Best Home Insurance 2020: Lessons Learnt When My Wife Tried to Set Me On Fire
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Best Home Insurance 2020: Lessons Learnt When My Wife Tried to Set Me On Fire

Kenneth Fong
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One day, while I was relaxing in the living room, reading the investment discussions on the Seedly Community — and learning from the pros there.

I smelt something burning.

Dog Thinking
Source: knowyourmeme

Instinctively, I ran to the kitchen and noticed that there was an empty pan on the stove.

And it was smoking.

I picked it up and started dousing it with water in the sink.

Looking at the hob, I quickly put together what happened.

When we cook our eggs, we usually lower the flame to keep it from overcooking the yolk.

This time, however, my wife forgot that the burner was still lit and attempted to burn me alive decided to take a shower after she was done with cooking.

After I explained what happened, she apologised and asked, “Eh, by the way, we have fire insurance right?”

Which got me thinking…

DO WE?!


TL;DR: Best Home Insurance Plans in Singapore & How Much They Cost

Home insurance protects your home and valuables against unexpected dangers like fire, flood, or theft.

Home Insurance Plan1-Year Premium
(inclusive of GST)
Home ContentsRenovations, Fixtures & FittingsPersonal LiabilityAccident at Home
(You & Spouse)
Accident at Home
(Children)
AIA Elite Home Care Standard$169.15$16,000$80,000$500,000$20,000 each
AIG Home Insurance Enhanced Public Housing Contents Insurance$70.62$150,000$100,000$400,000$20,000 each
Aviva Home Lite$52.97$35,000$75,000$250,000$20,000 each
AXA SmartHome Essential Standard Plan$83.46$15,000$50,000$250,000$20,000 each$10,000 each
FWD Home Insurance$40.54 - $175.83
(customisable)
$20,000 - $100,000$20,000 - $100,000$500,000$20,000 each
Hong Leong Home Protect360 $256.80$100,000$100,000$500,000$10,000 each$3,000 each
IKEA HEMSÄKER Home Insurance (underwritten by Etiqa)$63.13
(regardless of flat or housing type)
$50,000$50,000$500,000$15,000 each$10,000 each
MSIG Enhanced Home Plus Standard Plan$118.77$50,000$75,000$1,000,000$15,000 or 1/2 of Sum Assured on Home Contents
NTUC Income Enhanced Home Standard Insurance$35.31 - $413.77
(customisable)
$10,000 - $200,000$10,000 - $500,000$500,000$20,000 each$10,000 each
Sompo HomeBliss Insurance Cosy Plan$96.30$20,000$80,000$750,000$20,000 each$5,000 each
Tiq Home Insurance$98.84 - $170.76
(customisable)
$80,000 - $160,000$45,000 - $105,000$500,000$15,000 each$10,000 each

If you live in an HDB flat, you’ll definitely have to buy HDB Fire Insurance.

However, this fire insurance only covers the cost of reinstating damaged internal structures, fixtures, as well as areas built and provided by HDB.

If you want to be protected against damage (like from a fire or flood) and theft to home contents, alternative accommodation, compensation for damage to your neighbour’s home and more.

You’ll need to buy home insurance!


Is Fire Insurance Mandatory?

As long as you’re financing your home with some kind of loan.

You’ll definitely need to fire insurance coverage.

If You Own an HDB Flat

Under the mandatory HDB Fire Insurance Scheme, all HDB occupants have to purchase fire insurance that is currently undertaken by FWD Singapore Ptd Ltd.

“Why is this mandatory,” you ask?

According to HDB, all “flat owners with HDB loans commencing on or after 1 September 1994 must buy and renew the HDB fire insurance for your homes, for as long as you have an outstanding HDB loan”.

This fire insurance is only valid for 5 years and has to be renewed.

Here’s how much the 5-year premium (including 7% GST) costs for the various HDB flat types:

Flat Type5-Year Premium
(with 7% GST)
Sum Insured
1-Room$1.62$29,000
2-Room/ 2-Room Flexi$2.71$48,700
3-Room$4.87$60,400
4-Room/ S1$5.94$82,000
5-Room/ S2/ 3Gen$7.13$97,300
Executive/ Multi-Generation Flats$8.10$106,200
Studio Apartment
(Type A/B)
$2.71$48,700

Since my place is a 4 room HDB BTO…

Ken's Home Living Room
Pictured Above: My living room not on fire

It costs a grand total of $5.94 for 5 years.

If you’re going, “Wah… So cheap sia…”

That’s because this fire insurance only covers the cost of reinstating damaged internal structures, fixtures, as well as areas built and provided by HDB.

Yeah… So all of the wife’s beloved plants and that LED TV that I love so much?

They’re not covered by HDB Fire Insurance if that frying pan and I went up in flames.

If you’re paying for your flat with a bank loan, your bank will definitely need you to take out a Mortgagee Interest Policy.

Basically, it’s a fire insurance policy which you pay for, but it names the bank as the beneficiary (read: if anything happens, the payouts go to the bank).

Fire insurance is no longer compulsory if you’ve paid off your home loans or you (gasp) choose to pay for your property in cash.

If You Own a Private Property

Since you’re taking a bank loan, you’ll need to get a Mortgagee Interest Policy.

If you’re living in a condominium, your Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST) will confirm maintain a fire insurance policy on behalf of the entire estate.

Again, fire insurance is no longer compulsory if you’ve paid off your home loan or are baller enough to pay for your private property in cash.

Ice Cube And Chris Tucker Going Damn
Source: Friday | Giphy

Home Insurance vs Fire Insurance: What’s the Difference?

I’ve established earlier that most HDB owners like you and I, have HDB Fire Insurance.

However, HDB Fire Insurance does NOT protect the contents of my home such as

  • Furniture (like my comfortable grey sofa)
  • Appliances (like my beloved LED TV)
  • Personal belongings (like my collection of Power Range… erm… I mean, MY book collection of rare First Editions)
My Living Room On Fire
Pictured Above: My living room on fire while none of it is covered by HDB’s Fire Insurance

So if you want protection for all of that, that’s where home insurance comes in.

Oh, and just in case you’re wondering.

I also found out that because the majority of Singaporean HDB dwellers already have fire insurance, home insurance policies are designed to complement instead of overlap with your existing fire insurance coverage.

So you don’t have to worry about overpaying for the same coverage.

What Types of Home Insurance Are Available and What Does It Cover?

Convinced that I need to look at getting home insurance on top of my mandatory HDB Fire Insurance, I did a little digging and found out that typical home insurance will cover:

Building Fixtures, Fittings, and Renovations

If your entire home or HDB flat is destroyed.

HDB Fire Insurance will cover you for the original building, fixtures, and fittings.

For anything else like renovations, additional fixtures and fittings installed.

Like my wife’s custom made walk-in wardrobe.

Your home insurance will take care of that.

Home Contents

This means stuff like your 500 pots of plants, fridge, TV, home PC setup, washing machine, and etc.

If you get home insurance, you’ll be able to replace your home contents if they’re damaged or stolen.

.

.

.

Now, if you’re an art collector or keep all of your money in a biscuit tin at home.

You’ll need more comprehensive home insurance (read: more expensive) to cover stuff like:

Alternative Accommodation

In the case of a fire or flood, it’s unlikely that your home is liveable.

But you’ll still need a place to stay.

This coverage pays you a daily benefit to pay for alternative accommodation (usually capped to a certain number of days).

Personal Accident

To pay for medical expenses, payouts for accidental death and disability and etc. for you and your family.

Or even your domestic helper — if you hire one.

This is usually offered as an optional add-on as some people would already have personal accident coverage.

Personal Effects

Such as the loss of money and valuables in the event of theft or a break-in.

However, there’s usually a limit as to how much you can claim.

Personal Liability

This protects you from situations where you might be legally held responsible for.

For example, it protects you as a renter if your landlord holds you accountable because your cat broke one of her expensive ceramic vases

Cat Pushing Stuff Off Table
Source: Tenor

Pets

Speaking of pets.

Some policies will cover the loss of a pet.

Usually dogs or cats, and are limited to certain breeds or pedigree.

This coverage is usually offered as a separate option.

Insured Peril vs All-Risk

Some home insurance plans offer an “Insured Peril” and an “All-Risk” option.

Insured Peril policies offer you protection provides coverage against losses from specified incidents such as fire, explosion, theft, and natural disasters.

An All-Risk policy covers you for a much wider range of scenarios.

The latter is more expensive and probably only recommended if you’re the kiasi (Hokkien: afraid of dying) type.

Best Home Insurance Plans In Singapore

So which is the best home insurance plan to get?

I approached a couple of insurers to look for a one-year plan for a 4-room HDB apartment.

Where possible, it will be Basic, Standard, or Insured Peril policies only.

For the sake of consistency, I’ve also included personal accident coverage for all plans.

And here’s what I got:

Home Insurance Plan1-Year Premium
(inclusive of GST)
Home ContentsRenovations, Fixtures & FittingsPersonal LiabilityAccident at Home
(You & Spouse)
Accident at Home
(Children)
AIA Elite Home Care Standard$169.15$16,000$80,000$500,000$20,000 each
AIG Home Insurance Enhanced Public Housing Contents Insurance$70.62$150,000$100,000$400,000$20,000 each
Aviva Home Lite$52.97$35,000$75,000$250,000$20,000 each
AXA SmartHome Essential Standard Plan$83.46$15,000$50,000$250,000$20,000 each$10,000 each
FWD Home Insurance$40.54 - $175.83
(customisable)
$20,000 - $100,000$20,000 - $100,000$500,000$20,000 each
Hong Leong Home Protect360 $256.80$100,000$100,000$500,000$10,000 each$3,000 each
IKEA HEMSÄKER Home Insurance (underwritten by Etiqa)$63.13
(regardless of flat or housing type)
$50,000$50,000$500,000$15,000 each$10,000 each
MSIG Enhanced Home Plus Standard Plan$118.77$50,000$75,000$1,000,000$15,000 or 1/2 of Sum Assured on Home Contents
NTUC Income Enhanced Home Standard Insurance$35.31 - $413.77
(customisable)
$10,000 - $200,000$10,000 - $500,000$500,000$20,000 each$10,000 each
Sompo HomeBliss Insurance Cosy Plan$96.30$20,000$80,000$750,000$20,000 each$5,000 each
Tiq Home Insurance$98.84 - $170.76
(customisable)
$80,000 - $160,000$45,000 - $105,000$500,000$15,000 each$10,000 each

So… Which Is the Cheapest Home Insurance in Singapore?

If you want the flexibility of price…

Then you can’t go wrong with either:

Although most of the insurers offer a variety of pre-packaged plans to choose from, these three offer fully customisable home insurance plans according to your needs.

Depending on how much coverage you need for home contents or renovations, you can get the lowest priced plan at $35.51 a year.

Or the most expensive plan at a yearly premium of $413.77.

NTUC Income’s Enhanced Home Standard Insurance offers both the cheapest as well as the most expensive home insurance plans available in the market.

How to Choose a Home Insurance Policy

When it comes to choosing a home insurance policy, it’s important to first understand your needs so that you don’t over or under insure yourself.

You shouldn’t just go for the cheapest home insurance plan.

And neither should you splurge on the most comprehensive one available.

You should probably focus on two aspects: Renovation and Home Content coverage.

Renovations, Fixtures & Fittings

If you’re living in a 4-room HDB flat which you renovated for next to nothing.

Then you probably wouldn’t need a costly plan with extensive coverage for this.

Conversely, if you have a custom wardrobe or an island bar in the living room, then you’ll probably want to consider getting more insurance for this.

To get a good agaration of this, use your total renovation cost (not inclusive of furniture and appliances) as a guide.

Home Content

Depending on how large you live (read: how atas your taste is)…

How much coverage you require for your home content will also vary widely.

If you have an extensive art collection at home that’s worth four times the GDP of a small developing nation, then you BETTER have sufficient home content coverage.

Getting Adequately Insured

Once you have a ballpark range of how much you need to cover the above two aspects.

The next step is identifying the best home insurance policy which covers all bases — it’s a bonus if the coverage extends to other aspects as well.

If you find a policy which you like but it does not cover everything you’re looking for, you can usually opt for add-on protection.

Most insurers allow this flexibility (read: comes at additional cost).

Oh, and you should also look out for discounts on policies.

While looking at 1-year premiums, I realised that insurers usually offer a nice discount if you sign up for a longer duration — usually between three to five years.

Some insurers will also have special promo codes or certain days where you can get a sizeable discount off your home insurance premium.

Once you’ve purchased your home insurance plan, you should make it a habit to review your coverage on a yearly basis.

When you’ve just moved into your newly-renovated HDB BTO, you probably spent $30,000 on renovations.

But a year later, you’d probably have filled that same home with an expensive 65″ OLED TV, a top-of-the-range sound system, along with a home bar that you stocked with an expensive collection of gin or whiskey.

Mr Krabs Money Eyes
Source: SpongeBob SquarePants | Giphy

Yep.

Your 1-year old home insurance policy might need to be upgraded in order to adequately protect your new purchases.

Closing Thoughts

Personally, I’m getting a basic, insured peril policy with no add-ons first.

Okay, I’ll probably look at adding personal accident coverage.

And just in case, I’m locking away all the matches and banning the wife from our kitchen.

Because, reasons…

Homer Simpson Setting Fire To Corn Flakes
Source: The Simpsons | Tenor

REITs Tool

About Kenneth Fong
Owner of a 4-room HDB BTO and married to a financial clutz. Probably the closest to an adult you can find on the Seedly team.
You can contribute your thoughts like Kenneth Fong here.

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