Why it’s a good idea for renters to take out home insurance

It provides coverage for many incidents relating to your belongings and living space

If your home is made uninhabitable and you have home insurance, your plan could even include a hotel stay until the property is back in shape. Photo: Alamy
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You will have often heard of the term “home insurance” and want to know what it covers and what it doesn’t.

Here’s a chance to learn why home insurance may be a good idea, even if you don’t own a lot of expensive stuff.

People usually see home insurance as offering limited protection from theft or natural disasters.

When was the last time a volcano erupted in the UAE? Or when was the last time you heard of a home burglary in Abu Dhabi, which is one of the world’s safest cities?

Home insurance isn’t very expensive

Car insurance? We buy it. Health insurance? We cannot live without it in the UAE. But home insurance? Isn’t that what my landlord needs?

Not really. The reality is that your landlord isn’t liable for a burst pipe in your home. They’re also not responsible for fire damaging your property — even if you’re not the one who started the fire.

If you’re budget-minded, home insurance isn’t at the top of your list, which is fair. That’s where the second misconception comes in, in which people assume that home insurance is too expensive.

In truth, the most basic home insurance covers more than Dh50,000 ($13,614) in belongings for as little as Dh1 per day.

What’s covered?

That depends on the type of policy you buy. In a nutshell, home insurance usually provides coverage for many incidents relating to your belongings and living space, from accidentally cracking your iPhone screen to spilling coffee on your favourite rug.

Water leakages and fire incidents are also typically covered. Consider this example: you go on a 10-day holiday and return to find that your home has been flooded for the past eight days.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, 24 NOVEMBER 2015. Remnants of the fire that broke out in an apartment building on Muraqabat street in Deira next to the Crowne Plaza being cleaned up by Civil Defense. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) ID: 77265. Journalist: Nick Webster. Section: National. *** Local Caption ***  AR_2411_Deira_After_Fire-30.JPG

You check around and find that the culprit is a burst pipe in the kitchen, which has turned your home into a swamp. Your best bet is to take what you can to the dry-cleaners or throw everything away.

But if you had home insurance? You’re sorted. In fact, if your home is made uninhabitable, your plan could even include a hotel stay until the property is back in shape.

The same applies to fires, smoke damage and even accidentally dropping your laptop or phone.

Home insurance often costs less than Apple Care and can cover all your electronics, including your MacBook.

A more complex — but equally important — coverage is protection from liability claims made against you or your family while people are on your property.

For example, some policies cover up to Dh5 million for damage you or your children cause to the walls and fixtures belonging to your landlord.

Do your due diligence

But be careful when buying home insurance. Make sure you’re dealing with a reputable company. Check their Google reviews and always look for customer testimonials.

Also check whether the company’s “file a claim” page is straightforward. If not, avoid taking out a home insurance policy with them.

Read your policy carefully. Does it provide worldwide coverage for your jewellery and electronics? Is there liability coverage against your landlord or others? Does it provide coverage for your domestic helpers, too?

The last thing you should do before buying a policy is check your inventory. Before purchasing a home insurance policy, calculate the cost of all your expensive possessions.

Sometimes taking photos or a video of items such as furniture, jewellery and expensive electronics may save you days of back and forth with your insurer.

Walid Daniel Dib is the chief executive of Hala Insurance

Updated: August 05, 2022, 4:00 AM