Have you ever wondered why home contents insurance is important? And are you aware of how to choose the right plan for you and to make a claim in case of a fire? Chami Ramsey, Head of Personal Property and Private Client Group at global insurance company AIG, explains why home contents insurance is relevant to both landlords and tenants and helps us address the key points related to ensuring your home and what’s inside it.

UAE residents do not consider home contents insurance a priority

“In general, we find that there is low awareness in the market about home insurance, particularly Home Contents insurance,” says Chami.  “The perceived value of home insurance by residents is quite low because they do not think that the UAE is exposed to risks such as fire, theft, earthquakes, floods, or other natural catastrophes.

Most people may argue that, as expats, they do not own homes in the UAE and landlord’s insurance covers fire, theft and other catastrophes. The fact that we are missing here is that even as a tenant your landlord’s property insurance does not cover losses to your contents. Unfortunately, UAE residents are not well aware of the low cost of home insurance and its benefits.”

[Related: How to buy home content insurance]

Home contents insurance cost may be lower than you may have thought

It can cost less than 1 dirham a day to insure home contents according to Chami – a fact that many UAE residents may not be aware of. He explains that the devastation resulting from fire and flooding incidents can be pretty significant: “In terms of risk exposure, as a matter of fact, the most frequent losses we see, even in markets that have high flood/earthquake exposure, are actually related to water damage from burst pipes, fire, or accidental damage to contents.  Such losses may occur in the UAE.  A fire can engulf an entire home within a matter of hours, and damage to contents due to water leaks can be devastating.”

Enquiries for home insurance have spiked since the Torch Tower fire

When asked whether or not the recent Torch Tower fire has changed people’s attitude toward home contents insurance, Chami says: “We’ve seen a significant spike in the number of enquiries for home insurance.  Unfortunate events such as fires help to raise awareness about the need for home insurance. The devastating fire at Tamweel in JLT left a lot of residents homeless due to the extent of damage and we are seeing some of the same in The Torch Tower.”

In case of a fire, immediately contact your insurance provider to submit a claim

After ensuring their personal safety, Chami advises customers to contact an insurance representative at their insurer’s claims department straight away. You will need to understand from your insurer how to submit a claim. Make sure that you also understand all the benefits available to you if your insurance includes alternative accommodations or loss of rent cover, personal belongings cover, content cover and building cover.

[Compare home insurance in the UAE]

Choose your home content insurance plan carefully based on your needs

The best advice according to Chami is to know your needs and relay them to your insurer so that the most suitable plan can be chosen for you.

Avoid waiting until you have been affected by an unfortunate event before reaching out to an insurance company to buy insurance.

[Related: Avoid your home flooding while on holiday]

One other key bit of advice Chami adds, is to be aware of the cover value of your insurance plan. “Most people assume that the market value of their home should be the sum insured, but this is not the case.  Most insurers will insure up to the replacement value of your home and this could be significantly lower than market value, which also translates into lower premium charges for the customer” he says.