Own a flat? Get mortgage insurance

PHOTO: Own a flat? Get mortgage insurance

SINGAPORE - National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan has urged flat owners to plan ahead with mortgage insurance schemes, and not leave family members in the lurch when something happens to them.

"HDB will be as compassionate as it can to help victims of circumstances address their housing needs when tragedies strike," he said on Friday in a post on his blog.

"However, parents should also help their children and plan ahead. Buying an appropriate insurance is one good avenue."

According to a Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board spokesman, about 70 per cent of the 873,500 Housing Board home buyers with mortgages are covered under the Home Protection Scheme (HPS).

The insurance plan cuts mortgage payments should the insured member die or become incapable of servicing the loan.

Last year, a total of 1,074 HPS claims, amounting to $89.8 million, were made.

The HPS is mandatory for flat owners who use CPF funds to service their housing loan, but others can opt in. The premium for the HPS can be as low as $13 a month, noted Mr Khaw, and this can be paid for with CPF savings.

He highlighted several examples of how HDB has helped those in need. When the parents of a teenage girl passed away suddenly, the schoolgoing only child was left to service an outstanding loan on her own. But HDB deferred the mortgage payments until she started working.

Mr Khaw also revealed how HDB cut the rent for a widow and her four children after her husband died, and also allowed them to keep a new Build-to-Order flat they were going to move into.

He said: "Whenever an unexpected family tragedy comes to our attention, HDB officers, together with the local grassroots leaders, will immediately visit the bereaved family to find out how we can be of help."

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