Brazilian women are safer on the streets after a robber was put into a headlock by a young female blue belt in jujitsu in September.  Most of us lack martial arts training and need property insurance to protect our possessions.  The value of our personal property has soared. An average 20-year-old can easily carry $1000 in property value each day when only counting for her iPhone and iPad.

In safe Singapore, it is easy to shrug of buying property insurance. In the first half of this year, a decline was seen in all property crimes. Violent and serous crimes were down 44% and house break ins fell 13.3%. And 3.6% fewer people were robbed on the street, according to the Singapore police stats.

If a robber does get your sac, though, he is going to find a lot more than $20 and change in your wallet. He is less after the wallet today and more interested in the lightweight computing devices and other gadgets you carry around. Besides, soon you may have Apple Pay or another mobile wallet on your smartphone and will have no need to carry any cash.

But technology and crime is a two-way street. One of the owners of two Hondas stolen in Singapore recently believes a gadget was used to disenable his car security system. Gadgets can now be bought on the internet for $200 that interfere with or imitate the remote control signals of cars. As thieves get smarter and use smart technology, property owners are wise to be insured.

What are the types of Property Insurance In Singapore?

Property insurance in Singapore coverage can either be presented as named or open perils.

Named perils – specifically state the items covered and may include theft; vandalism or malicious mischief; fire, lightening and explosions; smoke; burst pipes, flooding and water damage; riots, malicious acts; and damage by road vehicle.

Open perils – covers physical losses to property under specified items unless an area is specifically excluded. For example home maintenance may be covered excluding wear and tear. Theft may be included but exclude a property left vacant for more than 30 days.

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The main types of insurance are homeowners, automobile and personal umbrella.

Homeowners and renters insurance – covers most types of damage to your home listed under the named perils above. Personal liability coverage is often included. If you have a mortgage, you will be required to have insurance. Renters may also be required to take out insurance by landlords. If you rent, you will want to have personal content insurance in the event of fire, flooding or theft.

Automobile insurance – provides protection against bodily harm or damage caused to a vehicle. You should also have personal liability insurance to secure financial protection against claims from third parties who have suffered bodily harm or damage for which you are found liable.

Personal umbrella insurance – is considered excess insurance, in addition to homeowners or automobile insurance. Let’s say you are at fault in a car accident and sued for damages by the other driver for $300,000, but your automobile insurance only covers $200,000. A personal umbrella policy could cover the extra $100,000 and protect your assets and having to cover it out of pocket.

Property insurance should be reviewed and updated every few years.

Climate change – Many property owners are reviewing their coverage in light of more severe weather events in recent years. Climate change and natural disasters have been responsible for many incidents of property damage for which homeowners were unprepared. The October storms that flooded the Riviera in France caused over $1 billion in damage.

Terrorism – A large increase in demand for terrorism insurance followed the September 2001 World Trade attacks, especially from commercial property owners.  It is of particular importance to high risk assets such as power plants, utilities, bridges, and so on.

Renovations – If you are doing renovations – a business racked with shoddy work and fraud – you will want to have renovation benefits in your policy. Loss of personal money and papers is not included in all basic plans. Ask for it if it is important to you. Enhanced plans cover benefits you have never thought of, including pets, domestic servant fraud, and laptops and mobile phones in the home and car.

Many plans will include emergency assistance as an added feature. In the event of a delayed police response, this option is becoming more important. In the UK, some police forces have advised homeowners to self-report theft and property crimes in non-serious cases. Expert counsel on the other end of the line can be a comfort.

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How Property Insurance In Singapore Works

So the worst has happened. Torrential rains have caused a flood and your newly finished basement has suffered extensive damage. The first step is to contact your insurance company and file a claim. You can also file a claim online. An adjuster will then visit your home and inspect the damage. He will then propose a sum of money to cover the damage.  He may offer you a reduced sum and cut a check onsite.

Typically, you have one year to file a claim. If you notice further damage, you can still file additional claims. You may receive separate checks for different types of damage.

In the event of theft or damage to personal belongings, you will be asked to make a list of all items lost and assess a value to each item. Whenever possible, provide proof of original purchase. You may be asked to replace the items and submit receipts before reimbursement is made.

What to look out for when buying property insurance in Singapore?

Not all fire insurance is alike. If you are a condo or apartment dweller, tailor-made plans such as AIA CoverMax will provide complete content fire protection, beyond mandatory fire insurance for the structure.

Coverage for protection of personal items such as laptops and mobile phones may only apply to your buildings (home) and car. Your office may have you covered at work. You will require additional theft protection to protect you for a robbery taking place on the street.

Personal liability coverage may not be part of a basic home owners policy. Liability insurance protects you and family members against claims by others who may sustain bodily injury or property damage while on your property. If someone slips and falls on your wet floor and slips a disc or your dog bites a visitor, your family can be protected against financial loss from an insurance claim. The visitor may make a claim for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, among other charges.

Infographic: Buying Private Property In Singapore

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C.E.O @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is passionate about finance, education, women empowerment and children’s issues. Anna has been featured in CNBC, Forbes, The Straits Times, Business Insider, INC and The Peak Singapore. She was nominated and selected for FORTUNE Most Powerful Women conference in 2016 (Asia) and 2015 (San Francisco, Next Gen). Anna has 10 years of experience in the financial sector and is currently a Director in Tera Capital. Her previous work experience includes positions at Citigroup, United Overseas Bank, a regional role in Business Monitor and a boutique private equity firm based in Shanghai. She graduated from Singapore Management University (Finance and Quantitative Finance).