Dubai: Is your home insured against fires, floods or other accidents? If you have been thinking of getting your home and domestic possessions insured in the UAE, here is all you need to know.
Where do I start?
The easiest way to start your search for the right home insurance would be to go online and look at the options being provided by various insurance companies or brokers.
Applications for home insurance can be completed online, with most companies offering the service on their websites.
However, the type of policy relevant to you will depend on whether you are the property owner or not.
Bana Shomali, founder of servicemarket.com, said: “If you are a homeowner and plan to rent out the apartment, then you only need to sign up for a ‘building cover’ as getting home contents insurance will be your tenant’s responsibility. If you are a tenant, then consider both home contents cover, and personal possessions cover is recommended. Home contents insurance is to insure the furniture or other immovable items at home and personal possessions policies cover items that can be removed from one’s home, such as jewellery, smartphones and laptops.”
If you are a homeowner and plan to rent out the apartment, then you only need to sign up for a ‘building cover’ as getting home contents insurance will be your tenant’s responsibility. If you are a tenant, then consider both home contents cover, and personal possessions cover is recommended. Home contents insurance is to insure the furniture or other immovable items at home and personal possessions policies cover items that can be removed from one’s home, such as jewellery, smartphones and laptops.
Depending on which category you fall under, you can look at the insurance policies provided by various companies and select the one that suits you.
What should I look for?
If you are completely new to the world of home and contents insurance, these are some of the aspects you should look out for in determining which policy makes most sense for you:
What are the insured events?
Does your policy cover fire and explosion, flooding, storm and rainwater, lightning, accidental breakage and impact damage like falling trees? Find out the events that you are insured against.
“In case of a fire, check whether you would be provided with an alternative accommodation while the house is being repaired. Other additional benefits can include compensation for lost rent and replacement of key documents,” Shomali said.
Proof of ownership
You should also carefully examine the documentation the company requires to accept claims. The last thing you want after an accident is to get caught by surprise at the documents the company requires to validate your claim.
How much will I get paid in case of an accident?
It is important to cover your home contents carefully so that your insured sum is enough to cover the replacement cost of items.
Do you want to insure your domestic helpers?
Some home insurance policies offer an additional cover for domestic workers, which allows you to get covered against the domestic worker’s medical and repatriation expenses or in cases of death or disability. This comes at an additional cost.
Some policies also offer additional services like home maintenance assistance. It is important to look at the policy as a complete package and evaluate how suitable it is for you.
Do I need to list every item at home?
According to Hitesh Motwani, Chief Marketing Officer of insurancemarket.ae, you can select a policy that covers items in your home altogether. You would then need to list any items that are above the set ‘Single Article Limit’ or ‘Single Item limit’. The Single Article Limit is the maximum you can claim on your contents insurance for any one item that is damaged or stolen.
What this means is that any item worth less than this amount, typically Dh10,000 according to Motwani, does not need to be listed.
“All key assets and personal belongings like high-end expensive watches or expensive jewellery need to be declared to the insurers specifically. Typically, each item over Dh10,000 needs to be declared to the insurer prior to policy issuance,” he said.
It is important to note that if an item is particularly expensive, it can push up your policy premium.
All key assets and personal belongings like high-end expensive watches or expensive jewellery need to be declared to the insurers specifically. Typically, each item over Dh10,000 needs to be declared to the insurer prior to policy issuance.
I don’t have receipts or other proof of purchase, will that be a problem?
While you do not need to provide receipts or proof of purchase while getting the insurance policy, you would need to provide them when making a claim.
“In case the insured individual does not have a bill, any other relevant or reasonable proof of purchase, like a credit card receipt, may also be accepted depending on the insurance company,” Motwani said.
“Nowadays, many retailers have online billing, too. So, all clients need to do is call and request them for a copy of the invoice. If items have been purchased through online shopping, it becomes even easier,” he added.
How and when can I claim my home content insurance?
Home insurance typically covers fires, explosion, lightning, floods, earthquakes and any accidental damage. However, it is important to read the fine print of your insurance to make sure you know exactly what your policy offers and what their terms and conditions are.
Home insurance policies, however, do not cover wear and tear and maintenance issues.
“Repair of a broken water pipe is something that is not covered under insurance as that comes under basic maintenance. However, if this has led to a leakage, which has damaged the items at home due to flooding, the repair or replacement of the content is covered,” Motwani said.
Why should I get home insurance?
In the UAE, home contents insurance is not very common. A 2016 survey by ServiceMarket found out that only nine per cent of residents in the UAE have home insurance.
“The same study revealed that the primary reason why so many people did not get home insurance is that they think they don’t need it as renters. It’s important to keep in mind that the landlord’s insurance policy only covers the building and not the home contents for which they are responsible. Other respondents in the survey said that their reason was not knowing enough about home insurance, they thought home insurance is too expensive, planned to stay in the UAE for a short time, or thought that the risk of damage is low,” Shomali said.
How much will it cost me?
Another reason you may be staying away from getting home insurance is because of the additional cost. However, considering the coverage it provides against accidents and damage, the policy premium can be cheaper than you think.
According to Motwani, depending on the size of your home, ownership status and high-value items, your policy can cost the following:
• 1-,2-,3-bedroom apartments – Annual premiums start from Dh200 to Dh1,000
• 1-,2-,3-bedroom villa – Annual premiums start from Dh1,50
• For home owners, home insurance premiums range from 0.02 per cent to 0.07 per cent of the total property value.
So, if you were on the fence regarding home insurance, you can now cover your personal possessions and domestic belongings to ensure your peace of mind.