In an age where celebrities have taken steps to insure their most valuable assets – from a smile to a hip, it makes it vital that a necessity like one’s home to be insured. What do you think is the definition of home? Some would say that home is where you come back to at the end of a day. The above definition is completely right. Home is a place, where one is comfortable, peaceful and can enjoy with family sans any worry. This important feature of a house makes it a home, which in turn makes it imperative that one takes all the requisite steps to protect their home and its contents. One of that is, home insurance.
Before enlisting the top insurance companies, which provide good home insurance schemes, it is vital to understand what home insurance is. Home or Property Insurance is a banking product, which allows the policy holder to secure their house and its contents against risks like fire, theft or earthquake.
There are two types of home insurance policies in India:
1) A basic fire protection policy and 2) A comprehensive policy called the household package policy.
The basic benefits of home insurance are as follows:
- Protects house and its contents in case of natural and a few man-made disasters. For example, after the 2005 Bombay floods, ICICI Prudential received 1,500 property damage claims, amounting to about 200 crore. This figure would definitely help estimate how much of a help home insurance would be to the recent Chennai flood affected population.
- Relives the policy holders of worry from mishap consequences. In the recent Chennai floods, a substantial part of the population fled to Bangalore. In a dire situation as such, insuring your abode is always handy. When the floods receded, they had a house for which they would not have to pay complete damages (in case, of home insurance).
There are a few well-known insurance companies which provide comprehensive covers and are known to have simplified their claim process in times of distress. We are listing down a few of the best home insurance companies, with their benefits:
- HDFC Ergo Home Insurance: This is a joint venture between HDFC Limited and Ergo International, AG. The key features of this cover include a comprehensive cover for risks of fire, lightening, burglary, earthquake and even terrorist attacks. The policy holders can also avail a discount up to 25 % and an additional 15%, provided they have installed security systems at their house. A unique umbrella policy is offered for home owners seeking long term coverage. The claim process is also relatively quick. After a claim is filed, a surveyor will contact you in 48 hours. A claim form will be sent to the correspondence address within 7 working days and the claim will be processed as soon as possible.
- ICICI Lombard Home Insurance: ICICI is one of India’s best insurance companies in India. Its key features include a structured cover of house and its contents for a period of up to 10 years and 5 years respectively. It boasts of an up to 50% discount on structural cover and a 25% discount on contents covered under applicable conditions. One of the significant benefits is the quick policy subscribing and claim process. ICICI Lombard Home Insurance processes claims within 7 days of receiving the requisite documents.
- Tata AIG Home Insurance: Tata AIG provides four types of home insurance namely Instachoice, Home Secure Supreme, Standard fire and special perils, and Home Coupons. Starting with Instachoice, the application process is simple and does not require documentation. Home Secure Supreme not only covers appliances as old as 8 years but also provides jewellery cover. Home Coupons provides cover for acts of theft and terrorism. Lastly, Standard Fire and Special Peril, the name itself speaks for the add-ons provided. Tata AIG provides Home Insurance at a nominal premium, which is a very important feature of any insurance scheme.
- IFFCO Tokyo General Insurance Co. Ltd.:It is one of India’s prominent insurance companies and provides two customised products in the Home Insurance sector – Home Family Protector Policy and Home Suvidha Family. The former is designed to be a crowd insurance policy for several home dwellers under one policy. It can be divided into 12 sections like fire and related hazards or break-ins for which it provides protection. Home Suvidha Family provides a comprehensive cover for a single family – a protection of the house structure and its contents.
- Bajaj Allianz Home Insurance: This is a well-known name in the field of insurance. Bajaj Allianz provides three different plans for home insurance, which provides protection to all kinds of customers. It offers complete protection for properties, their contents and the interests of the insured individuals along with members of their family.It also provides protection to your home against losses from burglary, natural calamities and fire. Also, it does have options for discount and rebates. Not only does it provide the above benefits but also, the choice of renting an alternate accommodation in case of a mishap.Bajaj Allianz cleared around 23,000 or over 94 per cent of its claims within 90 days in FY13.
The above are a few well-known names in the field of Home Insurance. The following is a checklist, which the insurer must tick-off before they decide on their choice of Insurance companies:
- Premium Rate and Maturity Period must suit the property being secured and it should not be beyond customer’s reach.
- The Insurance must provide essential cover. For example, if the area that the customer lives in is prone to flooding or earthquakes, the policy must cover the above contingencies.
- The claim process should not be stringent and long. What use would be the money of, if it is not provided when needed?
- Lastly, the company of choice should be well known company with high rate of settlement.
Getting a home insurance in India is not very expensive. For instance, for a sum insured of Rs.30 lakh for the building and Rs.5 lakh for the contents for a pure fire insurance cover that guards against fire and other allied perils along with a terrorism cover would come to about Rs. 2,000 for a year. Pack in burglary and theft cover for a sum insured of Rs 5 lakh and the premium will be approximately Rs. 3200. Add additional cover for breakdown of domestic appliances for a sum insured of Rs 4 lakh, the policy will come for about Rs 5,600 for a year.
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