For most people, our homes are our most valuable investment. So, one of the most devastating things that can happen to anybody is a fire breaking out at home.
In November alone, two major residential fires were reported in Singapore.
The first one involved the evacuation of 90 residents from a Housing Development Board (HDB) block on Pipit Road. Preliminary investigations by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) indicated that the cause of the fire could have originated from a power-assisted bicycle parked outside the flat.
Later in the same month, a personal mobility device left in the living room of a HDB flat at Sembawang Drive was believed to have started a fire. Four people, including two young children, were taken to hospital for burn injuries and smoke inhalation.
In both instances, the residents’ home contents including personal belongings and electrical appliances were either destroyed directly by the fires or damaged by water pipes, which tend to burst during a fire or an explosion.
Fire incidents are not uncommon in Singapore
When it comes to fire incidents, here are some worrying statistics from the SCDF.
- In 2020, the SCDF responded to 1,877 calls related to fires. Of these, there were 184 fire injuries and one fire fatality.
- Fires caused by electrical origin were the leading cause of all fires, accounting for 545 fires, or 29 per cent of all fires, in 2020.
- Fires due to overheating of food was the next highest cause with 416 cases or at 22.2 per cent.
- There were 1,054 fire incidents in both private and public residential premises, mostly caused by unattended cooking fires.
Why you need home insurance on top of fire insurance
In Singapore, it is mandatory for HDB homeowners who take out a HDB loan to purchase and renew HDB fire insurance with HDB’s appointed insurer. This was introduced in the early 1990s to help relieve flat owners of the financial burden of repair work should a fire break out at home.
If you live in a strata-titled private property, your Management Corporation has to undertake a master fire insurance policy. Landed property owners and apartment owners without strata title are not obliged to purchase fire insurance for their property.
Shawn, a marketing director in his late thirties, is thankful to have purchased fire insurance for his one-bedroom penthouse in Geylang.
He had been living there for less than six months when a fire broke out at his rooftop area one afternoon. “Luckily, I was out that day. But my entire rooftop, gazebo and outdoor furniture were all burnt,” he recalls. “The walls, lights and water pipes were also affected, and the total damage was almost $10,000.”
Fortunately, his fire insurance policy covered the costs “so it was not as painful.”
However, fire insurance is merely a basic form of protection for your home. It insures only the building structure and permanent fixtures and fittings – or anything that existed even before you moved in.
Contrary to what many may think, fire insurance does not cover moveable items inside your home. These can range from expensive designer furniture or the latest electrical gadgets and appliances that you bought just last week to personal items with sentimental value and heirlooms.
In fact, these can form the bulk of your costs if they are damaged either by the fire directly or water-damaged by burst pipes.
As such, adequate home protection should be a combination of both fire insurance and home contents insurance. While fire insurance covers your building structure, home contents insurance – like its name suggests – protects the contents of your home.
Shawn admits that while he purchased fire insurance for his home, he did not have home contents insurance. Like many, he wasn’t aware what it is or how essential it is for all homeowners.
"Upon reflection, I now know that having comprehensive coverage is important, especially since fire insurance does not cover all aspects of damage to the home – but there are different policies that do."
The plan that covers everything from debris removal to loss of rental income
MSIG Insurance offers one of the most comprehensive, yet affordable home contents insurance.
Starting from $118.77 per year, the Enhanced HomePlus home contents insurance offers up to $270,0001 coverage for renovations, movable household items, household contents and personal belongings.
Here are some of the highlights you can enjoy with this plan:
Alternative accommodation or loss of rent: Worried about where you’ll be staying if your home is damaged? The plan takes care of your temporary accommodation costs, emergency cash, conservancy charges and even loss of rental income.
Removal of debris: It will help reduce the cost of removing debris following a fire or a flood caused by burst pipes.
Accidental death of a domestic pet: The loss of a valued member of your family can be extremely challenging. The plan also covers the loss of pets in the event of a home accident.
In addition, other benefits under MSIG Enhanced HomePlus include coverage of accidental breakage of mirrors and glass, deterioration of frozen food and fraud by your domestic helpers.
The inclusion of an Emergency Cash Allowance means that if you can’t return to your home due to the fire for five days or longer, you will receive an allowance to pay for essential clothing and personal items.
And to top it off, MSIG also provides up to $1m in Worldwide Personal Legal Liability in the event the insured causes accidental death or injury to any person or loss or damage to any property anywhere in the world.
With the MSIG Enhanced HomePlus, homeowners can enjoy the comfort of their living spaces, while being prepared for life’s uncertainties with a greater peace of mind.
From now to January 23, 2022, enjoy 20 per cent off Enhanced HomePlus plans when you buy online. To find out more about how you can better protect your home and your loved ones, visit msig.com.sg/personal-insurance/enhanced-homeplus.
1Cover and limits based on Ultimate Plan.