Speaking of damages caused by home accidents, what comes to your mind immediately? Many people may think of serious events such as natural or man-made disasters, even if they are not fire or floods that ruined the whole house, or storms and heavy rain that broke the glasses, or leakage from the washing machine that soaked the electrical appliances and the floor, or burglaries etc, these incidents can still cause losses easily in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
These crises of course have to be guarded against, or even prevented ahead of time. But, as the saying goes, ‘accidents are unforeseen’, home-based accidents can go beyond your imagination, everything from small leakage ruining a luxury handbag can all cause you unnecessary losses.
This time, Smart Living@Kenneth will explore various pitfalls and traps at the home that can lead to damages, and how we should prepare for them.
Property damages in accidents are more likely than burglaries
Some people may believe firmly that the biggest crisis other than various accidents at home are burglaries. However, even if you are not living in luxury mansions, Hong Kong nowadays is actually safer than many places in the world. Take last year as an example, burglaries cases have fallen by 12%, amounting to just 2,095 cases the whole year1.
However, many people may not have thought of many situations at their home which are totally unexpected but can still cause property damages. In our compensation claims, there is no shortage of these unexpected tragedies. Has it ever occurred to you that whilst you are at work, the fridge at your home breaks down, and a totally clueless you go home from work and find premium A5 Wagyu beef costing a thousand dollars, and fresh sea urchins delivered straight from Japan have all gone bad in the fridge?
Or for example, there is a leak in the ceiling that you have never noticed, and it ends up making your luxury brand handbags in the wardrobe, each of them costing tens of thousands of dollars, all get damaged? These risks are far more likely to happen by accidents than burglaries, you will feel pained by it, but more importantly want a fair and appropriate compensation.
Leaky pipes easily cost you a fortune to compensate victims
Apart from your own properties, one easily overlooked home hazards is third-party losses as a result of you or your family’s negligence. For instance, your maid accidentally pushes over the vase when cleaning the balcony, creating fragments that injure pedestrians; your son play football and accidentally kick the ball into a nearby shop, smashing the glass window; or if you take your beloved dog for a walk, and it bites a passer-by out of panic in a new environment, who demands compensation for medical bills. These third-party losses can be liable to both landlords or tenants.
Sometimes, not only human errors, but also some unexpected accidents at home can land you with a compensation bill. Several years ago, the media reported that a resident failed to deal with a leaking fresh water pipe at the hand wash basin in the toilet because he had to go to work, and it ended up with the hallway outside his home being flooded, and the lift in the building broken down. Eventually he was given a repair bill of more than a million dollars by the property management firm.
In fact, these cases are not rare. Last year for example, in a widely reported incident, a sewage pipe in a flat in Kwai Chung was broken, causing flooding including of the two lifts in the building, meaning all residents had to use the stairs for nearly two weeks, and some even had to move temporarily into a hotel2. If you unfortunately encounter such accidents, not only the property management has a right to ask you to pay for the repair cost, all affected residents in every household can ask you for compensation for their losses such as hotel bills and damaged electrical appliances. Under these circumstances, a suitable home insurance plan can help you through the ‘crisis’.
Home Insurance offers property protection all round the world
As dangers lurk in every corner of the home, home insurance has become many people’s strongest defence and backup support. If unfortunately, the accidents listed above do occur, small ones such as food going bad in a fridge, or handbags getting damaged, or big ones such as burglaries and third-party damages, home insurance can still provide a certain level of protection.
In fact, home insurance’s coverage can go beyond what you have imagined. Still remember an accident at a new property in Tsuen Wan two years ago? While the owner was travelling overseas, a sewage pipe has broken in the new flat, causing not just property losses of HK$200,000 on the books, but also the shock of seeing faeces on all the furniture and the floor, making it uninhabitable3. At this time, if you need to stay temporarily at a hotel, home insurance can help.
In fact, when accidents happen at home, repair and compensation are the aftermaths. Very often, the most immediate concern is the issue of temporary accommodation. When water and electricity supplies go off during typhoons, even if you have stocked your home full of emergency supplies, it’s still hard to live in the dark.
Not only are the home properties protected, nowadays home insurances can cover properties all across the world, even if you are outside, like driving to the beach and having properties stolen from your car; or being pickpocketed with your credit card and wallet stolen; or even having your identification documents stolen, you can all get compensated.
Watch the short clip now and learn more about the coverage and protection of home insurance.
The above content is reviewed by Mr Kenneth Lai - P&C Distribution Director of AXA Hong Kong and Macau
No warranty or responsibility is assumed by AXA Hong Kong and our related or holding companies regarding non-infringement, security, accuracy, completeness, adequacy, reasonableness, fitness for a purpose or free from computer viruses in connection with the information and materials provided. AXA Hong Kong and our related companies and holding companies do not accept any liability for any loss, damage, cost or other expense, whether wholly or partially, directly or indirectly, arising from any error, inaccuracy or omission of the information and materials to the extent that such liability is not excluded by law.
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