CHOICE membership

Fire definitions in home and contents insurance policies

Our experts took a deep dive in to 26 major home and contents policies to look at how they defined ‘fire’ and what would be covered. We found that 70% of these policies have confusing, unfair or unclear definitions of fire.

Currently there is no standard definition of fire, leaving policyholders vulnerable to claim rejections.

Head to the article below for CHOICE’s full analysis of terms and conditions: the good, the bad and the borderline.

Sign the petition at the end of the article for a standard definition for all natural disasters.


Signed it when the Choice email arrived this morning.


Timely @jhook.

Our policy is due for renewal at the end of Feb and we have a fire hazard overlay on the property. I wonder how that might work out given the wisdom of Choice’s comments on Suncorp Insurance PDS.


A bit tounge in cheek: but soon the growing fire hazard overlays will overlap the growing flood overlays.


:rofl: Good humour welcome.

But if I were to suggest that 50% of our mapped fire hazard overlay is also subject to a flood hazard overlay!

Keep laughing.

Melaleuca Forests (Paper Barks etc) love growing in areas that are periodically inundated. The more variable our weather patterns and the longer the hot dry spells the greater the exposure and risk.

Some interesting reading specific to Qld. There are similar assessments around for other states. Plenty of science and first hand experience to relate. Something not valued enough these days?


‘?’ -> ‘.’

We know that based on governmental policies and responses. The former is marginalised and the latter treated as if they have the keys to the universe, even if they were not personally involved or affected (eg every person, crackpot or expert has an equal right to their soapbox as was so eloquently reinforced not so long ago).


Great to see Choice has had a win with this as per the email from Patrick Veyret this morning.



CHOICE CEO @AlanKirkland on why the government must intervene on bushfire definitions in home and contents insurance:


I received this email from Choice today.


People power works! Last week, CHOICE supporters called on Budget Direct, ING and Virgin Money to fix their confusing fire cover. Thanks to you and thousands of others who made their voices heard, the underwriter of all of these brands (Auto and General) has agreed to make their fire cover fairer across all of their policies. This change is effective immediately.

This means that all nine insurance companies CHOICE experts exposed as having bad fire definitions during the Black Summer bushfires have made their fire cover fairer. Now, it will be harder for insurers to rely on restrictive, confusing clauses to deny claims for bushfire damage.

For more about this victory, check out our updated article:

XXXX, thank you again for adding your name to this campaign. Of course, there is still more to do to make insurance fairer for consumers, especially as climate events become more frequent and more severe. Together, we’ll keep up the fight. For now though, take a bow. You’ve earned it!

Thank you for your support,

Dean Price


Just read the article with updated analysis of insurance for bushfires. I am intrigued by the good rating for policies that have the requirement for fires to be within 100 meters of a property. This doesn’t seem realistic given wind can carry burning embers from a firefront many kilometres away, and they can burn your house down - and a 100 meter rule would mean no insurance coverage. Have I missed something?


Welcome @CAS

I have moved your post into the fire definition topic about home and contents insurance. Hopefully your question will evoke some good answers.

1 Like

Previously A&G along with other insurers were refusing claims where the damage to a property was indirect, rather than due to the property burning. A home can be severely damaged due to radiant heat that blisters paint, smoke affected or covered in ash/soot. There is a discussion of these issues further into the linked Choice article.

It’s what this statement sets out to remedy.

“As part of our normal product update process, Auto & General will extend our home and contents insurance to cover damage from heat, ash, smoke or soot that is a result of a fire within 100 metres of the insured address,” says A&G director Jonathan Kerr.

Most states now have environmental and fire hazard mapping. If a property falls within a mapped fire hazard zone insurance cover may be an issue. Especially where the house predates the current BAL fire risk rating standards. Not all older houses can be economically upgraded to comply. Unfortunately government building approvals have allowed construction on sites exposed to fire hazards.