What is Domestic Building Insurance?

Builders in Victoria are required by law to take out Domestic Building Insurance (DBI), also known as Builder’s Warranty Insurance, for work valued at $16,000 or more1. Builders must have a Domestic Building Insurance Certificate before they start work or ask for a deposit or any other payment. Having Domestic Building Insurance eligibility is a requirement for maintaining a Victorian building registration.

Key Highlights

Domestic Building Insurance protects homeowners in Victoria from financial loss as a result of incomplete or unsatisfactory work carried out by a builder or tradesperson who has died, disappeared or become insolvent. Subsequent owners are also protected during the period of cover.

  • DBI is required by law so that registered builders can maintain their Victorian domestic building licence
  • Builders need to make provision in the contract price for the cost of the insurance policy
  • DBI provides confirmation that a business has been assessed by the insurer (VMIA) and has satisfied all financial, management and technical criteria
 
Resources & Quicklinks
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We have created a library of Home Warranty Insurance forms from all states that we provide warranty insurance services for. 

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Why do I need Domestic Building Insurance?

Domestic Building Insurance eligibility is a requirement under Victorian law to operate a building business. It provides confirmation that builders have been assessed by the insurer, the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA), and have satisfied the necessary criteria.

DBI protects the homeowner

Domestic Building Insurance protects homeowners against financial loss if a builder cannot complete residential building work or meet a valid claim for faulty or defective work in cases where:

  • the builder is an individual and the builder dies, disappears or becomes insolvent
  • the builder is an organisation and that organisation ceases to exist or becomes insolvent
  • for policies issued on or after 1 July 2015, the builder has failed to comply with a Tribunal or Court Order
DBI is necessary for maintaining your builder's registration

Any licenced building contractor who undertakes residential building work valued at $16,000 or more is required to take out Domestic Building Insurance in the name of the owner before commencing work or accepting payment.

Any builder who does not take out Domestic Building Insurance as required can be prosecuted by the relevant statutory authority, fined and may risk losing their builder's registration.

Applying for DBI using the BuildVIC portal

Builders can access the BuildVic Domestic Building Insurance Portal, which allows them to purchase Domestic Building Insurance directly via their computer or mobile device. It also enables builders to:

  • view Certificates of Insurance
  • access a letter of eligibility
  • check current job limits and premium rates.

Note that you need to have first nominated a DBI Distributor before you can access the portal. If you are a new builder wanting to apply for eligibility, contact a DBI Distributor directly. Or if you are a builder with current eligibility, contact the new DBI Distributor who will provide you with the information you require.

Visit the VMIA BuildVic portal to purchase Domestic Building Insurance directly.

To help our clients navigate the BuildVIC portal, we have created the educational video below:

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What is covered under Domestic Builders Insurance?

Maximum contract value

Domestic Building Insurance in Victoria is intended to cover the cost to complete residential building work, limited to 20 per cent of the building contract price up to a maximum of $200,000 for policies issued before 1 July 2014 and $300,000 for policies issued on or after 1 July 2014.

Structural vs non-structural defects

The policy covers major or structural defects in the residential building work for six years from the date of completion in cases where the builder or tradesperson has died, disappeared or become insolvent. Non-structural building defects are covered up to two years after the completion of work in cases where the builder or tradesperson has died, disappeared or become insolvent.

Why HIA Insurance Services?

HIA Insurance Services (HIAIS) combines the construction industry expertise of the Housing Industry Association (HIA) with the risk and insurance knowledge of Aon to provide products and advice that are specific to the residential construction industry.

We understand the unique risk exposures of builders, tradies and subcontractors in Victoria. We’re one of the largest and most experienced insurance providers in the country, which means we can offer our customers cost-effective policies tailored for risks commonly found in the construction sector, as well as speedy claims processes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Domestic Building Insurance is a legislative requirement for all registered domestic builders in Victoria to maintain a builder’s licence.

Contact an HIA Insurance Services expert so they can guide you through the process of completing an application and providing the necessary supporting documentation.

You can access the BuildVic portal and download a copy at any time.

Our team of specialist brokers are available to take your call from 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday. You can call us on 1800 762 878 or email au.hiais@aon.com

1As at 1 June 2021.
2Subject to the policy terms and conditions.

Domestic Building Insurance for the Building and Construction Industry in Victoria is issued by the VMIA, on behalf of the Government of Victoria. If you purchase this insurance through HIAIS, HIAIS will receive a commission that is a percentage of the premium. Further information can be found in HIAIS’ FSG or provided upon request.