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Home insurance 101: Protect your home and belongings in Singapore

Home insurance 101: Protect your home and belongings in Singapore
PHOTO: Unsplash

You must be thinking: “I need home insurance meh? My HDB already got insurance what!” Well you’re not wrong, HDBs are covered by the mandatory HDB Fire Insurance scheme, but did you know that it doesn’t cover everything?

The HDB Fire Insurance scheme only covers the building structure in the unlikely event of a fire, to restore the building’s physical structures and fixtures to its original condition. What about your expensive reno, the furniture, or *gasp* your Pokémon card collection?

Liddat then, what is home insurance?

Home insurance goes beyond the fire coverage, and also covers stuff like reno, things inside the house, and other unexpected events like a robbery or flood. Touch wood if something actually happens, at least you will get paid to fix the renovations you forked out your life savings for or replace your personal belongings.

What can you claim under home insurance?

Burst pipes? No worries. Break-ins? Covered. You can even get cash to replace your beloved Pokémon cards if they go missing. And if your home is uninhabitable during repairs, don’t worry about being homeless – your insurer will fix you up in a hotel while your home undergoes restoration.

But hold up, it’s not bao ka liao ok. There are some limits and exclusions on what you can claim. Don’t even think about trying to get money for damages you made during your own renovations or if your little brother decided to wreck your room on purpose. And sorry, general wear and tear is on you.

How to choose the best home insurance?

You want to make sure you’re covered for the right amount - not too much, not too little.

Think of your home insurance coverage like a suit of armour for your home. You want it to be just the right size. If it’s too much, it’ll be like wearing the Hulk’s armour when you’re Spider-Man. You’ll end up paying for extra coverage you don’t need. For example, even if you’re covered for $600,000, you’ll only be paid $400,000 if that is the cost of restoring your home and belongings.

But if it’s too little, it’ll be like wearing Ant-Man’s armour when you’re really the Hulk. You won’t be fully protected should disaster strike. So make sure your coverage fits your home just right, like a custom-made superhero suit. For further details, google “Average Clause”.

Know what types of coverage are available in Singapore

There are several types of home insurance coverage that pay out different amounts based on the following:

Building Coverage: The most basic of ’em all - this insures your HDB flat and all the basic fixtures and fittings that come with it, as defined by HDB. But any fancy interior decorations, household furniture, and other stuff that you or the previous owner(s) added will not be covered.

Max. Household Contents Cover: This covers your personal belongings such as furniture, electronics, appliances, and even that expensive Louis Vuitton collection. If you have things that are valuable or worth a lot of money, consider going for this. It might mean cutting back on one cup of Starbucks a week, but hey, you can’t put a price tag on peace of mind.

Other extensions to your home insurance policy

Landlord insurance: Useful to have if you’re renting out your place as it covers against loss of rental income from your house being unliveable, or in some cases, even default on rent by your tenant!

Personal Liability: Suay suay a loose shelf falls on your friend’s kid and now you’re being sued. This covers you for any legal actions taken against you arising from accidental injury or accidental property damage sustained by a third party in your home.

Assessing the value of your belongings

Before you sign on the dotted line, check to see if the insurance coverage covers the value of your belongings. Many policies have limits on the amount of compensation they offer, so you need to ensure that you have enough coverage for all your belongings. Take inventory of your belongings and estimate their value, so that you can select a policy that covers the appropriate amount.

Comparing policies and prices

Home insurance is not one-size-fits-all, and it’s important to take the time to read through different policies and plans to choose the right one for your home. Use websites like Moneysmart and Singsaver to find one that offers the best coverage at the best price. Check for exclusions too – some plans cover only HDB owners.

Understanding policy exclusions

While home insurance provides valuable coverage, there are some things that your insurance may not cover. Be sure to read the fine print and understand any exclusions in the policy. For example, most policies won’t cover damage caused by acts of war or intentional acts of destruction. And unfortunately, they won’t cover any damages that are just from wear and tear. Make sure you understand what is covered and what is not, so you can make informed decisions.

Knowing what to do in case you need to make a claim

Okay, so let’s hope you never have to use your insurance! But in the unlikely event that you do, it’s important to know what to do. Read through the policy to find out how to file a claim. Some insurers might ask for a police report, while others might need proof of ownership. It’s always a good idea to keep all your important papers and receipts in a safe place (or have these on soft copy), so you don’t have to frantically search for them when you need them.

This article was first published in

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