Last updated 31 May 2016

It is important for people to inform themselves and think carefully about what risks they are exposed to in business and in their personal lives, the likelihood of each risk occurring, the range of potential consequences should the risk occur, their capacity to bear an uninsured loss or liability, and the adequacy and cost of insurance products available to them on the market. One option for a person who wants to seek new insurance or renew their insurance is to consult a broker (or licensee), who may have experience and knowledge about a particular class of risk (e.g. agricultural, construction, marine, professional liability, director’s and officer’s liability, cyber risks). An experienced broker should be aware of different insurance products available domestically or overseas, the relative benefits and cost of different policies, and the claims management practices of different insurers.

Personal insurance

Personal insurance may cover property (and/or related liability) of:

  • motor vehicle
  • home building or contents
  • pleasure craft (e.g. boats)
  • travel
  • accident and sickness.

Liability for personal injuries caused by car accidents in Queensland is insured and paid for at the same time as vehicle registration. It is known as Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance (see chapter on Accidents and Injury).

Home building and/or contents insurance policies will usually include cover for liability as homeowner or occupant (e.g. covering a visitor who falls down the stairs). For convenience, many homeowners insure both building and contents together. Accidental damage to valuables is often available for an extra premium.

Personal accident or sickness insurance can be purchased to protect a person’s income stream should they be unable to work.

Life insurance, which is not within the scope of this chapter, encompasses several types of risk insurances for example term life, trauma (critical accident or illness) and income protection (salary continuance). A Total and Permanent Disability insurance policy is sometimes packaged with and funded through a superannuation account.

If a householder employs workers in and around the home and garden, or for child care, it is compulsory to take out workers’ compensation insurance. Household worker insurance is available through WorkCover Queensland at a low cost.

Small business insurance

Small business insurance may cover:

  • industrial special risk comprehensive cover
  • business package components, including fire and allied perils, business interruption, theft, money, plate glass, engineering, accidental damage for valuables, goods in transit and/or fidelity guarantee
  • construction and erection
  • business motor vehicle or fleet
  • various liabilities, including public, product, professional indemnity, company director or officer, statutory liability and/or management liability
  • personal accident or illness.

It is often better for a business to obtain independent financial advice from a broker before arranging insurance. Legal advice regarding obligations to insure and/or risk transfer provisions in contracts with associates may also be prudent.

Employers of workers in Queensland are required to take out accident insurance to cover the employer’s potential liability to pay compensation or damages to any employed worker who suffers injury in the course of their employment. Legal advice should be obtained about what insurance should be taken out if the business employs workers who usually work in more than one state or territory of Australia. The insurance premium paid to the workers’ compensation insurer in Queensland represents a proportion of the employer’s payroll and is affected by industry and claims experience.

For professionals requiring professional indemnity insurance, information about suitable insurers can sometimes be obtained through professional or industry associations. Recently retired professionals may need to arrange ‘run off’ professional indemnity insurance for some years after they ceased providing professional services to clients.