A home is more than four walls. It is a place where you build a life with your family. After a tough day at work, it is a sanctuary where you can unwind. Making an empty space into a home is expensive. You require the right kind of furniture, the right kind of decorations, and appliances. It is also where you store your most valued possessions like artifacts, jewelry, important documents, or things, which hold sentimental, value for you. In order to protect these possessions, as well as your investment in the property, from unforeseeable damage home insurance provides coverage to help you sleep well at night.
Home Insurance Policy Features
So what exactly does a home insurance policy provide?
- Comprehensive coverage against accidental damage, fires, or breakages.
- Coverage against damage caused by natural disasters such as earthquakes, lightning strikes, dust storms, etc.
- Liability covers against any claims for the owner and occupier of the insured property.
- Coverage of legal liabilities for the tenant against any damage to the landlord’s property.
- Free customer support 24/7, 365 days a year.
Types of Home Insurance
There are three types of home insurance plans available in the UAE. To sum them up:
As the name suggests this type of home insurance covers the basic structure of the building and pays for the repair and rebuilding claims against the property. This includes everything from the walls, floors, fixtures and fittings, the garage, gates, backyards, and even fences. The damage to the property could be from intentional acts of spiteful vandalism, fire or even natural disasters.
Another feature of building insurance is third-party liability coverage against any harm, or accident that happens on the premises of the insured property. It also covers any eventual loss of use, alternative accommodations costs, and loss of income through rent.
Home Contents Insurance
Home Contents Insurance covers accidental damage, theft, and fire damage to the personal property in your home. This can include appliances, furniture, paintings, art installations, and electronics. These items are not covered in Building Insurance. They do not come with the structure of the property but are additional features. They are usually purchased and installed by the owner or tenant.
Personal Belongings Insurance
Just like Building Insurance doesn’t cover the contents of the house, similarly, Home Content Insurance doesn’t cover certain personal items. These include personal clothing, jewelry, accessories, and credit cards. Personal Belongings Insurance covers these in case of damage, or burglary. A few insurance providers offer policies where Personal Belongings Insurance provides coverage in case of financial fraud on credit/debit cards issued in the UAE.
Home Insurance Policy Inclusions
Unforeseen Circumstances and Natural Calamities
Home insurance policies cover damages to property by natural calamities such as dust storms, lightning strikes, explosions, and fires due to gas leaks, earthquakes etc. Moreover, due to the unforeseen calamities inclusion events like riots, and strikes are also covered.
Emergency Alternative Accommodations
In the event that the insured property is no longer uninhabitable, the insurance provider will reimburse the policyholder for any expenses accrued from finding emergency accommodation
Of course, this is only in the event if the damage was done by instances listed in the policy. Theft, fire, natural calamities are usually covered. However, self-induced damage is not. Furthermore, the property must indeed be unlivable. The Emergency Alternative Accommodation will not be provided if only a portion of the property is damaged, or uninhabitable.
Liability of the Tenant
Not everyone chooses to live in the property they’ve bought. Many owners choose to rent their properties out. In cases such as these, it is a paramount concern of the property owner if any damage done to the property by the tenant will be covered by the home insurance policy.
The simple answer is yes. Any damage done to a property that is rented out will be covered to the extent that is outlined in the policy. This includes any legal liability on the part of the tenant.
Stolen House Keys
Stolen or misplaced house keys are covered under home insurance. Additionally, the cost of replacing the house keys, the lock mechanism, etc. are also covered.
Does Home Insurance Hold if the Owner is Away?
It would make very little sense for home insurance to expire if the owner is away from home. People have to go away for work, or on holidays. The policy still holds in the event that the owner is away, although there is a tie restriction of 60 days. If the trip is going to last longer than 60 days you need to inform your insurance provider and keep them in the loop.
Many property owners employ house sitters when they go away on lengthy trips. This is a great idea because the property is not completely left alone, and the house sitter can take care of any repairs needed in a timely fashion. It also deters burglars and those of malicious intent.
However, legal liability comes into question for any loss or damage to third-party individuals and personal property on your insured premises. These damages are also covered.
Additionally, these liabilities are also covered if the owner is at home at the time.
Loss of Frozen Food
An extension of the unforeseen circumstances inclusion, frozen food cover basically provides for the event where all the food in your fridge and freezer is spoiled because of a power outage due to a breakdown in the public power supply.
Theft and Burglary
Home insurance includes any form of theft or burglary of the contents on the insured property. Incidentally, this can be extended to include personal belongings such as clothes, electronic gadgets, and jewelry. The only condition is that these valuables must be kept under lock and key and not left out in the open.
Personal Contents Out in the Open
Items that are kept out in the open can also be included in the home insurance policy. Things such as garden furniture, gardening tools, and decorative pieces can be covered under a home insurance policy.
When you shift houses your primary concern is whether the contents of your home will still be covered through home insurance. If a professional moving company is employed then yes, they will be covered against any damage.
Home Insurance Policy Exclusions
Every insurance provider has its own list of exclusions. Some exclusions are dependent on each individual case. Some of the most common exclusions we’ve found in our research are as follows:
- Loss or damage caused due to the wear and tear, or general property depreciation. This excludes the insurance provider from any claim because property maintenance is the owners prerogative, something the insurance provider can’t force the owner to do.
- Loss of cash. The exact amount can’t be corroborated by a bank transaction. The insurance company will not provide coverage for a loss it can’t authenticate.
- Damage or destruction of electronic devices due to over-use or use for unintended purposes. If an electronic device or appliances is misused to the point of breakdown there will be no claim. Similarly, if the device is used for something it was not made for then the insurance provider will not entertain any claims.
- In the event of war or an invasion by a foreign country, the insurance company will not be responsible for any loss or damage to property. This includes nuclear war.
How to Claim Home Insurance
Policy information is all well and good but the basic crux is how to apply for a claim if and when the need arises. Most insurance providers follow a common set of rules, although some require more documents than most. In such cases, the provider will inform you of which extra documents they need.
- It is essential to be aware of the time limit when making a claim. It is advisable to start your claims process as soon as possible. Most insurance providers appreciate a claim initiation within seven to fifteen days of the incident. Any later than the specified period and you are jeopardizing your claim.
- How you inform your insurance provider is up to you. It can be via email, SMS, or even post. As long as it is within the specified time it doesn’t usually matter. Insurance providers will inform you if there is a specific mode of receiving the information they prefer.
- Before you lodge your complaint register an FIR. This is especially important in case of theft, burglary, or malicious damage to your property.
- Take photographic evidence of the damage. All digital pictures are time-stamped. This will strengthen your claim.
- Send a copy of the FIR and the photographs to your insurance provider with your claim.
Other documents that will be needed are:
- 1. In case of a fire the report from the fire department
- 2. For disabilities, and in the event of a death, the medical reports and death certificate signed by a medical officer
- 3. The police investigation report
- 4. In case contents were replaced then the original invoice from the supplier
- 5. Invoices of owned articles that you’re making a claim for
- 6. An estimate of repair work needed, or if repairs were done than an original invoice from the repairman
- 7. In the event that the case went to court than a copy of the court summons and its eventual outcome
How Home Insurance Benefits You
A house is one of the biggest investments a person can make. With rising property costs and the cost to furnish it, you’re looking at some serious money. So why wouldn’t you insure your biggest investment?
- Insurance is important because maintaining a home costs money. Home insurance doesn’t only protect what’s inside the home but the structure itself.
- We live in an unpredictable world. Anything can happen at any time. To secure your possessions, and the contents of your home against any known or unknown threat home insurance is necessary.
- Compared to other insurance policies such as health and car insurance, home insurance is relatively cheaper on premium rates. So not only do you get to secure your greatest investment, you get to do it a low premium.
- Home insurance is great if you travel a lot for work. It’s better than hiring a guard, or a house sitter because home insurance covers damages incurred in your absence. Home insurance gives peace of mind when you travel away from home.
Tenants Need Home Insurance Too
Despite the benefits of home insurance a lot of people in the UAE don’t opt for home insurance. Since the majority of the UAE’s population are expats and don’t own any property but choose to rent, they don’t feel the need to buy home insurance.
This is a grave mistake.
Sure Building Insurance doesn’t make sense for tenants, but they need to realize that their landlord probably only has building insurance which covers damage to the structure and fixtures of the building not the contents of it. If tenants don’t buy Home Contents Insurance they’re putting the contents of their home at risk. This includes any and all electronics, expensive furniture, and home appliances, all costly items it will take a small fortune to replace in case of damage.
Similarly, Personal Belongings Insurance covers for personal items such as art pieces, clothes, jewelry etc. that have sentimental value for the owner. A tenant puts his personal belongings at great risk if they don’t get Personal Belongings Insurance.
How To Select Home Insurance in the UAE
The hub of real estate development in the Middle East, the UAE attracts all kinds of home insurance providers. So how do you choose the one that is best for you?
Compare Premiums and Coverage
The first thing you need to do is jot down what features you want to be covered in your insurance policy. If you own a building or house you’ll need Building Insurance, if you’re a tenant you’re more likely to opt for Home Contents and Personal Belongings Insurance. The premiums for all three will vary according to your needs.
Once you know what you want, compare premium rates and quotes from various insurance providers online. You don’t want to choose the first option or sales pitch made to you. Do market research and go for the insurance provider that offers the most value for the lowest premium.
The Insurance Company’s Reputation
Before making any final decisions you should always check out an insurance companies reputation in the market by reading customer reviews. Not all companies are in the market to assist you with your insurance needs. It is essential you ally yourself with one that is honest in its undertakings.
Claim Settlement Ratio
Furthermore, do check the insurance provider’s claim settlement ratio. Some companies have a bad reputation for not entertaining claims at all or taking a long time to process claims against insurance policies. Be sure that the insurance provider you choose is prompt in dealing with claims.