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Recently, I awoke at 3am to the sound of sirens blaring, and an orange glow coming from a block opposite mine — a neighbour’s house was on fire!
As I watched in horror, even while the firefighters were valiantly trying to put it out, the blaze crept up into the upstairs unit as well. At the end of it all, the building was structurally okay, but everything inside the 2 homes were burnt to a crisp. Thank goodness no one was hurt!
I also hoped that they had purchased home insurance. Not only does it protect against damage to home contents, it also covers the cost of alternative accommodation, renovations to fix the damage, compensation for damage to your neighbours’ home, theft to home contents (yes, that’s counted), etc. More on this later.
In Singapore, the SCDF noted that the overall number of fire incidents increased by 7.8% from 2018 to 2019 — with 1,168 in residential premises, the top 3 causes being unattended cooking, discarded items and household contents (powerbank, e-scooter etc).
What’s usually covered by home insurance and why do I need to get it?
As mentioned earlier, home insurance typically covers the contents of your home in the event of damage or theft. This means your belongings, fixtures, fittings, renovations (to rectify damage) and household content are insured.
The building itself is usually covered by another insurance. If you’ve bought a HDB flat, you’ll remember that you had to sign up for compulsory HDB fire insurance — this covers the building and the structure ONLY.
Read more: HDB Fire Insurance vs Home Insurance — What’s the Difference?
So if you’ve only got the compulsory HDB fire insurance right now, maybe it’s a good idea to pair this with a home insurance plan so you have comprehensive coverage for your home!
There’s also another insurance you would have signed up for — mortgage insurance. That covers payment for the home. i.e. If a homeowner suddenly passes away (touch wood) or becomes totally and permanently disabled, this covers the mortgage payments of that person. Private mortgage insurance may also cover critical illnesses (HDB’s Home Protection Scheme doesn’t).
Singlife’s new home insurance benefits
Singlife recently revamped its home insurance product (available in Lite, Standard and Plus) to include new benefits in Dec 2020. This was to offer customers a more competitive product with additional coverage features yet at an affordable price point.
Some of Singlife’s new home insurance benefits include:
This means that premiums are kept affordable as not 100% of the household contents (or rectification renovation works) will need to be insured. In return, the insurer — Singlife in this case — agrees to not penalise the policyholder for under-insuring their contents and renovations.
Say your actual home contents are valued at S$200,000 but you prefer to insure S$100,000 only In the event of an accident, where the loss incurred is S$100,000, the insurer does not penalise you by paying you only S$50,000 (because you only insured half of your home contents) because you were under-insured. Instead, with first-loss basis, you will be paid the full S$100,000 for your losses (or up to your maximum insured amount).
Why this is a benefit: I mean, what are the odds that 100% of your household items will be destroyed/stolen or will need restoration works? Instead of covering every single thing including the kitchen sink, opt for partial coverage and enjoy much more affordable premiums.
Emergency cash allowance
This covers the purchase of essential items up to a certain amount if your home is uninhabitable for at least 5 days in a row.
Say, if there’s a flood and everything in your home is waterlogged or you can’t enter it for some reason, you might need to bunk in with a relative. But all your personal items are in there, so you’ll need to spend money to purchase your toiletries, underwear and so on.
Utilities bill relief
This reimburses your utilities bill up to a maximum of 3 months if your home is either uninhabitable; or you suffer a debilitating disability, i.e. the total loss of both hands or both feet, or total loss of sight in both eyes or death as a result of accidental bodily injury in your apartment within 2 months of the incident. This can be due to accidental burns or something heavy falling.
While the insurer is not obligated to cover this part, it’s goodwill that this benefit is extended by Singlife to cover as much of our out-of-pocket expenses where possible.
Home cleaning expenses
As we know, when there’s a confirmed Covid-19 case in a compound like office or school, professional disinfection must be carried out. Singlife covers disinfection expenses to your home if you, your family members and/or your domestic employee suffers an infectious disease.
While the National Environment Agency or NEA offers a cleaning assistance scheme for Covid-19 that helps to defray some of the costs, this benefit can cover the remainder, or even covers home cleaning expenses for infectious diseases that aren’t limited to Covid-19.
Ah, this is important! Medical expenses up to a certain amount will be covered if you, your family members or your domestic employee in your home are injured due to any of Singlife’s insured events.
I see it as an additional benefit, some home insurance plans may be limited to the home and its household contents, with the assumption that medical costs will be covered by the policyholder’s personal accident insurance.
Here’s a summary of the coverage that Singlife’s home insurance provides:
|Features||Lite plan||Standard plan||Plus plan|
|Removal of debris||$5,500||$7,500||$10,000|
|Family worldwide liability||$250,000||$250,000||$250,000|
|Alternative accommodation / loss of rent||$12,000||$12,000||$12,000|
|Loss of contents temporarily removed||$5,000 (up to $500 per article)||$5,000 (up to $500 per article)||$5,000 (up to $500 per article)|
|Emergency cash allowance||$500||$750||$1,000|
|Utilities bill relief||N/A||$1,000 (up to a maximum of 3 months)||$1,000 (up to a maximum of 3 months)|
|Breakage of fixed glass/mirror||N/A||$500||$1,000|
|Loss of personal money, debit and credit cards||N/A||$500||$1,000|
|Home cleaning expenses||N/A||N/A||$500|
|Loss of personal papers||N/A||N/A||$500|
|Accidental death of domestic pet||N/A||N/A||$500|
|Emergency home assistance||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Optional cover: Depending on your policy, coverage may also include replacement locks, food in freezers, bicycle or personal mobility device, family cyber risk protector, family worldwide personal accident.
Singlife Home Insurance promotion
If you’re looking to add home insurance to your existing fire insurance/mortgage insurance plans, why not consider Singlife Home Insurance?
- For those who have the voluntary MINDEF & MHA Group Term Life / Group Personal Accident or POGIS Group Term Life policy — complimentary next-tier upgrade in recognition of their tireless efforts and hard work
- 20% off for all plans (annual) with promo code HOME20*
- Purchase a 3-year plan to enjoy a 15% discount
*Singapore Life Ltd reserves the right to change or withdraw the Promotion at our absolute discretion at any time without notice or liability.
A home is more than a roof above our heads; it’s a personal space filled with items that not only have monetary value but also hold sentimental significance to us. While the process of restoring a home ravaged by fire or a flood can be painful, having adequate insurance helps in easing some of the financial ache.
Don’t wait till it’s too late — get a quote for your selected Singlife Home Insurance plan now.
Policy and promotion terms and conditions apply. The policy is underwritten by Singapore Life Ltd. The information here is for general information only. For more details, please refer to https://singlife.com/en/downloads/home.This policy is protected under the Policy Owners’ Protection Scheme which is administered by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC). Coverage for your policy is automatic and no further action is required from you. For more information on the types of benefits that are covered under the scheme as well as the limits of coverage, where applicable, please contact Singapore Life Ltd or visit the GIA or SDIC web-sites(www.gia.org.sg or www.sdic.org.sg)
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