SINGAPORE – Fire insurance alone is not enough to cover all the costs of a fire in one’s home, insurers have said, adding that homeowners should also take out a home insurance policy.
While fire insurance only covers expenses incurred to restore the structural integrity of a building after a fire, home insurance is more comprehensive, typically covering personal property, debris removal and alternative accommodation during renovations.
At least two fires this year have claimed lives. In May, a fire in an apartment in Bedok North killed three people, including a three-year-old child, and in March, another fire in an apartment in New Upper Changi Road left one dead.
Some victims of home fires The Straits Times spoke to before said they regretted not having taken out home insurance.
On Sunday July 24, Mr Jimmy Tong, managing director of general and group insurance at Great Eastern, said there is a common misconception that Housing Board fire insurance – which is compulsory with every purchase of a HDB apartment – is sufficient.
“Coverage is very basic as the insured value is limited to either the outstanding loan amount or the cost of restoring the building structure.
“That’s why it’s important to have a separate policy covering renovations, alternative accommodations during renovations and (the) contents of the house,” he explained.
Mr. Pan Jing Long, head of general insurance at Singlife at Aviva, said his company has not seen an increase in the number of home insurance claims this year.
“This is likely because home insurance is still considered an administrative add-on, rather than an essential purchase,” he said, warning that HDB’s fire insurance plan does not include the household contents such as furniture and personal effects, or the cost of work. done during renovations.
He added that homeowners often overlook soft costs such as alternative housing, lost rent or damage to third-party property.
“These are important things to consider, especially if there is significant property damage,” Pan said.
Ms. Annie Chua, vice president and head of personal lines at NTUC Income, said homeowners should take out a home insurance policy to cover potential damage to the contents of their home, as well as any damage to property. of their neighbor.
“This is particularly important in a densely populated country like Singapore, as it is not uncommon for fires to spread beyond a unit or to neighboring homes, even for landed properties,” said Ms Chua, whose the company saw a 20% increase in the number of new home insurance policies issued in the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year.