Domestic Building Insurance FAQs

  • What is domestic building insurance (DBI)?
    Domestic Building Insurance (DBI) provides some protection to homeowners in the event that their building project cannot be completed or has defective works which cannot be rectified as their builder has:
    • died, disappeared or become insolvent; or
    • failed to comply with a Tribunal or Court Order where DBI was issued by VMIA on or after 1 July 2015.
  • What does DBI cover?
    DBI usually covers incomplete or defective building work, up to amounts set out in the policy. It can also cover the costs of some expenses incurred by the homeowner, such as loss of deposit, accommodation and storage costs. View the policies here
  • What period does the DBI policy cover?
    The policy starts on the date of the building contract or building permit, whichever is earlier. It covers:
    • non-structural defects for two years after completion or termination of the building contract; and
    • structural defects for six years from the date of completion or termination of the building contact.
    Refer to ‘What's covered?’ for more information.
  • As the homeowner, do I need to arrange DBI before I build?
    No, your builder is required to purchase DBI on your behalf for domestic building works valued at $16,000 or more.
  • My builder says he/she is ‘covered’ and ‘has insurance’. Can I assume my building project has DBI cover?

    Check that he/she is referring to DBI, as builders can take out a range of different insurance, such as public liability, contract works insurance etc.

    To take out DBI, your builder must first be ‘eligible’ for the insurance. You can check the eligibility status of your builder here.

    Eligible builders must then apply for an insurance policy to cover each individual building project. A Domestic Building Insurance Certificate will be issued, and a copy must be given to you.

  • How can I check if my builder has taken out DBI for my building project?
    Ask your builder for a copy of the DBI Certificate if they have not already provided a copy to you.

    You can also complete an online request to find out if a DBI policy has been issued since 1 July 2015 on your property.
  • My building project was commenced prior to 1 July 2015, how can I check if my builder has taken out DBI for my building project?
    You can:
    • contact the builder who carried out the works and request a copy of the DBI Certificate of Insurance;
    • request details of any DBI policy from the previous owner (if the works were done prior to you purchasing the property); and/or
    • contact your local council or the building surveyor who issued the permit for the work and find out if there was a DBI policy issued.
  • Is VMIA the insurer for all homes and building projects?

    No. VMIA is unlikely to be the insurer for building projects commenced prior to 31 May 2010. Domestic Building Insurance is usually taken out before or around the time the domestic building contract is signed, and VMIA did not provide DBI before 31 May 2010.

  • Will DBI provide any protection if my builder is still around but the work is defective or incomplete?

    Cover will only be provided under your DBI policy, if your builder has died, disappeared or become insolvent (or in some circumstances if your Certificate of Insurance was issued after 1 July 2015 and the builder has failed to comply with a VCAT or court order). These are known as "policy triggers".

    For disputes involving your builder, you can contact the Building Information Line on 1300 55 75 59 between 9.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays), for free building information and advice. You can also access helpful information on resolving building disputes on Consumer Affairs Victoria's Building disputes, defects and delays page.

  • I’ve received my Certificate of Insurance, but the details are wrong. Who do I contact?

    It is very important that the details about the name of your builder, the price of your building contract and your property address on your Certificate of Insurance EXACTLY match the details on your building contract. If you notice an error please contact VMIA.