Expensive cars getting scratched, fancy new apartments getting flooded by leaky pipes…every time you hear of accidents like these on the news or in online forums, people may rarely think of themselves as the unfortunate owners and imagine what hefty losses they will incur, let alone be the victim that bears the cost.
As Hong Kong’s largest insurer in the general insurance business^, AXA has encountered interesting cases of all kinds and in this episode, Smart Living@Kenneth will explain various insurance products and share a few stories along the way, to let you know how to stay protected if you get unlucky.
Household Dangers, a risk to both you and your wallet
Accidents often happen in the household, but the damage they can do should never be underestimated. In one particular case, a person was taking a hot shower on the eve of Chinese New Year when the glass of their shower stall shattered, slicing the person’s hands and legs, leading to blood loss and a trio to the hospital.
In another case, a person was having an afternoon nap when all of a sudden, he was awoken by the sound of his parrot squeaking. Turns out that the living room was filled with smoke, after their charger sparked and caught fire . If it wasn’t for the parrot waking the owner up, the consequences could be unimaginable. I’m sure the parrot got a few extra treats after that.
Plan for more than just your medical bill
These two cases illustrate exactly how household accidents can happen anytime, anywhere and without warning, and can lead to not only property damage but personal harm too. However, many people focus on just insuring themselves, but not their home.
In the case of the shattered glass, repair costs of over a thousand dollars could be covered by home insurance. As for the charger catching fire, expenses incurred over fixing the burnt walls, replacing the wallpaper and re-painting could also be covered under home insurance. Most importantly though, home insurance can save you a ton of stress and money when you are already exhausted by the accident itself.
Even careful drivers run into accidents
Sometimes on the road, accidents can occur even if you drive carefully. We have seen one case where the driver was driving close to a truck that was laying asphalt on the road, when the truck suddenly stopped, causing all the asphalt at the back to spill onto the driver’s car, covering the entire front of the car.
Besides that, other drivers can similarly cause unexpected accidents, just like in a widely circulated video clip recently where a driving beginner likely felt nervous and shifted into reverse by accident, crashing into two expensive cars behind it. It is often said that no matter how careful you drive, accidents can’t be 100% avoided on the road. What makes it worse is that whether it is your own or others’ fault, you may still have to cough up a huge repair cost before the lengthy legal process has ended.
Comprehensive car insurance tips
Therefore, if you want more protection on the road, a comprehensive car insurance could come in handy. Not only would the repair costs and the expenses on renting a temporary car be covered, the insurance may even pay for a new car of the same model, if your damaged car is still within the first 12 months of registration.
In the asphalt example, the car is basically all but ruined. Even though the black box and car camera provided indisputable evidence, the process of reporting to the police, waiting to get to court and the eventual court trial could still take up to 9 months. Owners who need to use their cars to get around will not be able to wait for that long. Without a comprehensive car insurance that can grant you a brand-new replacement car (in the case of a ‘Total Loss’), owners will be forced to either wait for the compensation at the end of the litigation, or pay for a new car out of their own pocket.
However, there has been a saying that a claim would affect the NCD (No Claim Discount) Protection in the next year, and so a comprehensive insurance actually doesn’t matter much. Fear not because in the case of AXA iMotor Comprehensive Coverage, as long as the claim does not exceed $60,000 or 20% of the reasonable market value of the insured car (whichever amount is lower), NCD will not be affected, and a premium discount will still be available next year.
New Activities, New Dangers
Many parents may think that after sending their children abroad to study, the most they would do is joining extra-curricular activities, where there are few risks involved and the local government usually provides health services.
But our team has encountered one case where a girl joined a women’s football team while studying in Canada, and injured herself when she kicked a ball onto the goalpost, which bounced back into her face. She ended up having a swollen eye for a week, which shows that in football, you could get hit with not just a ball, but a hefty medical bill too.
In fact, when children study abroad, they will usually try some activities that are harder to find in Hong Kong. In Canada for example, ice hockey is a national sport and many students will get the chance to play it with their classmates on an ice rink. But ice hockey is actually considered one of the most dangerous sports in the world, where the puck travels incredibly quickly, the skate’s blades are sharp, and there’s a lot of physical contact too, which could all lead to serious injuries if you’re not careful.
Protection beyond medical bills
If you want your children to be adequately protected, an overseas student insurance would go a long way. This insurance plan actually has a wide coverage that includes not just injuries during extra-curricular activities, but also part-time work, internships and other mishaps during foreign trips. Claims procedures are also very simple and easy, and can be handled through email from any part of the world.
More importantly, on top of getting treatment, many parents would hope to be with their children after a major accident. A comprehensive overseas student insurance can provide not just urgent family reunion that covers flight and accommodation expenses of the parents, but even the cost of getting annual leave from work. In case your children need to continue their treatment in Hong Kong, those costs can also be claimed.
Accidents are almost impossible to avoid, but if you choose the right insurance, you can protect yourself well, reduce significant losses and get help when you need it the most. Learning more about different insurance products can really help!
^Insurance Authority Provisional Statistics on Hong Kong General Insurance Business in 2020.
The above content is reviewed by Mr Kenneth Lai - Chief General Insurance Officer of AXA Hong Kong and Macau.
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