A Primer on Homeowner’s Insurance in the Philippines

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The Philippines is within the Pacific Ring of Fire. As such, the country is vulnerable to destructive earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. This January, the eruption of Taal Volcano spewed ash across Calabarzon and Metro Manila and caused agricultural damage worth approximately ₱577 million.

On top of these occurrences, typhoons are common, especially during the rainy season. A report from the Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC) revealed that the Philippines experiences an average of 20 typhoons per year, with a fourth of these storms being destructive.

These natural disasters have the potential to destroy residential properties. Seeing your home ruined due to acts of nature can be painful, as this property is the fruit of your hard work and success.

The good news is that you can protect your house and save yourself from financial misfortunes by getting homeowner’s insurance, also known as home insurance.

Defining Home Insurance

This type of insurance provides financial protection against home loss and damage. On top of that, it offers liability coverage against accidents that occurred both on the residential property and inside the house. Properties eligible for homeowner insurance include condos, townhouses, and other structures used as dwelling units.

Benefits of Homeowner’s Insurance

Home insurance does more than just protect your house. It also offers the following benefits:

Satisfies Requirements of the Mortgage Lender

If you’re going to purchase a new house, getting homeowner’s insurance is one of the things you’ll need to do. Mortgage lenders won’t loan you the funds unless you present proof that you’ve bought this type of insurance. They want to make sure that you have adequate protection, so that they won’t lose out on the unpaid home loan amount if a natural disaster or catastrophic accident wipes out your property.

Gives You Peace of Mind

Not everyone who gets homeowner’s insurance will need to file a claim. Having this form of insurance, however, provides peace of mind, as it’s there should a catastrophic event damage or destroy your house.

Minimizes Stress

Having home insurance in the event of a disaster or accident means that you won’t have to worry about how you will pay for the repair or reconstruction of your house. Depending on the policy, your insurance may even cover the expense of rebuilding your property.

The Basic Types of Homeowner’s Insurance

Insurance companies in the country usually two kinds of home insurance: Basic (standard) and extended (comprehensive) coverage.

Basic homeowner insurance pays for the damage or loss arising from lightning or fire. This policy usually covers your house and belongings, such as cash, jewelry, appliances, fixtures, and furniture. When you make a claim, your insurance firm pays the cost of reconstructing or fixing the property based on present costs. Additionally, the insurer covers the personal items you have inside your house based on the actual cash (depreciated) basis.

On the other hand, comprehensive home insurance comes in different varieties depending on the packages offered by the insurance provider. Apart from fire and lightning, this type of insurance covers damage or loss caused by other natural or man-made disasters, such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, flash floods, storms, tsunamis, explosions, and vehicular crashes. Depending on the package, the comprehensive homeowner’s insurance may also cover loss or damage due to bursting pipes or water tanks, firefighting damage, burglary, riots, and other malicious acts of any individual.

Comprehensive insurance coverage may also offer benefits and other extras to policyholders. A few of them are:

  • Insurance for household employees, such as drivers, gardeners, and kasambahay (maids or house helpers)
  • Personal liability insurance
  • Home repair assistance
  • Hospitalization coverage and personal accident insurance
  • Relocation allowance for those who require temporary shelter

Factors Affecting Home Insurance Premium

Whether you choose standard or comprehensive insurance coverage, you’ll need to pay the premium to keep your policy active. Some factors that influence the cost of your policy are:

Your Insurance Plan

The insurance coverage you pick can drastically affect the cost of your premium. If you want your homeowner’s insurance to cover expensive jewelry, for instance, you’ll need to shell out extra cash to include that in the general policy.

The Location of Your Home

Expect a high premium rate if you reside in an area that’s in or close to natural hazards. Homeowners living near the Taal Volcano, for instance, may pay a higher premium since their homes are likely to suffer damage caused by a volcanic eruption.

Aside from proximity to disaster-prone areas, the crime rate in your community can influence the price of your insurance policy. If you’re living in a neighborhood where vandalism, theft, and gang wars are common, the insurance provider may bump up the cost of your premium.

The Overall Condition of Your House

The construction materials used to build your home could affect the price of the premium. A house made with bricks, for example, could have a lower policy cost than homes made from flammable materials like wood.

Apart from that, the age of your house can increase the cost of the insurance policy. An old home or a house that’s not well-maintained can fetch a high premium price.

Companies Offering Home Insurance

The country has many well-known insurance companies and banks that offer homeowner’s insurance. Some of these providers are:

Malayan Insurance

The company offers Home Protect Plus, a packaged homeowner’s insurance product that covers damages arising from lightning, fire, earthquake, volcanic eruption, malicious damage, and other man-made and natural disasters. On top of that, the package comes with an array of features, including personal accident insurance, family hospitalization insurance, household employee insurance, and valuable items protection.

MAPFRE

The insurance firm offers four home insurance products for tenants and homeowners:

  • Standard Home Insurance – this basic insurance policy covers the home and its contents against damage or loss due to lightning and fire.
  • Standard Home Insurance with Additional Benefits — this product comes with free additional home assistance and emergency services on top of the basic coverage.
  • Comprehensive Home Insurance — this insurance solution offers protection against damage or loss arising from fire, lightning, and other perils, including but not limited to earthquake, riot, typhoon, and broad water damage. Clients will also enjoy additional benefits, such as assistance services, allowance, and personal accident coverage.
  • Comprehensive Personal Liability — this package protects you against third-party liability due to acts of negligence or accidents that happen in your home.

Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corporation

The insurance provider offers HomeMaster, a comprehensive home insurance package if damage or an accident occurs in a single-detached home, apartment, townhouse, or condo. On top of financial protection against losses due to man-made or natural disasters, the insurance solution comes with other benefits, including personal liability coverage, cost of living allowance (if the property becomes uninhabitable due to fire damage), hospital income plan, transit cover for contents, and debris removal.

FPG Insurance

This company has created a home insurance product that provides comprehensive and flexible protection against natural and man-made perils, including fire, lightning, earthquake, typhoon, broad water damage, and robbery. This insurance solution also comes with personal liability coverage and a group personal accident benefit.

AXA Philippines

The company’s property insurance helps safeguard your home in cases of unexpected and natural disasters. This includes coverage for fire and allied perils, as well as commercial and industrial risks. What’s unique about this provider is that they readily offer a quote. You can insure your property for a million pesos when you pay the premium cost of ₱1,200.

Banco de Oro (BDO) Insure

The comprehensive home insurance from BDO Insure protects an insured property from liabilities and loss.  The policy covers the home and its content from devastating natural and man-made events.

Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)

This well-known financial institution offers BPI/MS Home Care Advantage (HCA) insurance that covers the residential property building, household contents (except jewelry and cash), contents of a rented unit or house, and leasehold improvements.

Choosing a Good Home Insurance Provider

With so many companies out there offering homeowner’s insurance, you may wonder where you should place your insurance business. Here are some criteria to help you decide on the most suitable provider for you:

  • Company Reputation and History — Visit the company website to learn more about the insurance provider. You can also check out review sites to determine if doing business with them is a good idea.
  • Ease of Doing Business — the insurer should make everyday transactions, such as filing a claim or paying a premium, easy for clients. If you’re going to lodge a claim, for instance, check if the company offers a way to file and submit claim documents online.
  • Discounts — some insurance providers offer discounts or special offers to new customers or homebuyers. These price reductions could help you save money on your homeowner’s insurance premium.

Increase Your Financial Literacy with Money Wise

We regularly publish blog posts to help Filipinos make sound decisions when it comes to their finances. Besides topics on insurance, our website features informative articles on personal finance, savings and investment, and business advice. We also publish business articles written exclusively in Filipino.

Read more of our insightful blog posts on our website and start your journey towards becoming financially savvy.

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