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If you’ve got a place of your own, chances are, you’re still paying for it. A home is one of the most expensive purchases most of us will ever make; these also have one of the longest loan periods (~25 years!).
A home is also one of our most important possessions. It’s where we rest after a long day at work, it’s where we keep our personal belongings, it’s where we see our favourite people, it’s our safe haven when the outside world is a crazy place (or when the weather is too hot and hazy).
Remember when you first got your home? It was an empty shell but then you infused it with your individuality through renovation works, furnishing and other decor.
Your home is practically an extension of yourself.
Recent spate of home fires in Singapore
It’s worrying though, that there have been more reported home fire cases recently:
According to statistics published by the Singapore Civil Defence Force, the total number of residential fires in 2020 was 1,054, a decrease of 9.8% from the previous year. However, there were 184 fire injuries in 2020, an increase from 142 in 2019.
The top 3 causes were:
Another area of concern were the number of fires involving power assisted bicycles (e-bikes), which doubled from 13 cases in 2019 to 26 cases in 2020.
Not to be kiasu, but it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry. Something as devastating as a fire, if not injurious, can wipe out everything in your home in a flash. And how about all of the clothes in your wardrobe, cash in your piggy bank, or your expensive glassware collection?
Not to mention the amount of time, money and effort spent cleaning up the burnt debris, finding an alternative place to stay, re-renovating, and so on… while coping with your loss. Sigh.
Hence, there is a need to ensure that your home is fully insured — just in case. But first, what type of insurance does your home need?
What is mortgage insurance? Well, this serves to protect you and your family should you be unable to pay off your mortgage due to pre-determined specified events. This means your family won’t be left to upkeep the mortgage payments, and will still have a roof over their heads if they’re unable to do so.
Typically, events covered would be death or total and permanent disability of the insured. Do check with your insurer what’s covered under the mortgage insurance. For example, if you’re buying a home through HDB, you’ll be required to get the Home Protection Scheme (HPS), which functions as a mortgage insurance. There’s also the option to get a similar plan from a private insurer.
In case you didn’t know, it’s compulsory to get the HPS or equivalent form of mortgage insurance when you’re paying for your home via your Central Provident Fund (CPF) monies. If you don’t fall in this category, it’s still good to get some form of mortgage insurance.
If you have fire insurance, you’ll already be covered if a fire breaks out, right? NO.
Typically, fire insurance insures against the damages to the actual building structure. For HDB fire insurance, this includes the original structural elements of your home like the walls and electrical wiring — basically the “empty shell” you received when you first collected your keys and rolled your pineapple.
It’s the same for private property, whether it’s a requirement by the bank you’re borrowing money from and/or the blanket fire insurance by the developer on behalf of the entire condo estate. Again, this typically just covers the building structure.
This brings us to home insurance, which many of us fail to sign up for. There’s been a long-time confusion between fire insurance and home insurance — these 2 aren’t the same. As mentioned, fire insurance covers the building structure (the shell), while home insurance (sometimes called home contents insurance for clarity) covers the contents of your home.
With home insurance, your barang-barang, renovation work, alternative accommodation and even medical fees for accidents at home are covered. This can also cover you should the fire spread to your neighbours’ homes (touch wood).
The reason why this is not compulsory is that the building developer or the bank doesn’t bother with your personal belongings. They’re only worried that you can’t service your home loan (because they need to reclaim the money) and that the structure they built is damaged before the loan is fully paid up.
Hence, many of us probably don’t even realise there’s this coverage available to protect ourselves.
What does home insurance cover?
In general, home insurance covers the loss and damage to home contents, renovation, fixtures and fittings caused by fires, floods and break-ins. Depending on your insurer, there may be other benefits.
For example, Singtel’s home insurance plan, Singtel Home Protect, underwritten by Great Eastern General Insurance Limited, covers key areas such as:
- Home Contents, Valuables and Personal Effects, up to $40,000
- Renovation, Fixtures and Fittings, up to $40,000
In addition, Singtel Home Protect offers other benefits such as:
- Personal Liability, covered up to $500,000
- Family Personal Accident (at home), $10,000 per person up to $50,000 per household
- Home Improvement, up to $500
- Replacement of Legal Documents, up to $300
- Home Assistance Services, $120 per event up to 2 events per policy period
- Singtel Bill Protection, from up to $80 per month for up to 12 months
This means that you and your family can be protected against liability for accidental bodily injury, accidental death and/or accidental damage to property of a third party, as well as the costs involved in case there’s any legal action taken by the third party. For example, the coverage should apply if a fire breaks out at your house and damages the neighbour’s home too.
Family Personal Accident (at home)
When an accident happens at home to you or your family member, which sadly results in death or total permanent disability, Singtel Home Protect could provide compensation for that (on top of other existing insurance policies you may have).
When the aforementioned Family Personal Accident (at home) happens and results in a claim, this Home Improvement Benefit is the reimbursement of the necessary cost of improvement or modification to “accident proof” the insured’s home (up to $500). For example, to make flooring slip-resistant, to buy and install grab bars/foam flooring/ramps/a security camera or emergency alarm etc.
Home Assistance Services
This benefit is not offered by all home insurance policies, but Singtel Home Protect has it. This could save you some money as it covers the repair costs associated with plumbing, faulty air-conditioner, electrical power failure, damaged locks (i.e. due to a break-in, NOT because you simply forgot your key), and even pest control services.
Singtel Bill Protection (unique)
Unique to Singtel Home Protect is Singtel Bill Protection. This kicks in should the insured person sustain bodily injury that leads to death or total permanent disability. The Singtel bill of the insured person will then be reimbursed up to $80 monthly, up to a maximum of 12 months. In the case of fire, a break-in or flood at your home that disrupts Singtel services (for more than 24 hours), you may also receive reimbursement on your monthly Singtel bill up to a maximum of 3 months with a limit of up to $280 monthly.
Did you know? If you do relocate, your home insurance can be transferred to cover your new home.
Protect your precious home contents, ASAP!
Now that you know the various insurance plans available for your home and have relooked into your coverage, it’s time to plug any protection gaps you may have.
Here are the current plans available for Singtel Home Protect if you’re looking to get a home contents insurance. For a limited time only, sign up now to enjoy 40% off!
Singtel Home Protect is available for all Singtel customers.
Click here to find out more about Singtel Home Protect and to sign up.
*Terms and conditions apply. Singtel Home Protect is underwritten by Great Eastern General Insurance Limited. Protected up to specified limits by SDIC.