Photo by : Kilian Seiler
Photo by : Kilian Seiler
June 29, 2021

In Singapore, many are under the impression that the fire insurance in place for their homes is enough coverage in case of any incidents. In light of World Insurance Day, we take the chance to find out if additional home insurance is really essential.

Featured in 
Guide
 by 
Wendy Ker

Oftentimes, many tend to avoid insurance talks at all costs due to the many misconceptions they have. In line with World Insurance Day today, we would like to take the chance to discuss more about home insurance in Singapore.

By law, basic fire insurance is mandatory for all HDBs, whilst condominiums are generally under their building’s MC’s (management corporation) coverage and landed property owners are directly responsible for insuring their homes.

However, do you know that fire insurance only covers the original structures of your homes and not your personal effects?

We got in touch with Senior Financial Services Manager Tan Chek Meng to find out in detail if home insurance is really necessary, and how home insurance in Singapore can benefit you and your family.

Is there a difference between fire insurance and home insurance?

Comparison of Home Insurance
Comparison of Fire and Home Insurance Coverage

Generally, the mandatory HDB fire insurance is a basic insurance that covers the costs in restoring your home to its original condition, which does NOT include any renovation work that was done nor any contents of your home.

This means that in the event of an incident, the insurance ONLY protects the structural integrity of your home, namely core structures like your floors, walls, or any pillars that were initially already provided.

On the other hand, home insurance covers a wider range of damage, taking care to include those that were not covered under your typical fire insurance.

Other than allowing you to make claims for damages incurred to home furnishings, personal belongings, family members; it can also cover burst water pipes and break ins (depending on policy).

Some of the more extensive policies can even cover your pets!

Is home insurance necessary?

You may be tempted to think that the chances of something bad happening is very low - and whilst that may be true, you must also remember it doesn’t mean it is a 0% chance.

With PABs (power assisted bicycle)-related fires doubling in 2020 and PMDs (personal mobility device)-related fires still being a risk, it is especially important now to get your home protected.

Even if you do not have any of those devices, you never know if your neighbors have them. Fire and water damages are some of the incidents that can be caused by neighboring units and affect your home.

Chek Meng also mentioned that there were misconceptions of what happens when natural disasters or ‘Act of God’ situations occur.

Floods, earthquakes and lightning strikes are actually covered under home insurance. However, homeowners/policyholders must also be aware that there are coverage limits to the policies they purchased.

If you are living on the higher floors in HDBs or condominiums, flooding might not be an immediate concern to you. Landed property owners on the other hand are much more vulnerable in the event of flooding, and thus should ensure that they are sufficiently covered for such possible damages.


How much does home insurance cost?

Ultimately, it depends on the coverage you are looking for and what your needs are. Home insurance in Singapore generally ranges from S$50-S$200 over dollars.


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Are we able to tailor the insurance according to our needs? How?

As mentioned above, home insurance can help fill the gaps a typical fire insurance leaves. Some homeowners may deem some coverage more important than others, thus placing more emphasis on certain perils.

For instance, if you keep many valuables at home, you would definitely want to make sure your personal effects are well insured.

By seeking assistance from a Home Insurance Specialist, you can be sure to be covered for what’s most important to you.

What does insured peril and all risk mean?

Insured peril covers only what is distinctly listed in the policy. A simple example would be if your policy does not state that you are covered for loss of personal effects, it means you aren’t.

Due to its nature, this policy is less expensive as you will be responsible for proving that one of the insured peril was what caused the loss.

Conversely, in an all risk policy, you are covered for everything except those that were explicitly excluded.

All risk coverage is a much more comprehensive coverage, and it usually costs more as your insurer is now responsible for proving that the peril was not excluded, or it will be covered.

As a landlord/tenant, do I need home insurance as well?

Most definitely. This is important especially for landlords as it helps protect their property in the event of any loss or accidental damages.

On an additional note, landlords can also protect themselves for personal liability should their tenants decide to sue them for injuries sustained within the premises of the property.

For tenants, many would assume that the pre-existing insurance their landlord has would be enough to cover their losses.

However, your landlord’s insurance typically only covers and protects their own personal effects and property. This means that whatever you have brought into your rental home will be your sole responsibility.

You should also be prepared for situations where you will be required to compensate for any damages to the property during your tenancy period. Taking into account all of these considerations, you are able to look for the most suitable insurance that can limit your losses the most.

How do I choose between different home insurance in the market?

Most people tend to compare different home insurance based on pricing as compared to the coverage amount.

Though price tags are definitely relevant, do speak to a home insurance specialist as they are able to better advise you based on your individual needs.

Different households have different aspects of risks they face, and they might also have different valuable items that might need a higher level of coverage as compared to other households.

When in doubt, it is always recommended for you to speak with an expert to better analyze your situation and advise you accordingly.

It is also advisable for you to be covered under home insurance the moment you move in, as we can never anticipate when an unfortunate event might occur.

***

With the myriad of options available in the market now, the process of picking the right cover can be extremely daunting. Though it isn’t compulsory, when incidents happen, the right home insurance can help save your life (or pockets!).

As our home is our biggest asset, it only makes sense that we take every viable option to help protect it.

Is your home currently protected by home insurance? If it is not and you are not sure who to speak to in order to find out more about what kind of coverage is sufficient for your home, feel free to reach out to us.

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