More than just a shelter and four walls, a house is usually one of our most valued assets. Yet, it is easy to overlook essential home protection over daily needs. Despite our best efforts to manage our household and take care of our home contents, some things are just unavoidable. Therefore, a comprehensive home insurance with suitable coverage is essential.
First, let’s be clear on this: What is home insurance?
Many homeowners think that home insurance is a complicated subject. The truth is, for a relatively small amount, you can obtain insurance coverage that could save you tens of thousands of dollars in the event of a fire or some other type of accident. The purpose of a home insurance is to protect your home, your family and you in the event of home disasters.
As a house is possibly the largest asset that most people will ever own, adequate insurance coverage against loss is necessary. Most lenders require a mortgagee to carry replacement-value house insurance at all times. For example, if you take a HDB loan for your flat, it is mandatory for you to get HDB Fire Insurance. This policy will take care of rebuilding the structure of your house in case it is damaged by fire. But it is only a basic cover and does not insure your home contents. Your furniture, the amount that you have incurred on renovation, and your personal belongings are not covered. On the other hand, a comprehensive home insurance policy covers your building, home contents and furniture.
Choosing the right home insurance for you
There are various options of home insurance in Singapore, and with insurers providing similar products and services, it can be tough to make a choice. Nevertheless, no two snowflakes are alike. Here’s a simple guide to help you gain better understanding on how to choose a suitable home insurance. Read on!
1. Know your needs
“How would I know what I need if I’m a new homeowner?” That’s a valid point. If you are a first-time homeowner, you may not be aware of which household concerns would be most relevant to you. Is a basic fire insurance sufficient or would you need to get a comprehensive home insurance that even covers emergency home repair services? This calls for some research and self-evaluation. Learning from others’ experiences such as relatives, friends, or helpful articles (like this one!) and online discussions on forums can point you in the right direction.
Through our consumer study^ on common household concerns done in early 2018, the top three benefits found to be essential to homeowners were: Building Protection, Emergency Home Assistance (EHA), and Renovation. Respondents also indicated the following benefits to be a ‘Must Have’ in a home contents insurance: Flexibility to Choose Main Benefits, Flexibility to Choose Coverage, and EHA. A flexible home protection plan such as Tiq Home Insurance provides these benefits.
^2018 Consumer Study on Household Concerns was conducted with 176 respondents who live in Singapore.
Think about this, if you are getting home insurance for your first home where you’d be doing extensive renovation, you may want to consider getting more coverage for renovations. If your home is fitted with mirrors to make it look bigger, then a plan that covers for ‘accidental breakage of mirrors and fixed glass’ (newly enhanced benefit of Tiq Home Insurance!) would be relevant. If you are an art or antique collector, you may want to look into a plan that can cover your valuables. Knowing your needs will help you to better gauge what coverage you should be looking out for.
2. Know your budget
Buying a house is a huge commitment that goes beyond making the deposit payment. There are various miscellaneous costs to consider, and here’s where you need to prioritise your money. The minor but essential expense for home insurance could save you from incurring substantial costs in the event something goes wrong. To calculate how much you need to insure your home for, you must first know the rebuilding costs of your home. You can get an estimate from your contractor for this.
Besides that, consider what you’d like to insure and for how long. The coverage and tenure will determine the premium. If you have a limited budget, you may want to consider a shorter policy term. However, insurers do offer discounts and incentives for those who purchase a longer term policy, which sometimes can be of better value.
3. Know your options
Equivalent to a cheat sheet, an insurance aggregator site such as Money Smart helps to list the various home protection plans in Singapore. With a listing of what’s available, and the knowledge of what you need and a budget, you will be able to select a suitable home insurance by the elimination theory. Everyone wants to get the best value, but before you go for the cheapest option, do consider the following important factors:
To determine the reputation of the insurer, check the credit ratings (usually published on the insurer’s company website) as well as search for customer reviews. You may also want enquire the opinions of your family and friends who have purchased their home insurance.
- Customer service model
Is it easy to purchase the products and talk to a service staff easily? If you have problems seeking answers prior to your purchase, chances are you may meet greater difficulties in getting a response post-purchase. Also, how simple or convenient is the purchase journey? Are there clear and transparent information on where to proceed after you have gotten your home insurance?
- Claims process
Speak to a customer service officer or get the information online on the claims procedure prior to your purchase. Make a comparison across your shortlisted options. You may also wish to consider checking out claims reviews on forums and social media channels.
Last but not least, always understand what is covered before buying an insurance policy. If you are unsure about the product, feel free to ask.That’s another way for you to determine the service level after all!