Home building compensation (HBC) cover (formerly known as home warranty insurance), helps to protect home owners if their builder:

  • is unable to complete building work or fix defects because of insolvency, licence suspension, death, or disappearance 
  • cannot honour their warranty obligations.


You must have home building compensation (HBC) cover before you can contract to work on certain residential building jobs.

To be eligible to apply for HBC cover you'll need:

Use the HBC Assist tool to check if a job needs HBC cover. 

You must hold HBC cover of at least $340,000 before you start any work or take any money (including a deposit) for any residential home or renovation project where the:

  • work is contracted with a home owner, owner-builder or developer
  • contract price or market cost of labour and materials is over $20,000, including GST
  • project is not exempt from insurance.

Note: You do not need HBC cover if you subcontract the work from another licensed contractor.

Projects that typically require HBC cover include:

  • alterations or renovations of residential buildings of any height
  • construction of a: 
    • house
    • duplex or triplex
    • low-rise residential multi-unit building (up to 3 storeys high)
    • structure associated with a home, such as a backyard swimming pool, spa, garage or outbuilding.

You must:

  • take out HBC cover for each job that meets the requirements
  • provide the certificate of insurance to the home owner before you take a deposit or start work.

It is an offence under NSW law to not do this.

How to apply for HBC cover

To apply for HBC cover you’ll need to:

  1. Find an insurance broker distributor from icare HBCF’s list.
  2. Get a certificate of eligibility from your broker distributor.
  3. Submit your application for HBC cover through your broker distributor.

More information

Check if a job is covered

Jobs that have HBC cover are listed on the free public register HBC check. Anyone can use HBC check to confirm that a builder or tradesperson has valid cover for the residential work they're doing in NSW.

Making a HBC cover claim

A home owner can make a claim on your HBC cover if you're unable to complete building work or honour your warranty obligations, because:

  • you've had your licence suspended for failing to comply with a court or tribunal order to compensate them, or
  • you become insolvent, die or disappear.

The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) regulates the HBC scheme, and icare HBCF is the only insurance provider that offers HBC cover.

Last updated: 23 May 2024

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