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Aviva Home Insurance vs HDB Fire Insurance – What’s the Difference?

Picture this: It’s the end of the workweek, you decide to unwind by lighting a few aromatherapy candles and putting on your Spotify Zen playlist. You drift off to sleep but awake as there’s suddenly smoke everywhere – a strong wind blew, causing the curtain to catch on fire.

Many of us take home insurance for granted as it is an optional purchase. This, however, is a mistake as property is a big investment and thus warrants quality research and not just settling for the cheapest policy available. Another assumption is that fire insurance (which is mandatory) is the same as home insurance. Homeowners don’t realise that fire insurance only covers for the physical structure of the flat, and nothing else.

Aviva Home Insurance vs HDB Fire Insurance

While natural disasters aren’t typical in Singapore, at-home incidents (fires, burst pipes, falling trees, theft, minor accidents) are more common than we think – and often it may not even be of our own doing. In 2019, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) reported a 7.8% increase in the overall number of fire-related incidents. The cause? Everything from accidents in the kitchen, careless disposal of cigarette butts, to personal mobility devices spontaneously catching fire. As recent as August 2020, an incident at Toa Payoh saw a 20th floor flat catch fire. The damage not only caused 300 people to be evacuated but the fire also spread to its 21st-floor neighbour.

In such scenarios, it is not unreasonable to expect that one would be fully protected – except that it isn’t. What’s covered, from the cost of renovations, home contents (air conditioning units, jewellery, audio-visual equipment, even the food in the freezer) varies depending on the insurer and policy chosen. For instance, HDB Fire Insurance covers the cost of re-instating damaged internal structures, fixtures, as well as areas built and provided by HDB. However, it does not include coverage for home contents, redoing renovations and personal belongings. So in the case of the Toa Payoh fire, if the owners of the 20th and 21st floor flat only had an HDB fire policy and nothing else, any damage outside of the specified inclusions would be borne wholly on a personal expense basis – even if the fault wasn’t theirs.

Home insurance policies like Aviva’s includes more than the protection of one’s home contents and renovations. Whether you’re an owner, landlord or tenant, one of the key benefits of Aviva’s policy is that it allows you to customise coverage to cater for your needs and preferences. Taking into account that the world is still in the middle of a global pandemic, it also intuitively covers real-life scenarios that could crop up.

  • Home cleaning expenses: If you’re faced with unexpected cleaning expenses due to exposure to an infectious disease, the policy will reimburse you so that the additional financial outlay won’t add one more layer of stress. (Up to $500, Aviva Plus Plan)
  • Emergency cash allowance: If your home suddenly becomes uninhabitable for at least 5 days, there’s an allowance for essentials so you don’t have to live without your home comforts while in a transient space. (Up to $1,000, Aviva Plus Plan)
  • Utilities bill relief: Worried about not being able to pay your bills following an unforeseen event? This policy has an utilities bill relief that’ll help ease the financial strain as you rebuild your life. (Up to $1,000 for a maximum of 3 months, Aviva Standard and Plus Plan)
  • Alternative accommodation/Loss of rent: Aviva’s Home Insurance pays for temporary accommodation costs should your home be affected by mishaps – whether they occur while you’re in the apartment or overseas. (Up to $12,000, all plans)
  • First loss basis: In the event that one’s home contents or renovations are underinsured, customers will still receive the full sum. (No penalty for underinsured for home contents, renovations)

| Related: Home insurance: do I need it and how much do I need? |

With so many of us staying home more during this Covid-19 pandemic, cooking, exercising and engaging in more online activities (shopping, gaming, grocery delivery etc..) two optional riders may prove to be very useful.

  • Family cyber risk protector (up to $3,000 for loss related to identity theft and separately up to $3,000 for online retail disputes)
  • Family personal accident (up to $50,000 for you and your family, applicable worldwide and up to $3,000 in case home modifications need to be made to aid mobility)

How to choose the right home insurance

Ultimately, choosing the right home insurance product falls to the policy that best suits your priorities, home scenario and lifestyle. For instance, if you have a domestic pet, you’ll want to choose Aviva’s Plus Plan and not the Lite Plan, which doesn’t take into account the accidental death of a furry friend. If you cook and invest in premium, imported ingredients, consider adding on the optional Food in Freezers inclusion that pays out $500 for loss or damaged food. If you ride a bicycle or personal mobility device (PMD), go with a policy like Aviva’s that pays out $300 for any loss or accidental damage.

Lastly, Aviva provides a free upgrade to the next higher tier of plan on top of existing promotion in recognition of their hard work. For everyone else, enjoy a limited time offer of 20% savings when you purchase a home insurance policy now.

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