Safeguarding your sanctuary
Getting the keys to your very own home is a major milestone, so congratulations on making this incredible step in your life! Celebrations aside, it’s important to map out a plan to keep your home protected. But with so many different options out there, where exactly does one start?
We understand your confusion, so here’s a complete lowdown on everything you must know in terms of home protection and insurance. From dealing with life’s everyday mishaps to times when disaster strikes, here is everything you need to keep you covered.
1. Protecting the stuff that holds your dream home together
Source With a home this beautiful, you’ll want to protect it from fires and floods
What it is: Fire Insurance. Covers the cost of reinstating your flat’s internal structure, including fixtures and fittings provided by HDB, but excludes household contents.
Why you need it: The Singapore Civil Defence Force reported that there were almost three thousand cases of fire in public residential premises in 2014 alone, proving that mishaps like this happen way more often than you think. Besides, if you have an outstanding HDB loan, Fire Insurance is compulsory.
How it works: The HDB Fire Insurance scheme provides the aforementioned coverage and is sold in 5 year blocks. Prices start as low as $0.30/year for a 1-room unit to $1.50/year for an executive or multi-generation flat. Click here for the lowdown on how to get this mandatory HDB plan!
2. Safeguard every last thing under your roof
Source When the glass shatters, so will your heart.
What it is: Home Contents Insurance. Protects personal items in your house, from electronics, appliances and paintings to renovated items such as kitchen cabinets and fixtures.
Why you need it: Now that you’ve got the structure of your home covered with HDB’s Fire Insurance, it’s time to take care of everything you have inside of it. Home Contents Insurance provides coverage for your belongings from elements like fire, flood, lightning and explosion as well as theft.
Imagine how costly it would be if you had to replace that 60” TV, your built-in wardrobe or your flooring that are damaged because of a burst water pipe. You’ve spent so much money on renovating and decorating your dream home as well as buying the latest electronic gadgets – why not invest a little into a Home Contents plan to protect that?
How it works: You can purchase Home Contents insurance from private insurers like Aviva. Such insurance plans usually come in various tiers, depending on how much coverage you think you’d need. For example, with Aviva, you can choose between Home Lite, Home, or Home Plus plans. The premiums range from $53/year to $160.50/year.
There’s usually no need for you to itemise each and every item in your home before you can purchase coverage. In fact, with Aviva, the purchase process is so simple and straightforward that you can complete it online in less 5 minutes flat!
There is, however, a limit on the amount you can claim. Depending on the plan type you’ve purchased, this may range from $35,000 to $100,000. So if you have a million-dollar painting hanging on your wall, you may want to consider specialised insurance to cover that painting separately!
3. Coping with unfortunate events
Source Because accidents happen.
What it is: Mortgage Insurance. This plan kicks in upon the death, terminal illness, total and permanent disability or diagnosis of critical illness.
Why you need it: You’ll probably never buy anything more expensive than a house. Under the tragic circumstances of any of the above happening, it could be a huge financial burden to shoulder. The payout from a Mortgage Insurance plan takes care of any outstanding housing loans so that your family will not have to lose their home.
How it works: Available from all HDB branches, the Home Protection Scheme (HPS) is offered to everyone who pays their monthly housing instalments via CPF savings. HPS is not compulsory, however, and you are free to purchase alternatives from private insurers if you prefer.
Premiums are dependent on your loan amount. For a 25-year loan of $300,000, Aviva’s MyProtector-Mortgage costs about $189/year*.
*The premium for Aviva’s MyProtector-Mortgage shown above reflects that of a male customer, non-smoker, 30 years old (at age next birthday), who resides in Singapore and takes up a 25-year policy with a mortgage interest rate of 3% p.a.
4. Help is available, 24/7
What it is: Emergency Home Assistance. Certain insurance providers come with the value-added service of a round-the-clock helpline.
Why you need it: Lost your keys in the middle of the night and no locksmiths are available? A great part of all Home Insurance policies from Aviva is their round-the-clock Emergency Home Assistance service. Representatives are on hand to provide immediate help, no matter the calamity.
How it works: Call their Claims Helpline at 6322 2022 and Aviva will link you up with specialists who can help solve your problem.
5. Keeping everything clean, green, and working
What it is: Service and Conservancy Charges. It is a monthly fee that all residents have to pay their Town Councils to maintain their neighbourhood estates. This covers the upkeep of common property from landscaping to the lifts.
Why you need it: Having a safe and beautiful home is no use if it’s a warzone once you step out of it. Town Councils ensure that the estates are regularly maintained and kept in tip-top condition. Our towns are kept spick and span by cleaners who go about their daily jobs, paid by your Service and Conservancy fees – play your part by chipping in for the communal operations funds!
How it works: Service and Conservancy Charges are due on the first day of every month. The fees vary slightly depending on the location of your HDB as well as the flat type, so refer to your respective town council’s website to find out the exact fees. Residents who fail to make payment within the month will have a penalty fee imposed upon them.
Paying your Service and Conservancy Charges allows Town Councils to procure and supervise service providers for mechanical and electrical, building, cleaning, security services and landscaping works. Go to your Town Council’s website and keep their number on speed dial – the next time your lift breaks down, you’ll know who to call!
Protecting what’s precious
When it comes to something as monumental as one’s own home, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Besides the cost you’ve invested in it, it’s also your source of safety, shelter, and where all your precious memories and belongings are kept.
Stay one step ahead of whatever curveballs life may throw at you.
This post was brought to you by Aviva. For more useful tips and guides on financial planning, visit their Money Banter blog.