We have 2 related articles involving Home Insurance that discuss an overall view for expats who are renting and Home Contents Insurance for both owners and tenants. So in this article, we shall not cover the same contents.
Protects your home from risks you don’t want to incur
As tenants, we are pretty much complacent in not worrying about costs involving fixing of damages within the property. In Singapore, generally, landlords are responsible for costs that are above a certain amount. This amount is usually stated in the rental agreement and differs with individual agreement. There will however be instances where tenants can be liable to pay for the entire amount of the damages.
The obvious concerns for tenants would be chattels that they own which can be damaged by fire or flooding (caused by water pipe burst or leakage). Examples of chattels are white ware, media appliances, furnishing (if it’s non-furnished or partially-furnished) and valuables. These can be covered by home contents insurance. However, there may be other liabilities and costs incurred which are tenants might have to bear due to the fault of the occupants of the property, or due to an accident:
1. Damage to landlord’s property due to tenants (and guests) fault
It could be the case of an accidental bathtub tap left on and thereby flooding the apartment. Or a damage caused by a child or pet to the wall, flooring, carpet or furnishing.
As tenants ourselves, my husband and I were often very careful with taking care of the apartments that we stayed in especially after we had kids. There were 2 properties that I stayed in, where we had to sand and polish the entire room’s parquet flooring even though only a small portion was damaged. At one apartment, it was badly scratched by a bedside table that had castor rollers. And at another apartment, we had accidentally caused a burnt mark from the heat of an Internet router left on a room parquet floor. Both incidences were unforeseen circumstances for us but they were lessons well learnt.
2. Temporary accommodation
If the rental property is involved in a fire or flooding incident, the tenants might need temporary accommodation while the property is being fixed or in the interim of looking for another rental. Temporary housing/ accommodation is usually much more expensive. This would be a hefty cost for the tenants if this is not included in an insurance coverage.
3. Replacement of key/lock
Replacing keys and changing door locks can be a costly affair, especially if we need to do that in the middle of the night. It could be bedroom or bathroom doors, not just the main door to the house or apartment. There are cases where it doesn’t involve the door being accidentally locked and not having access to the keys, but the case of losing one’s wallet/ purses/ handbags, whether by carelessness or theft.
An acquaintance had had her handbag stolen and fortunately remembered that her address is on her driver’s license. She quickly called her friend to check on her house and he arrived in the nick of time to spot someone trying to enter her house. With that, she had to change her door lock as her home keys were in her handbag too.
These are incidences that are both unpredictable and accidental, which can cost us more than we can afford. Even if we have the means to pay for them, with the differences in the amount that we can save from paying for insurance premiums and paying for the actual damage, we can go for a little a holiday. Compare multiple Home Insurance policies yourself.