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If you’re looking to hire a maid, or renew an existing maid’s contract, you’re not alone. Today about one in five Singaporean household has a maid; the number of foreign domestic workers in the country passed 250,000 in 2019.
Read on to learn what you need to know about getting maid insurance that covers you and your employee against a range of eventualities.
When should I get maid insurance?
You’ll need to have maid insurance in place before your domestic helper starts working for you – it’s compulsory. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) says your maid needs to be provided with personal accident cover of S$60,000 per year. They’ll also need medical cover of S$15,000, in order to meet the costs of in-patient care and day surgery if they get sick or suffer an accident.
A security bond applies for non-Malaysian workers
It is your responsibility to provide a security bond of S$5,000 for each foreign worker that you employ. Your bond, which is often included as part of an insurance package, can be held by any bank or insurance company in Singapore. This is not a legal requirement if you’re hiring a maid from Malaysia.
If you’re hiring a maid from the Philippines, you’ll have to issue the Philippine Embassy with a Letter of Guarantee for a bond of S$7,000.
What are the different types of cover?
A good maid insurance policy will protect you and your domestic helper against a range of unexpected costs. Covers you should look for include:
Medical expenses. A plan can offer cover for a range of medical fees, typically with certain exclusions such as for cosmetic treatment.
GP consultations. Treatments can be included under medical expenses, as long as it’s following an accident or illness.
Critical illness. Cover if your maid is diagnosed with or suffers a serious illness.
Theft cover to protect your belongings.
Liability to third parties.
Cover for your maid’s belongings.
Replacement maid. Some policies help you to find a new domestic helper.
Special grant due to death.
Security bond booster. A contribution to your S$5,000 security bond. FWD Insurance is an example of a provider who pays this directly to MOM on your behalf.
Refund on cancellation. You may be able to get part of your premium back if you need to terminate your policy in the first few months.
When you’re shopping around for maid insurance, always check any cover limits so that you know the total sum of protection that you’ll have. Also, be aware that a policy must have an additional two months of cover as standard. This is to offer protection in case your maid overstays in Singapore after their work permit has expired. This is why you’ll see insurance policies of up to 14 or 26 months.
What isn’t covered by maid insurance?
Every maid insurance policy in Singapore will have a number of typical exclusions. You’ll usually be refused a claim for events related to:
Intoxication by alcohol or drugs
Breach of work permit
Making a claim you know to be false or exaggerated in any way
Sexually transmitted infections
Pre-existing medical conditions, in most cases
Pregnancy, childbirth or abortions
Psychiatric care (unless explicitly stated otherwise)
There are likely to be a number of other exclusions, so make sure you check each policy document carefully so that you’re aware of what you can claim for and what you can’t.
How can I reduce the cost of maid insurance?
If you can afford to pay a higher up-front cost you could choose a 26-month policy, rather then one that’s 14-months. A policy with a longer time period can work out cheaper per month.
Comparing a range of quotes from many different insurance providers is another good way to find a cheaper insurance premium that meets your needs.
Frequently asked questions
To hire a maid you need to be at least 21 years old, have proof of income and not be bankrupt. Other factors may be taken into account.
No, you should not keep your maid’s permit. Your maid will be required to carry their original permit at all times in case they are asked to show it to a public officer.
You should get a renewal notice from MOM about five weeks before your maid’s work permit is due to expire. Insurance providers will typically assist you with the renewal process, one example of which is with NTUC Income.
No, you can’t ask your worker to pay for any part of the bond.
Yes, your maid is your employee so it is up to you to provide access to medical treatment and to bear the cost of their medical care, including hospitalisation. This is why getting the right maid insurance in place is a must!
James Martin is a senior writer at Finder. He has written on a range of finance and business topics for over five years and his work has been featured in publications including The Irish Times, Companies 100, In Business and Q Magazine (UK). As a trained journalist, James can drill into the finer details of financial products to help you save time and money. In his spare time, James is a committed sports fan, novel reader and Thai food enthusiast.
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