Home warranty insurance

Home warranty insurance explained

Most residential building work done in Queensland valued over $3,300 (including labour and materials) must have home warranty insurance.

As part of the building process, the builder pays a premium to us to insure the construction. The amount is included as part of your contract, and is paid before work begins.

It may protect you where:

  • a licensed builder does not complete the contracted residential construction work and you have terminated the contract
  • the contractor fails to rectify defective work
  • the building suffers from subsidence or settlement.

If we pay out on a claim, we pursue the builder to recover the claim amount.

Assistance under Queensland Home Warranty Scheme

Should your complaint involve residential construction work and is not able to be satisfactorily resolved through QBCC’s dispute resolution process, your application will be assessed as to whether you may be eligible for assistance under the Queensland Home Warranty Scheme. You are not required to lodge a separate form for this to occur. 

Please note the following strict time limits apply for some claims:

  • For structural defects you must lodge a complaint form within 3 months of noticing the defect
  • For non-structural defects you must lodge this complaint form within 7 months of the completion date

Which cover is applicable?

Types of work we insure

  • construction of a new home, related roofed building (e.g a garage), townhouse or multiple unit dwelling (no more than 3 storeys)
  • the extension, addition, alteration, renovation or repair of any of the above buildings
  • replacement or refit of fixtures or fittings in a kitchen or bathroom
  • work on a deck or verandah, attached to a residence
  • building work that affects the structural integrity of the building.
  • From 28 October 2016, in addition to the above, the following work is also covered:
    • work on or in the home or related roofed building (e.g. painting)
    • work on a deck or verandah attached to a home or a related roofed building
    • anything attached to the home or related roofed building and which requires building or plumbing approval
    • any structure attached to the external part of a home or related roofed building which has no other supporting structure (e.g. awning, handrail)
    • stairs or ramp which provide access, and are permanently attached to the home or related roofed building
    • swimming pools

The examples below do not require insurance if done on their own:

  • driveways, paths or roads
  • fences.

Make sure you have a contract.

It’s important to have a signed contract with your builder. Apart from being a legal requirement, it ensures that you have access to the full range of benefits under the Queensland Home Warranty Scheme.

Get a fixed price for the work so you can ensure the project does not exceed your budget. Having a fixed-price contract also provides peace of mind so that if something goes wrong and your builder does not finish the job, you can make a claim for completion of the work. If a builder defaults on an obligation to finish a fixed price contract, you may be entitled to compensation for the extra cost to complete the work, above the fixed cost.

Avoid cost-plus contracts and construction management contracts which can lead to cost blow-outs if not managed properly. These contracts will not entitle you to a claim if the works are left incomplete because there is no fixed cost for the work and you pay as you go, so if managed properly you should not suffer a loss in the event the work is not completed.

Multiple dwellings or one or more contracts to build three or more living units

The Queensland Home Warranty Scheme assists homeowners, not those involved in commercial ventures.  No assistance is provided to a person who enters into one or more contracts, in force at the same time, to construct three or more dwellings or living units.  Assistance is available to a subsequent purchaser of a dwelling or unit.

How long does a home warranty insurance policy last?

The work is covered for a period of 6 years 6 months from the date (whichever is earlier):

  • the premium is paid
  • a contract is entered, or
  • work is commenced

The period of cover is extended where the work takes longer than 6 months to complete. 

Checking for insurance cover

If you have signed a contract for residential construction work, we send you a notice of cover, which provides details of the work, the builder and the premium paid. You should get this before the work begins.

To check, contact us with the property details (e.g. address, lot and plan number).

Note: If you are a subsequent owner of the property, you can search to see if the property has cover under the Queensland Home Warranty Scheme. The search can be done online by registering with myQBCC or you can complete the Insurance Search Request form (PDF).