as part of the rebuild.

Learn more about these costs and how to work out if they are covered by your insurance policy.

What are supplementary costs?

Smart tip

Information about supplementary costs is often included under the heading 'Additional features', 'Additional benefits' or 'Other costs we will pay'.

Supplementary costs are extra expenses you have to pay if you need to rebuild your home. They are things you may not always immediately think of when working out what kind of home building insurance you need, including:

  • Alternative accommodation while your house is rebuilt
  • Removal of debris from the site
  • Architects or other professionals to draw up plans
  • Services to make your property safe for workers
  • Lodging plans with your local council
  • Gardening or landscaping costs

What supplementary costs does your policy cover?

Get your policy document and look in the section that describes when the insurer will pay claims for damages.

After you've found the right section of the policy, see how your insurer covers each cost. Insurers have three main ways to describe what they will pay.

The following table shows the three ways, using architects' fees as an example:

Architects' fees in your policy

What the policy says
'We will pay architect fees...'

What this means
'...up to a maximum of 10% of the sum insured' This cost is not included in the sum insured and the amount the insurer pays out is limited.
'...from the sum insured and will not pay more than the sum insured' This cost is included in the sum insured; when you are calculating the sum insured, you need to make an allowance for this cost.
'...up to a maximum of 10% of the sum insured unless the sum insured is not used up or exhausted' The insurer will pay a maximum of 10% of the sum insured, but this amount can be increased if the sum insured is not used up when paying for other things.

When checking what supplementary costs are covered in your policy, ask:

  • Are supplementary costs included in the sum insured?
  • What is the limit or cap on these costs?
  • If they are not covered, how will you cover the cost yourself?

Work out what supplementary costs you would have to pay if you needed to rebuild your home. Then see if you have enough home building insurance to cover those costs.

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Last updated: 07 Jan 2016