Three years ago, a survey conducted by insurance company AIG found that 75% of those interviewed believed that a fire insurance will cover loss of home items due to fire, water damage or accidents. Often, when we see a fire burn down an entire home, we feel sorry that such a tragic incident happened. But do you know the aftermath of rebuilding a home is even worse?
This is why home contents insurance is so important.
We all spend a good part of our lives paying off our mortgage- one of the priciest homes in the world, and a bulk of our overall asset for many people. We buy insurance to insure our lives, make sure our dependents can go on living comfortably after we’ve passed on… but surprisingly, not many people bother to protect their home! We think about the cost of renovation and buying new furniture and appliances when we are moving into our new home, but what happens when all these are gone, just because of a faulty electronic appliance?
Confusion between fire and home contents insurance
Perhaps it is due to ignorance that has us not protecting our castle, but judging by the results of that survey, it does look like many thought that their valuables at home are protected or insured in the case of a disaster. So let’s look at what’s the difference between fire insurance and home contents insurance.
Fire insurance – it is mandatory for flat owners with a HDB mortgage loan to buy a HDB fire insurance. It covers the cost of reinstating damaged internal structures, fixtures, as well as areas built and provided by HDB. Maximum premiums are just $7.50 for a fire-year term. The coverage excludes furniture, renovation and personal belongings.
Home contents insurance – the home contents insurance covers what’s inside your home. Your renovation, any valuables you have in your home, electrical appliances and furniture. Moreover, it provides a wider coverage as well. For instance, it typically covers a wider range of perils, including theft and malicious act by others which caused damage to your home.
Coverage terms and Premiums
In fact, a home contents insurance covers much more than just your home content. Imagine someone who has had his home caught fire, what would he have to do to rebuild his life? Some of the items on the list include:
If you had to estimate the entire value of the list of items above, how much do you think it would cost? Without going into details, the number can easily be in the 5-figure range up to 6-figure. With a home contents plan, a sample coverage would look like this:
What to look out for when buying a home content insurance?
Fire insurance typically cover accidents that involves fire but home content insurance may cover much more, including water damage from pipe bursting, explosions, or even theft. There could be exclusions as well, such as war or acts of terrorism. If you want a more holistic coverage, be prepared to pay slightly more.
Is a pet considered part of home content? Got you there! It’s hard to say right? Some policies specify pets, but others may not. The same goes for domestic helpers(and even their belongings!), or contents such as securities and certificates.
For those who have spent good money for the interior design of their home, you might want to get the renovations covered as well since it is considered part of the property value to many people.
When a fire occurs at home, you can expect that you’d need a fair number of days for repair works to be in order and there is little chance that your home will be in a condition for you to stay in. There is thus a need for you to look for an alternative accommodation. Some home contents insurance will cover your accommodation expenses up to 90 days with a maximum limit.
This can be an important clause for tenants who end up damaging the home of their landlord and being liable for the damages.
Similar to personal insurance, home contents insurance can come in various tiers. While their coverage is usually the same, they differ in the amount insured. Obviously, a higher insured amount translates into higher premiums as well, so you might want to weigh out the value of the property versus the amount insured to buy something right for you.
How much does home content insurance typically cost?
On the lower end, you can get something for around $30 per month and up to more than a $100 per month. It might make sense to take up a discounted 5-year plan since you’d most likely stay at your home for at least 5 years.
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