Home Insurance

Rishabh and Shweta Jain are not insurance brokers, but they can convince you to buy home insurance against natural calamities. A couple of months after the couple moved to their new flat in Navi Mumbai, a devastating fire caused by an electrical short circuit destroyed all the appliances and furniture worth 8 lakhs. Rishabh admitted that the bank had offered a home insurance against natural calamities along with the home loan, but they did not feel the need for the cover back then.

The Jains are not the only ones who have made this mistake. There are only a few Indians who understand the importance of home insurance against natural calamities. Home insurance is an ignored product in India. Given the fury and frequency of natural catastrophes in India, one would think that home insurance against natural calamities would be in great demand. However, it is not.

Due to lack of awareness, home insurance against calamities has not got its due in India. A crucial fact is that home insurance against natural calamities is very cheap in India. Even though the natural disaster insurance is very cheap, less than 1% of people who can afford home insurance actually buy the cover. This is a surprising trend as India is disaster-prone. 30% of Indian landmass is prone to earthquakes with severe intensity, while another 27% is prone to moderate earthquakes. 12% of India is prone to floods and 76% of the coastline is prone to tsunamis and cyclones.

It is disheartening to note that although losses estimated by the government stand at few thousand crore, the recoverable or the property insured stand at only a meager 5% to 10%. The national loss will come down with better management of insurance. It is advisable that individuals insure themselves with natural disaster insurance, well in advance, instead of seeking relief and subsidy from the government in the event of a calamity.

In India, home insurance against natural calamities does not come as a standalone policy, but is offered as a built-in coverage with home insurance policies. Most of the policies offer natural disaster insurance coverage against earthquakes, lightning, flood, cyclones, landslides, tornadoes, fire, falling trees and explosions. When you opt for a home insurance policy, it is important that you read the fine print of the documents carefully to examine the items that have been excluded and included. If you feel that certain adverse events need to be incorporated, you can talk to the insurance company to get it included under the natural disaster insurance coverage. Although it may increase your premium, it will provide you with an exhaustive coverage. Most home insurance policies do not automatically cover home business or a small business that you operate from your home.

Here is a Brief Overview of Insurance Plans That are Offered by Various Insurers and their Coverage:

Insurers

Coverage

ICICI Lombard's Home Insurance

Fire, explosion and implosion, earthquake, lightning, storm, cyclone, tempest, tornado, hurricane, flood and inundation, missile testing operation, subsidence, landslides and rocks ides.

ICICI Lombard's Standard Fire and Special Perils

Fire, lightening, riot, strike, storm, cyclone, flood and terrorism.

HDFC Ergo's Home Insurance

fire, lightning, explosion and implosion, storm, cyclone, typhoon, tempest, hurricane, tornado, flood and inundation, earthquake, volcanic eruption and other convulsions of nature

HDFC Ergo's Standard Fire and Special Perils

Fire, lightning, explosion, storm, tempest, flood, inundation group of perils.

Tata AIG's Home Secure Supreme

fires, earthquakes, floods, lightning, thunderstorms, storms, inundation, cyclones, landslides, etc

Bharti AXA Smart Home

fire and allied perils, including earthquake

 

Note: This is not a comprehensive list and is for comparison purpose only.

A fire or flood may not just damage the structure but may ruin everything else inside the house. Thus, it is essential to insure the contents of the house against damage. Insurance companies have a deadline within which you have to inform them about the loss incurred. The deadlines vary from 7 to 15 days. Even if you are not in a position to file a claim, it is important to call the insurer and inform them about the loss. You can intimate some firms even with a SMS or an email.

Before filing a natural disaster insurance claim, it is necessary that you lodge an FIR at your nearest police station. You will have to submit a copy of the FIR along with the claim form. In most cases, an FIR serves as a proof for loss and the claims are settled on this basis. However, when higher amounts are involved, the company may get extra cautious and ask for additional proof. A surveyor may be sent by the company not only to inspect the house, but to prepare a report as well.