Imagine coming home after a hard day at work only to find your home flooded after the pipes burst, with water soaking into everything you own.
Nightmare scenario, right? But there are ways to make sure an unexpected disaster doesn’t put you in unnecessary financial stress.
In this article, we’ll break down the types of insurance that offer some protection against fire, floods, and other sudden events.
Think it won’t happen to you? In 2019, the Singapore Civil Defence Force responded to 2,862 fire calls, of which about 41% were residential. Common causes include personal mobility devices, unattended cooking, electrical fires from faulty wiring, joss sticks, candles or lit cigarette butts.
Take it from me. This was the scene I came home to in February 2020. Before I could even step into my flat, I noticed water in the common corridor. A neighbour explained the situation to me, and what they did to prevent more water from flowing out of my home.
All about home insurance
What it covers
|Scenarios it covers|
|Insured perils||All risks|
|Basic fire insurance||The building and wall structures or pillars provided by HDB or an approved developer||Fire only||N/A|
|Home contents insurance||Renovation costs, fixtures and fittings, and items you own, such as your TV and sofa||Fire only||Covers any scenario, apart from exclusions indicated in policy terms|
|Comprehensive home insurance||Covers both building and wall structures, and renovation costs, fixtures and fittings, and items you own||Specific events such as fire, flood, and theft||Covers any scenario, apart from exclusions indicated in policy terms|
Three types of policies provide different levels of protection for your home.
- Fire insurance covers the structural integrity of a flat, such as the core structure — floors, walls, and pillars — provided by the HDB or its approved developer. It won’t cover the cost of your renovations or the items you own, from your TV and sofa to laptops and household appliances.
- Home contents insurance covers renovation costs, fittings, fixtures and what you have at home.
- Comprehensive home insurance, as the name suggests, comprises what both fire insurance and home contents insurance cover.
You also have to consider the situations that each plan will cover. There are two main categories:
This type of insurance covers only specific situations such as fire and flooding. The wording of the policy will tell you which ones.
This type covers all kinds of sudden and unexpected events or disasters including the insured perils. Premiums tend to be higher.
What else should I look for in home insurance?
- Fixtures, fittings and renovations
This benefit refers to protection for items such as built-in wardrobes, kitchen cabinets, feature walls, parquet flooring and other things you’ve had installed.
This refers to items such as appliances, furniture and valuables — but there is a claim limit on expensive pieces.
- Worldwide personal liability
This is protection for you and your family if there is accidental damage, injury or death caused to third parties. One example: a fire starts in your home and causes damage to your neighbours’ homes.
- 24-hour emergency home assistance
This refers to having an emergency hotline available to help you if something unexpected happens at home that could pose a health risk to your family. One example: if emergency repairs are needed due to electrical issues.
Different insurance companies also offer a range of other benefits — protection against theft, fixed glass breaking accidentally, debris removal, home quarantine allowance and the cost of temporary accommodation, to name a few.
What if I’m renting a home, or renting one out?
It’s sensible for both landlords and tenants to consider covering themselves with home insurance.
If you’re renting a property out, you can get coverage for loss of rental income. Home insurance should be an essential component in your rental arrangement.
As a tenant, even though you don’t own the home, purchasing home insurance makes sure the precious things you own are covered, and you’re not left at the mercy of your landlord, who may or may not have home coverage.
Is home insurance expensive?
It depends on the size of your home, and how much coverage you want. As we outlined above, different policies offer varying levels of protection, so it’s up to you to see what you’re comfortable with.
Premiums can vary from under S$100 to S$1,000 a year. It’s important, however, that you don’t under-insure.
Here are some other good practices:
- Each person has different needs, so get the right type of coverage for you
- Keep your home well-maintained
- Scan your receipts for home renovations, appliances, furniture and valuables and keep them in cloud storage, in case you ever need them for claims
- Get a fire-proof safe for your valuables
- If something untoward happens, take photos of any damage, make a police report if theft is involved, and inform your insurance company or financial consultant as soon as possible
Homeowners in Singapore often spend a lot of money to make their homes beautiful and keep them well-furnished. Our homes are our pride and joy. So it’s important to spend a fraction of that money as an investment to keep our homes and what we put in them protected.