If you haven’t insured your possessions, we suggest home insurance is something you should think about sooner rather than later. While the risk of burglary may be low, fire and flooding risks are reasonably high and you want to cover your contents and personal belongings (which you can also cover when outside your home).

1. What is home insurance?

There are three form of home insurance: buildings insurance, contents insurance (also known as home insurance or home contents insurance) and personal belongings insurance.

  • Buildings insurance covers the building in the event of and is arranged by owners of houses and villas. It is designed to cover the cost of rebuilding or repairing damage to the property and is the responsibility of the home owner. For apartments, there is often be a policy to cover the whole structure of the building, for which each owner pays a proportion – otherwise the owner will arrange insurance, often through their mortgage provider.
  • (Home) contents insurance is arranged to cover the cost of replacing your personal possessions, such as furniture, clothes and electrical items.
  • Personal belongings is a vaguer category that covers things such as smartphones, jewelry and cameras and also provides some cover for items taken out of the home.

It can be useful to include accidental damage to contents and personal items cover, as it is not uncommon to drop a vase or spill something on a rug, and both children and pets can be surprisingly destructive.

2. Tenant/ owner responsibilities

Whilst the owner should insure their property (buildings insurance), and it is a legal requirement is the property is mortgaged, it is the responsibility of the tenant to insure their own items. It isn’t compulsory – but if you add up the cost of replacing everything you own you may be surprised just how much it is all worth. You are covering yourself in the event of fire and theft and can also elect to choose insurance against accidental damage.

When renting a villa or an apartment, the tenant should check that the landlord is properly insured too.

3. What about my domestic helper or maid?

If someone other than a family member is living in the property this must be declared on the application so their possessions are also insured. Some plans also pay out if domestic staff are injured whilst employed. [Why it’s wise to insure your maid in the UAE | Why it’s wise to insure your maid in Saudi Arabia]

4. Why should I get home contents insurance?

No one knows what risks are around the corner and, whilst the incidences of burglaries may be low in this part of the world, they do happen. Fires make the news often and people have recently realized there can be huge fire risks, and that they need to insure their possessions. Even minor smoke damage can ruin your contents.

5. Who offers home contents insurance?

There are a number of insurance companies, each with slightly different plans. It can therefore be useful to use an expert broker as they have access to more providers than an individual and save you time, as well as making sure you take the most appropriate options.

6. What should I do in order to take out home contents insurance?

You can approach an insurance company directly, speak to a general insurance broker or use the comparison tool on Souqalmal.com to view different plans via our approved broker. You simply enter your requirements and will then be contacted with details of your options with prices on the same day. It couldn’t be simpler.

[Compare home contents insurance policies in the UAE | Compare home contents insurance policies in Saudi Arabia]

7. What should I do if I want to make a claim?

Before you even take out the policy, make sure you read the small print to make sure you are getting the cover you want and need. Be aware of the policy limits and restrictions and whether there is an excess amount (also known as a deductible), the relatively small initial sum which is not covered by the insurer and which you pay. If you need to make a claim, contact the insurance company immediately, advising them of the situation. You may need to provide a police report for items that are stolen or receipts for items to be replaced.

8. Discounts

You might be eligible for a discount if you also have car insurance with the same provider.

Keren Bobker is an Independent Financial Adviser at Holborn Assets and writes at financialuae.me