Property at buyer’s risk
In most cases, the Contract you sign when purchasing a residential property will provide that the property is at your risk from 5pm on the next business day following the contract date.
This means you should arrange for insurance immediately after you sign a contract. You cannot rely on the seller’s insurance. If you have a lender, they may require that their interest in the property be noted on your insurance policy.
Normally, if the house burns down between entering the contract and settlement (while the conveyancing is taking place), the buyer still has to settle and then rely on the insurance to rebuild.
If you are in a body corporate
In Queensland, the Body Corporate & Community Management Act 1997 (Qld) obliges body corporates to hold insurance for the full replacement value of the common property and all body corporate assets (buildings). You will contribute to the cost of this insurance through your body corporate levies.
It is important that, as a member of the body corporate, you are certain that the body corporate insurance is of a sufficient amount to rebuild all the units in the complex if they were to be destroyed.
You should be aware that the body corporate insurance often does not cover internal items such as kitchen cupboards, shower screens carpet and window coverings. You will need to take out your own insurance to cover these items in addition to your normal home contents insurance. When buying this should be done as soon as the contract is signed.
Further, the public liability insurance held by the body corporate does not cover accidents which may occur within your lot. You should make sure that your insurance policy includes public liability insurance for all areas on your lot not covered by the body corporate insurance. Again, when buying this should be done as soon as the contract is signed.