Opinion

Will Insurance Cover the Extensive Damage from the Little India Riots?

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Mark Cheng

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It was a night to remember. It was a night to forget. Regardless of whatever the cause or reason, the riot at Little India was something no decent human being would have wished for. We are deeply thankful for the brave men and women who, in one way or another, stopped the situation from becoming worse than it was.

Even though the riot was quelled in a relatively short time, the extent of the damage was significant. Cars parked by the side of the road as “innocent bystanders” were damaged, as were some of the outer parts of some shops. Here are some lessons we learnt about insurance in the aftermath of this event:

 

1. Car Insurance Does Not Cover Riots

While car insurance in Singapore is mandatory, most basic insurance packages don’t cover events such as riots. In fact, even if you have a comprehensive car insurance policy, it may not cover damage caused by civil disobedience or rioting. Instead, this kind of coverage is often classified as an optional benefit under “Damage arising from riot, strike and civil commotion,” requiring a little extra on your premium.

Who This May Be Useful For

In the case of the Little India riots, the incident happened on a narrow two-way street that’s often congested with foot and vehicle traffic. As such, when the incident broke out, collateral damage to the surrounding buildings and vehicles was bound to happen.

Nobody wishes for or expects these things to happen, but this incident proved that riots can happen even in a “safe” place like Singapore – making riot coverage a real necessity. However, there are other instances (not requiring rioting) where this coverage may be necessary.

For example, let’s say you like leaving your car in areas such as Boat Quay (we’re old school that way) late at night while you go out to enjoy your evening. Areas such as Boat Quay prime locations for drunkards start fights, and your car might suffer some “collateral damage” as a result.

If you leave your car in places where large groups of people tend to get drunk and rowdy, you should think about getting additional coverage for your car. And if your insurance is up for renewal and you’re totally confused about car insurance, you can compare competitive quotes at MoneySmart.

 

2. Fire Insurance Does Cover Riots

Basic fire insurance policies on the other hand do cover damage caused when “peaceful” protest turn sour and degenerate into rioting or strikes. Of course, this coverage only protects the structure of your home, not the contents within it. But many people wrongly assume that their basic fire coverage protects everything within their home – and that’s a mistake that can be VERY costly.

To understand the difference between fire insurance and home contents insurance, we suggest you check out our previous article. You can also find out more about your Fire Insurance options here.

 

3. Personal Accident Insurance is Quite Important

While the riots were contained in a relatively constricted area along Race Course Road, there were many other civilians, both workers and Singaporeans, around the area. With things being thrown around, you could never tell what was going to come flying at you.

This is where Personal Accident Insurance comes in to play. For a full rundown on the coverage and benefits, you can check out our article explaining everything. This is perhaps the equivalent of what we mentioned in Point 1, but for human beings rather than cars, and if you happen to have to frequent areas where people tend to be a bit rowdier, or your job presents some form of physical hazard in one way or another, this would be good. Stay tuned with us on Facebook as we bring you some interesting cases of Personal Accident claims you have never heard of before!

 

A Final Note

On a more light hearted note, there was one other financial lesson we learnt from the riots: Invest in a good camera phone. Perhaps blogger Mr Brown sums it up best with his Facebook Post:

mrbrown

While people were quick to chastise all foreign workers with silly xenophobic and racist remarks online when the incident first sparked, some were equally scathing in their criticism of the mainstream media news coverage (or lack thereof). News sites were directing people to individually-owned Youtube channels for coverage of the incident. With a good camera phone, who knows? You could be the next big news reporter. Just stay away from Stomp.

Who This May Be Useful For

Kaypohs (busybodies).

 

What are your thoughts on the incident? Were there any other financial lessons learnt? We’d love to hear your thoughts here.

Image Credits:
EPA, Mr Brown’s Facebook Page

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Mark Cheng

I rant and rave a lot, but when I'm not busy doing that, I'm managing the content for MoneySmart. I love Singapore, but I also believe in helping it to improve bit by bit, and that's where MoneySmart comes in. Have some thoughts? Drop me an email at mark@moneysmart.sg.