Holding the keys to a new home is one of the most significant milestones for any HDB flat owner. But for many Singaporeans who take out an HDB loan for the property, buying fire insurance must come first.
Fire insurance provides coverage for the building and structural damage of your home, but don’t be mistaken. It does not protect your entire home if one day, touch wood, your home burns to the ground. For coverage of home contents, what you really need is home insurance.
So today, let’s go into the details of the difference between fire insurance and home insurance.
HDB Fire Insurance in Singapore
According to HDB, all owners who purchase a HDB flat with a HDB loan on or after 1 September 1994 must purchase and renew a HDB fire insurance plan.
The purpose of such a plan is to “relieve flat owners of the financial burden of repair work in the unfortunate event of a fire”. Fire insurance mainly covers damaged internal structures and areas built and provided by HDB.
Currently, the appointed insurer that issues HDB Fire Insurance Scheme is FWD Singapore. The insurance plan provides coverage for 5 years and renewal is done every 5 years.
The premiums are quite affordable, starting from $1.62 for a 5-year period covering a 1-room flat and sum insured worth $29,000. The most expensive plan for the largest flats costs $8.10 and provides sum insured worth $106,200.
What HDB Fire Insurance covers:
- Damaged internal structures
- Areas built and provided by HDB
What HDB Fire Insurance does not cover:
- Personal belongings
What Does Home Insurance Cover?
Having fire insurance coverage provides some peace of mind, but if your home catches fire, you would probably save your treasured personal belongings first. Then, when evaluating the damage, you would lament losing expensive furniture, fittings, appliances and even artwork that you have invested in over the years.
The primary areas of cover when reviewing the typical offerings of an insurer is as follows:
1) Home Contents – This covers loss or damages to all home contents. Some insurers include under this section other benefits such as replacement or locks and keys, cost of temporary accommodations, accidental death of pets and so forth.
2) Buildings / Fixtures & Fittings – This covers loss or damage to the building. Which refers to any structural damage to the building. While fixtures and fittings, refer to the internal fixtures and fittings in the home including renovations. Some insurers separate the two categories and have different sum insured for each, while others lump them together as one.
3) Personal Accident – This covers compensation for an accident to members of the immediate household residing in the home
4) Liability to Others (3rd Party Liability) – This covers liability arising to other parties other than the owner occupiers/tenants. Such as injury to a 3rd party that occurs in the home.
If a property is tenanted or is to be tenanted, it is advisable to get home insurance to avoid potential disputes with a tenant arising from any loss or damage due to a peril or 3rd party action. Therefore, if you are a homeowner, home insurance is essential. Landlords should protect themselves with a home insurance plan since the cost of renovations, fittings and other installations will fall on them. Tenants, who own appliances and furniture within the home, should also consider getting home insurance.
Certain home insurance policies only cover “insured perils”, which are spelled out mishaps and disasters. The more comprehensive ones cover all risks. While insured-perils plans are less expensive, the premium difference between an all risk and insured peril policy is not very significant. Considering most home insurance policies easily come in below $100, most HDB households would be paying in the $50 +/- range.)
Best Home Insurance in Singapore (2020)
Home insurance plans range from essential bare-bones packages to comprehensive ones. Aside from one-year plans, insurers also offer three- or five- year plans.
Here are the premium prices for a HDB 4 room flat, inclusive of GST:
|Home insurance policy||Annual premium||Building coverage||Renovations coverage||Contents coverage|
|HL Assurance Home Contents Insurance Silver||$21.40||$100,000 total (excess of $500 on each claim)|
|Etiqa Tiq Home Insurance||$28 onwards||$19,300 to $98,200||$20,000 to $180,000||$15,000 to $120,000|
|FWD Home Insurance||$44.01||$80,000.00||Optional (Up to $100,000)||$20,000 (Up to $100,000)|
|AXA SmartHome Essential Standard||$53.50||$50,000.00||–||$15,000.00|
|AIG Public Housing Protection Plan||$70.62||Up to $69,500||–||Up to $150,000|
|NTUC Income Enhanced Home Insurance||$75.34||Up to $100,000||60000
(Up to $500,000)
|$30,000 (Up to $200,000)|
|Aviva Home Lite||$88.28||$75,000.00||–||$35,000.00|
|Sompo Homebliss Cosy (Insured Perils)||$96.30||$80,000.00||–||$20,000.00|
|MSIG Enhanced HomePlus Standard||$118.77||–||$75,000.00||$50,000.00|
Cheapest Home Insurance in Singapore
Based on the comparison table above, the cheapest home insurance plan in Singapore is the HL Assurance Home Contents Insurance Silver plan. However, the overall sum assured of $100,000 in total is quite little compared to other plans such as the NTUC Income Enhanced Home Insurance, which offers up to $100,000 for building coverage, $60,000 on renovations coverage and $30,000 on contents coverage. Additionally, for HL Assurance’s plan, you have to pay an excess of $500 on each and every claim.
If you own a home smaller than a 4-room flat, such as a studio apartment or a 3-room flat, you may also want to consider NTUC Income’s Enhanced Home Insurance Plan, which offers comprehensive coverage and tiered pricing based on the size and value of the flat.
How to Choose Home Insurance
When choosing your home insurance, don’t just go for the cheapest one, consider the coverage limit of the four categories mentioned:
1) Home Contents
2) Building / Fixtures & Fittings
3) Personal Accident
4) Liability to Others (3rd Party Liability)
If your lifestyle entails expensive hobbies, you might own collectibles, gear, appliances that cost a pretty penny. In that case, it’s better for you to get higher home insurance coverage. Otherwise, if you only have the mandatory fire insurance, you will not get compensation if your beloved home contents get destroyed in a fire, or any other mishap.
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