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Home Insurance

What is Home Insurance?

House provides shelter for living, and it is built upon the emotions and the efforts of the people residing in the house. Coming back to your house gives you a mental peace and warmth after a day's hard work. However, your home might be threatened with damages caused by natural and man-made calamities. Home is an asset, and you must secure it from any threat or damages. Home Insurance is a type of property insurance aimed to protect a home and its contents against damages. A Home Insurance policy provides financial protection in case of any damage happens to your home. A disaster may ruin your house, just buy a Home Insurance and get a cover for your home against losses/damages.

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Why should I Buy Home Insurance?

Any damage to your home could depress you both emotionally and financially, and that’s why you should seek cover to insure your home. Listed below are the top reasons to buy Home Insurance.

Protection from Natural Calamities

Nepal Earthquake and floods in southern part of India in the year 2015 took many lives; many homes were shattered and destroyed accounting it to an enormous financial loss.With a home insurance plan, you can keep your home protected against all types of ‘Natural disasters' such as earthquakes, cyclones, landslides, floods, and typhoons.

Protection from Man Made Risks

Despite installing security equipment and safety gadgets, man-made threats such as robberies, riots, strikes, thefts, and terrorism may pose the potential risks to your home. Although every insurer may not offer inbuilt protection against such events, you can ask them to cover against these damages as well.

Safeguard Your Home and its contents

Whether you are living in a housing society or renting your apartment, it would be a wise decision to get your home insured. Buying a home insurance also protects your home against fire and burglaries. Moreover, it also covers your personal ‘possessions' inside your homes such as Household appliances, jewelry, a piece of art, paintings and other valuables.
There are other structures that are a part of your home, but not attached to your homes such as a garage or shed. By choosing the right home insurance plan, these parts of your home can also be insured. Thus, by buying a home insurance plan, your home, and its contents are completely secured.

Covers Third Party Liability

A disastrous event may occur when a third party stays or visits your home. Few home insurance plans also offer the third party liability benefit that protects you against the legal liability that may arise due to damage or bodily injury to the third party.

Assured Peace of Mind

Any damage or loss occurring to your house or contents in it, will prove disastrous. But with home insurance you have a financial assistance to deal with and an assured peace of mind in such scenarios.

Who can buy Home Insurance Policy?

• Owner of an Independent building/ flat/ apartment can buy a home insurance policy for his/her building and its contents.

• Any tenant can also ensure the ‘contents’ in the Independent building/ flat/ apartment occupied by them for residential purpose.

What kinds of Home Insurance Plans can I opt from?

Following are the three most common types of Home Insurance Plans, you can choose from. The perils covered under the plans may vary from insurer to insurer.

1. Building Insurance

This type of home insurance policy provides insurance cover to any the home structure or building against damage because of the man made purposes or natural calamities to the amount of providing claim for the full value of reconstruction in case of complete destruction or as per the defined terms and conditions in the policy.

2. Content Insurance

This type of home insurance policy covers the contents of the house as they also hold a high value and any loss of such contents may result in a high financial loss. Content insurance pays for damage or loss of personal possessions located within the home. With contents insurance, the goods inside your house are covered against loss and damage caused by fire, flood, theft, or other perils mentioned in the policy. Contents may include important documents, jewelry, refrigerator, TV, piece of art, etc. are covered under this home insurance policy.

3. Building + Content Insurance

This is a comprehensive kind of home insurance policy which will provide protection against any damage which happens to the structure of home and also the valuable contents of your house.This kind of insurance cover provides a total protection to your home and will be a foolproof arrangement by providing financial assistance in terms of claim for any loss or damage due to the covered perils in your home insurance policy.

What are the Benefits of Buying a Home Insurance ?

Benefits under the home insurance policy is based on what you want your home insurance policy to cover for you. The home insurance policy with many insurers can be custom fit to the needs.The basic coverage which is provided under the home insurance is as follows

Fire and Allied Perils Cover

The home insurance policy covers man made and natural calamities under standard fire and special perils policy. Following are the perils covered under the standard fire and special perils policy

• Fire

• Storm, Cyclone, Tornado, Flood and Inundation

• Riot, Strike, Malicious Damage

• Lightning

• Impact Damage

• Aircraft damage

• Bursting and/or overflowing of water tanks, apparatus and pipes

• Explosion / implosion

• Subsidence and Landslide

• Missile testing operations

• Leakage from automatic sprinkler installations

• Bush Fire

Package Cover

Such policies are basically customized home insurance policies which offer basic protection against fire and allied perils to the structure and the contents of the house as opted and also offers protection against theft and burglary, third party liability, earthquake, terrorism,etc. as opted by the policyholder.

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What is the Basis of Sum Assured?

For Building/Structure Cover, the Sum Assured of the insured property is calculated based on either of the methodologies.

Agreed Value

Under this methodology, the sum assured (SA) of the BUILDING is computed as per the total value of the property which is calculated as

Agreed Value based SA = Total area of the insured property x Price per square feet

You may enhance the sum assured in case you have added value to the property by adding latest a new feature to your home.

Reinstatement Value

Under this, the sum assured is calculated is based on cost of reconstruction.

Reinstatement Value based SA = Total area of the insured property x Per square feet cost of construction as on the date of seeking insurance

Indemnity Value

Under this evaluation methodology, depreciation plays an important role, as it is deducted from the total value of the insured property.

Indemnity Value based SA = Total value of the property as on date – Depreciation Amount

For CONTENT COVER, the Sum Assured of the insured contents is calculated based on either of the methodologies

Replacement Value

Sum assured of the contents is based on the value of replacement of the same contents of the same property with new one without accounting for depreciation.

Indemnity Value

Under this methodology, the sum assured is calculated the cost of attaining the new content less depreciation allowance.

How is my Home Insurance Premium Calculated?

Following are the key factors that help compute the premium amount for home insurance.

Coverage

While buying a home insurance, it needs to ensure whether you will insure the house structure, its contents, or both. If you insure both the structure of your home and its contents, you will be charged with the high premium amount.The more the scope of coverage, the higher is the premium.

Age of Property

Old homes are more susceptible to damage due to the wear and tear. Thus, old constructed houses attract the higher premium amount for a home insurance policy, whereas newly build properties are enhanced with several home protection measures will have lower premiums comparatively.

Property Dimensions

The cost of reconstruction will probably be more for a larger property, and so the cost of the reconstruction element goes up in home insurance. The higher cost of reconstruction also tends to increase the premium amount.

Location of Property

Location of your to be insured home is nestled at a high risk prone area for natural or man-made calamities, your insurer will charge the premiums at a higher rate.

Value of Contents

The number of valuable items or contents you want to get it insured will attract higher premiums as the the sum at risk for the insurer will increase, and the insurer will cover the higher risk at an elevated premium amount.

Security Systems

Enabling high quality locks, smoke detectors, fire alarms, and burglar alarm will ensure more security of your home, so there are lesser chances of loss/damage to your property. Your insurer will then charge the premium amount at a lower rate.

Add-on Covers

If you opt for add-on covers such as cover for valuables, third-party liability cover, loss of rent, and burglary cover, it simply enhances protection for your home. Choosing add-on covers also attract additional premium amount as the scope of coverage is enhanced by opting for riders/add ons.

Voluntary Excess

Voluntary excess in the amount of loss which the policyholder accepts to bear in case of a claim. It is the amount that policyholder pays towards a claim from his/her pocket. If you choose a higher voluntary excess, your insurer will charge lower premiums as part of the claim is shared between the policyholder and the insurer on the predefined amount or percentage.

What are Some Smart Buying Tips?

Following are some of the key buying tips you can follow to buy the right Home Insurance Policy.

Read the fine Print: It is important to read the policy document and the terms and conditions associated with it. Understand the benefit it offers and avoid any surprises at the claims stage.

Take Preventive Measures: It would be a proactive move to install a security system and take security measures such as keeping all valuables under lock, using heavy duty door locks, installing CCTV cameras, etc. It reduces the premium amount as such measures reduce the chance for rising claims.

Opt for longer tenure: Usually, such policies have a tenure for one year and need to get renewed, but many insurers offer a longer term which is more than one year and offers discounts and special premium rate for long tenured policies. You may opt for such policies to get a wider time spread coverage at lesser price.

Buy Requisite Add-On Covers: By opting the requisite add-on covers, you can enhance cover for your home insurance policy. But don’t unnecessarily buy riders. Analyse your needs and requirements and buy the apt add on covers to enhance protection which helps you deal with a specific contingency affecting your property.

Evaluate the Sum Assured Correctly: Sum assured is the amount that an insurer pays as a compensation in case of loss/damage caused to your home. It is also essential to get the adequate sum insured which does not result in over insurance or under insurance, so that at the time of claims settlement, you are provided with the claim amount proportional to the damage.

Assess your Policy Frequently: It’s wise to assess your home insurance policy at regular time intervals to confirm that your home and its contents are properly covered.

Check on Insurer’s background: It is imperative to check and assess the insurer on certain parameters which may include claims settlement ratio of the insurer, customer service quality, claim process, etc. before buying the home insurance policy.

Compare before you make a final decision: Prior to making a final decision, it is imperative to compare the features and benefits of different home insurance policies. By comparing, you would be able to get a right estimate about the plans available and then you can easily choose the best one which is the best fit.

Is there any Add on Cover/Rider with Home Insurance Plan?

A right home insurance policy provides cover against all eventualities. Nowadays, specific perils pose the potential threats to the safety of your home and its valuables. By opting add-on covers, you have the option to enhance the protection with your basic Home Insurance Policy.

Following are the key add-on covers, you can opt for:

Cover for Household Appliances

This add-on cover protects your household items such as television, air conditioner, washing machine, refrigerator, and many more against loss or damage.

Cover for Valuables

This add-on cover provides extra protection to your precious items such as important documents, jewelry, luxury watches, and much more against loss or damage.

Burglary and Theft Cover

This add-on cover provides cover against damage to the structure and/or its content caused due to burglary and theft.Some insurers offer it as an inbuilt cover, whereas with some of them offer it as an add on cover with the base home insurance policy.

Earthquake Cover

Under this cover, the insurance plan covers loss or damage to the insured property due to earthquake or loss or damage due landslide or rockslide occurred, caused by the earthquake. It is an inbuilt cover with some policies, but also offered as an additional cover with the base policy.

Terrorism Cover

This add-on cover provides protection to your house and its contents against the acts of terrorism. It’s a vital cover in today’s times of international disturbances.

Public Liability Coverage

If any loss/ damage caused to a third party or their property inside the insured’s home, then the third party liability arises to payoff for such damages. In this scenario, this home insurance policy pays for such damages.

Personal Accident

This add on covers the death or bodily injury of the insured person by means of any accident or external force subject to the terms and conditions subject to the limits of the insurer’s liability.

Rent Cover

This add-on cover provides protection for expenses towards rent for the time period you have to shift for repair work in your house or due to some calamity your house is damaged. The benefits under this cover is that the policy will cover the additional amount of rent during the specified scenarios.

(The add-on covers and its benefits may vary from insurer to insurer)

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What is Not included in my Home Insurance Plan?

Following are the contingencies that are not included in the Home Insurance Plan:

• Willful destruction of property

• Loss or damage caused by wear & tear and/or depreciation

• Loss of property due to war/ nuclear war, act of foreign country, or invasion

• Loss of cash, antiques and collectibles

• Loss or damage caused to any electronic equipment owing to over-usage

• Loss or damage to property left unoccupied for more than a specified time period

Do’s and Dont’s of Home Insurance

Read the Do’s and Don’ts related to your Home Insurance.

Do’s Dont’s
Provide the complete and correct details, address and location of the house and contents for the evaluation in the proposal form Conceal or misrepresent facts about the property & its fixtures in the proposal form
Have all the relevant documents ready and safe, to prove ownership and the value of the assets insured Falsify the value of your property while tak ing a home insurance policy to seek lower premiums
Assess the premium rates from multiple insurers Believe blindly on your insurer or intermediary. Research and get answers to all your queries
Take adequate Sum Assured to avoid low financial payout at the time of claim Delay the decision of buying a home insurance if you possess high value content and property
Understand the technical jargons mentioned in your policy from an insurance expert to comprehend the benefits correctly Assume everything is covered. Know about the plan exclusions in detail

Home Insurance Glossary

Here are the basic terminologies used in a Home Insurance Plan

Ownership of property: It refers the legal ownership to possess a property (land, building, or other item).

Building: It means a structure (above plinth and foundation excluding land area) unless specifically mentioned. It includes fixtures & fittings and connected utilities belonging to the insured.

Contents: It means the items owned or held by the insured and is accountable for and use primarily for domestic purpose.

Jewellery: It means articles of precious metals such as gold, silver, or other precious stones.

Market value: It refers the replacement value of a property after deducting the depreciation.

Specified Items: It refers to jewelry, antiques, curios, and other works of art & collection.

Valuables: It means carpets, photographic equipment, musical instruments, audio video equipment, telephone instruments, mobile phones, computers, and palmtops.

Actual Cash Value: It is the market value of a home before and after its loss or damage.

Deductible: The amount a homeowner needs to pay when raising a claim.

Depreciation: The estimated decline in value of the property over a period of time owing to aging, wear & tear, and other relevant factors.

Peril: The exposure to a possible risk of being lost, injured, or destroyed, etc.

Burglary: It refers to theft or any attempt to theft following the forcible and violent entry to the building.

Act of God: Something that damages or destroys your home and its contents, which is beyond human control such as Tsunami, flood, earthquake, etc.

Replacement Cost Coverage: It covers the cost to replace damaged property or items at current costs without any deductions towards depreciation.

Home Insurance Companies

Bajaj Allianz Home Insurance

BHARTI AXA Home Insurance

HDFC ERGO Home Insurance

ICICI Home Insurance

ICICI Lombard Home Insurance

SBI Home Insurance

TATA AIG Home Insurance

Chola Ms Home Insurance

Future Generali Home Insurance

IFFCO Tokio Home Insurance

Oriental Home Insurance

Reliance Home Insurance

Royal Sundaram Home Insurance