Why do I need Home Insurance if I have HDB or condo MC fire insurance?

Many of us, after being a property owner, will think that home insurance is an unnecessary expense. In the many documents that you have signed and paid for when taken over a property, there is some compulsory property insurance that you have to acquire. Hence, why are my friends advising me to get fire insurance?

Isn’t my HDB or my condominium’s fire insurance scheme already bought and paid?

Most property owner would have bought compulsory fire insurance either from

  1. HDB fire insurance scheme (compulsory for all HDB owners)
  2. condominium fire insurance scheme (most are compulsory by the condo’s management corporation (or MC)

Many owners have missed out that the compulsory fire insurance that you have bought for your home, either from your condo’s MC or your HDB’s fire insurance scheme are for the BUILDING. This means the fire insurance protects the original structure, common area, wiring etc.

These compulsory fire insurance does NOT cover the contents of your home such as

  • your furniture
  • your electric appliances
  • your renovation and furnishing
  • your home content and valuables

In a nutshell, if the item is not there when you got your key to your home for the first time, your HDB fire insurance scheme or condo’s mc compulsory fire insurance would NOT cover it.

In a fire, what your condo’s MC fire insurance or HDB fire insurance scheme does is to pay out for the restoration of the main structural, pipes, wiring, etc. You would still have to fork out your own money to restore your furnishing, renovation, your floor tiles, your walk-in wardrobe and of course all your clothes, your TV, your fridge, etc that were damaged in the fire.

What is home content insurance and what does it cover?

Home content insurance, or more commonly known as “Home insurance” (or even called simply as “fire insurance for home) are policies that cover the contents in your home. And not just the structure, wiring, piping, etc that HDB or your condo MC is so eager to protect.

This means your renovation, your furnishing, fixtures, furniture, appliances, clothes, personal possessions, etc. Even members of the households and pets are covered in case of bodily harm.

These are the common protection offered by home protection plans.

  1. Renovations: Floor tiles, feature walls, cabinets etc
  2. Home contents: Your TV, refrigerator, washing machine, clothes, personal belongings etc.
  3. Personal liability: Your legal responsibility if your fire spreads and damage neighbours’ properties and lives.
  4. Alternative accommodation: Allows you to stay at hotels etc while you wait for your home to be renovated or refurbished.
  5. Personal Accident coverage for members of households: For all members of households, including domestic helpers.
  6. Pets: May cover vet or hospital bills and etc as an add on
  7. Loss of money, valuables from theft or break-in: Almost all home insurance provides coverage too if your home has a break-in, burglary etc.

What is insured peril or all risk for home content insurance?

Most home policies are all-risks which means they cover you in a wider range of situations (maybe situations that are “unthinkable”). Insured peril for home policies means they only cover those situations that are outright mentioned in the plan.

Insured perils home policies are usually slightly cheaper.

Why is home content insurance so important or necessary in Singapore?

One sentence:- because your renovation, furniture, appliances, clothes etc are very expensive in Singapore.

If a fire starts in your home or from your neighbour’s home, you are going to have a bad financial situation in your home, as if cleaning up a badly burnt home is not enough work. A home content insurance can help to pay out to clean, renovate, and refurbish your home, without breaking your pocket.

Without a home content insurance, be prepared to lose 5 figures or even 6 figures sums worth of renovation and furnishing. (And more if you are like me, who store almost all my valuables at home).

What about owner-occupier, landlord or tenant for home content insurance?

If you own and live in the property you are in, then you are considered the “owner-occupier”. Most home content insurance policies are geared towards this type of owner as owner-occupier has the most to lose in a fire. It is the renovation of their own property that they lose, and the valuables that they lose too.

If you are a landlord owning the property and renting it out, do seek out insurance brokers like HM consultancy to get specific home content insurance for landlords. Although most of the home contents would not be yours, the renovation, the furnishing and if the landlord provides furniture and appliances, these would be really important to protect and guard against a financial disaster.

If you are a tenant, you may be relieved that you would not be financially affected by the loss of the 6 figures renovation and furnishing, but no doubt your own clothes, possessions, valuables would be damaged or lost in a fire. Speak to fire insurance broker like HM that can advise on tenant-specific home content insurance.

How to choose a home content insurance policy in Singapore?

If you are like me, you will love value for money plans and not just the cheapest (because the cheapest covers the bare minimum only). Besides choosing value for money, you should take a quick accounting summary of the values of your home content and see if you should take a good comprehensive plan.

Here are some bills you may consider to redo your home if its damaged by fire

  1. Your renovation costs: if you prefer simple, you do not need a high renovation makeover. If you like your home to be cosy, make sure you plan for it. Do note that the size of your home affects your renovation bills.
  2. Value of your home content. Many electronics, laptop, tablets etc? Lots of branded bags, and branded watches at home?
  3. Value of your furniture and appliances:- Do you have expensive furniture like some classic chairs or dining table? OLED TV with the latest surround sound audio?

Every homeowner is different, so plan accordingly. Do your work and select the comprehensive plan that suits your home, your budget and then relax!

HM Consultancy is the Home Insurance and Motor Car Policies Specialist in Singapore

One of the ideal plans suggested by HM consultancy is their EQ Homeguard, underwritten by EQ Insurance. EQ HomeGuard has 5 great key benefits.

  1. Alternative Accommodation- covers additional expenses for your accommodation or loss of rent if your home becomes uninhabitable
  2. Home Quarantine order- pays up to $1400 if you are required to be home quarantined (For those unfamiliar with SARS, bird flu, there is a new flu from Wuhan now)
  3. Personal / Family Third Party Liability. It covers for accidental bodily injury or property damage to any 3rd party within your home as well as WORLDWIDE (except USA and Canada). Extra bonus!
  4. Worldwide personal accident- it helps to pay for accidental death for the policyowner, spouse and children, for mishap at home and worldwide.
  5. Pedigree Pet Cover- for a lot of us, our pets are our precious. This provides a sum for accidental death or theft of your pedigree pets.

This plan has different types and is great whether you own a HDB, condo or landed. Just choose the type that suits you best! HM Consultancy is a big insurance agency in Singapore and has partnered with big companies like Timely Enterprise for all corporate, motor, etc insurance coverage.

The best news? I have negotiated with HM Consultancy to offer an extra 15% discount on their first year premium!

Just quote my name BudgetBabe when you contact them for extra 15% off! Get quote from them at their home insurance in Singapore!

Compulsory Insurance that MCST and MC needs (Contractor All Risks, Fire Insurance, Public Liability)

There are numerous general insurance that is legally required by MCST (Management Corporation Strata Title) or MC (Management Committee) to have their landlords and tenants to have for their properties, in order to protect other property owners and themselves. Some examples are basic fire insurance for the building and structure or public liability insurance that some MCST makes it compulsory for landlords.

Beside mandatory general insurance, some insurance that is good to have are contractors all risks insurance, glass liability, etc, etc. You may find more details in this article

What is MCST?

MCST stands for Management Corporation Strata Title and refers to the management body of a building (usually a condominium or building shared with many office owners or shop owners). The management body handles the routine maintenance and caretaking of the building. Periodically, the MCST will handle annual reports, AGM (annual general meeting) and handling of pollings for renovation, refurbishing, change of designs, and enbloc affairs.

The MCST is usually a single corporate set up to manage the building or it can be a large corporation MCST managing many different buildings to pool resources and for economies of scales.

What is MC?

In many cases, the MC is a short form of referring to the MCST.

In some cases, residents refer to MC as the management council, a representative body that is elected from residents or owners of properties in the building.

Almost all affairs of daily maintenance of the building will be handled and referred to the MCST.

What are some insurance that MCST should ask property owners to protect the building and their properties

Here are some insurance that is critical for protecting the properties and MCST

  1. Fire insurance (All risks) for the structure of the building
  2. Public liability (especially for commercial building)
  3. Contractors All Risks (CAR) insurance for landlords who are renovating.

Fire insurance All Risks Insurance for MCST and building owners

A devasting fire can cause the structure of the building to be severely affected and it is going to cost a big sum of engineer fees to assess and certify the building is safe and able to operate as normal.

PMD charging fire no insurance coverage

PMD charging fire no insurance coverage

If the civil engineer finds that the building’s structural integrity is badly damaged in the fire, the building can be deemed a risk, and steps must be taken to rectify the damage. The worst scenario (not unthinkable) is that the building is a total loss and the MCST and landlords must take action to demolish the building at its costs.

This is why fire insurance all risks coverage for the building and structure is so important as the cost of such an event is high and devasting.

All HDB owners are required by law to buy fire insurance of the structure (covering only the building and not the belongings and furnishing in their own homes) precisely because they are worried of devasting events that render a building unliveable.

MCST can also request landlords to have better fire insurance coverage to cover common areas and their own private area liabilities to have peace of mind.

Public Liability policy for commercial building MCST

For many commercial buildings, the public is allowed to enter and use the facilities in the building. A public liability policy helps the MCST to answer any disastrous event that may happen to a member of the public.

A simple case would be someone falling down due to the slippery floor from a rainstorm. The person may sue the building for not managing the wet floor properly due to bad rain cover design or lack of a warning sign.

Ang Mo Kio shophouse fire disrupted business

Ang Mo Kio shophouse fire disrupted business

Other examples can be of visitor cars damaged by trees falling or items dropping from higher heights damaging the visitor’s cars.

A simple public liability policy can help answer any legal or liability case arising from public’s disputes with the MCST

Contractors All Risks to cover landlords and MCST

All buildings will have new landlords or new tenants moving in and out over the years. And any new landlords or tenants may want to do a heavy renovation or simple retrofitting of the premises.

An inexperienced renovation contractor or even an experienced one can have accidents that damage common corridors, common shared facilities or damage building pipes, wires, etc.

Renovation Contractors All Risk Package

Renovation Contractors All Risk Package

In some cases, renovation work may damage nearby neighbour’s properties and incur high hotel bills if the resident needs to live somewhere else temporarily. Some unfortunate cases have occurred where neighbours got injured and racked up high medical and hospital bills to be paid by the renovating units.

Most residential MCST now insists the renovation contractors sign indemnity forms to compensate them in the event of accidents or mishaps. However, we know that many contractors in Singapore are small businesses and would not survive a big financial setback.

The MCST would have no way to seek compensation if the business goes bankrupt. Hence the recent trend is for MCST to request for the contractor and the renovating units to purchase Contractors all risks insurance to cover the period of renovation.

You can refer here to our MCST insurance solution.

f your MCST or you need any more information, feel free to email HM consultancy at sales @ hminsg. com or whatsapp us at 82003255