Home Insurance

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Should policyholders make a claim under Home Content or Fire Insurance in an event where a window frame is damaged in an accident?

Every year during the cyclone season, Hong Kong encounters its fair share of tropical storms and this year's was even worse.

In one potentially harmful case, a window was blown out from its frame and sent crashing into the window of the opposite flat before smashing to the ground below. Fortunately, no one was injured in this accident.

In this case, should Home or Fire Insurance cover the tenant for the damaged window frame?

In this case, whether the window frame is an original fixture or the tenant’s own improvement would determine the type of insurance under which policyholders could file a claim.

Technically, Fire Insurance only covers building structure and the property’s original fixtures such as walls, windows, ceilings and floors etc. If the window was an original fixture damaged by a fire or other accident covered by the Fire Insurance policy, policyholders could make a claim under Fire Insurance.

However, we should pay particular attention to what types of accidents Fire Insurance would protect us against. In most cases, Fire Insurance will only cover losses caused by fire while some Fire Insurance extends coverage to damage caused by other named perils such as floods and storms. It is recommended that policyholders read through the terms and conditions of their policy or consult their insurance company to learn about the coverage details.

Nowadays, it is common for people to renovate their homes e.g. revamping the windows, floors and ceilings. If customers have made an improvement to the original window frame provided by the house developer, the insurance company will regard this window frame as interior decoration which then belongs to part of the home contents component of the Home Protector 2.0 policy. In an event of window damage, the policyholder could make a claim under Home Protector 2.0 policy instead.

It is important that policyholders consider buying both Home Contents and Fire Insurance for comprehensive protection.

Question:
If a passerby is injured by a falling household item, will Home Insurance cover the policyholder’s personal liability?

Answer:
Home Insurance will not only protect you against the loss of home contents, it will also protect you and your family members against any claims/legal liability in the event of your negligence causing third party injury or property damage. Such protection includes any lawsuit related expenses, but the amount of compensation will depend on maximum benefits payable of the policy. When purchasing Home Insurance, it is also recommended that policyholders should determine if "personal liability" was included in the plan.

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