GENERAL FAQs

 

Insurance

1. What is insurance?

Insurance reimburses people in the case of loss. People get insurance to provide them with security.

2. Why do I need insurance?

Insurance provides people with protection in the event of something unforeseen happening; like a car accident or house fire. By providing this security, insurance gives people peace of mind, knowing that they and their loved ones can maintain a quality of life during or after an unforeseen event.

3. What types of insurance are available?

Insurance comes in many forms and covers many different types of risks. The most popular insurance policies cover motor vehicles and health. For a more detailed description on the various types of insurance available in Singapore, visit the Products section of the website or contact a representative from a GIA member company. You may like to contact your insurance company or insurance intermediary if you have special or specific insurance needs.

The General Insurance Association of Singapore encompasses all non-life insurance companies transacting business in Singapore. The Life Insurance Association, Singapore (LIA) is the trade association that represents life insurance companies in Singapore.

4. How do I get insurance?

There are several ways to obtain or buy insurance.

  1. You can go directly to an office of an insurance company
  2. Some insurance companies have staff or agents who will come and see you
  3. You can contact an agent or a broker (insurance intermediary) who can help you get the insurance coverage you need

Looking for an insurance company? There is a listing of insurance companies in the Member Companies section of this site.

5. What are the procedures involved in getting a policy?

  • STEP 1 - Discuss the type of insurance you require with an insurance company representative or intermediary (agent or broker).
  • STEP 2 - Depending on the insurance company's procedure, a proposal form would usually be given to you for completion before a quotation is provided.
  • STEP 3 - Receive a quotation from the insurance company or broker.
  • STEP 4 - If you are agreeable to the quotation for the insurance cover, you should indicate your acceptance to the insurance company or broker.
  • STEP 5 - Arrangement for payment of the premium and an insurance policy shall be issued to you shortly thereafter.
  • STEP 6 - Your insurance cover will begin from the agreed date outlined in your policy.

6. Who should I contact at the insurance company?

You may contact the underwriting, marketing or sales personnel at the insurance company. The insurance company may also refer you to their agents if it is more convenient for you to deal with them.

7. Can I use a broker to purchase an insurance policy?

Yes. A broker or agent will take you through all the necessary steps to get the insurance you need.

8. How do I submit my claim?

In the event of an incident which is covered under your policy, you should always contact your insurance company as soon as possible.

Firstly, you'll be required to complete and return a claim form. Sometimes, the insurance company might appoint an independent adjuster to look into the circumstances of the loss.

You should provide all information at your disposal to the questions that are raised by the insurance company as this will facilitate the processing of your claim.

Upon the completion of the investigation, the insurance company will make an offer to settle the claim, provided it is an admissible claim. If you accept the offer, the claim would then be paid. You would need to sign a claims discharge form indicating the finality of the claim.

9. Whom can I turn to should my insurance company and I dispute the terms of settlement or the compensation?

If you are not satisfied with the way your insurer has handled your claim, you can contact the Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre Ltd (FIDReC). FIDReC is an affordable and independent channel for resolving insurance disputes involving claims between insureds and insurers of up to S$100,000 for both life and general insurance. Visit the FIDReC site to learn more.

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Online Driver Data System

1. What is EDDIES?

EDDIES is short for Electronic Driver Data Information and Enquiry System. It is an online enquiry system that allows members of the public, insurance and car rental companies to retrieve and view a driver’s driving licence status and eligibility for Certificate of Merit (COM).

EDDIES is hosted by the eCitizen Centre, a one-stop Public Service Centre that provides a secure infrastructure for public to access government services on the Internet.

2. How does EDDIES work?

Licence holders or interested parties can access EDDIES by logging on to the eCitizen website at http://www.ecitizen.gov.sg. The information made available on EDDIES includes licence holders’:

  1. Eligibility for Certificate of Merit (COM)
  2. Driving Licence Status

Process to retrieve and view information on driving licence status:

  1. User logs on to eCitizen website (http://www.ecitizen.gov.sg) and selects Licence Inquiry under Transport Town.
  2. User enters the license holder’s licence number and date of birth at the Licence Inquiry initial webpage.
  3. System validates the input and sends the request to Traffic Police Headquarters and Ministry of Home Affairs.
  4. System generates a webpage displaying the licence holder’s date of birth, class(es) of driving licence passed, and respective expiry date(s)
  5. User can print out the details for future reference.

Process to retrieve and view information on eligibility for COM:

  1. User logs on to eCitizen website (http://www.ecitizen.gov.sg) and selects COM under Transport Town.
  2. User enters the licence holder’s licence number and date of birth at the COM initial webpage.
  3. System validates the input and sends the request to Traffic Police Headquarters and Ministry of Home Affairs.
  4. System generates a webpage displaying the details of the COM.
  5. User can print out the details for future reference.

3. What are the benefits of EDDIES?

EDDIES benefits driving licence holders by:

  • Allowing them to check the up-to-date status of their licences and eligibility for the COM anywhere and at anytime.
  • Allowing participating insurance companies to check via the Internet if the licence holders are eligible for COM that entitles them to a 5% discount on their insurance premium, at the point of insurance purchase.
  • Allowing employers and rental companies to check the up-to-date status of their driving licences via the Internet round the clock and globally.

4. When will my updated driving licence status be reflected on EDDIES if I pass the practical test today?

It will be reflected the day after you have obtained your driving licence.

5. Can the driving licence status printed out from EDDIES be presented as a driving licence?

No. Your driving licence is the only legal document that certifies you as a qualified driver of the class of vehicle. The driving licence must be produced when authorities request for proof of your eligibility to drive vehicles under the various classes.

6. Will I be able to check the expiry date of my existing driving licence via EDDIES?

Yes, you can check your licence expiry date by accessing the driving licence status enquiry.

7. Can I check the number of demerit points I have incurred via EDDIES?

EDDIES does not reflect the number of demerit points you have incurred or any other details of penalties involved.

8. If my licence is revoked/suspended or disqualified, will it be shown on EDDIES?

What will be reflected on EDDIES is that your driving licence is invalid.

9. Can a third party check my driving licence status and eligibility for COM?

Yes, if he is provided with your IC number and birthdate.

10. I do not wish to have my record on EDDIES, is it possible?

Records of all Singaporean drivers are on the EDDIES as they are obtained directly from TP’s computer system.

11. Why doesn't EDDIES reflect the licence holder's name?

This is to protect the licence holder's privacy.

Questions on COM

12. What is Certificate of Merit (COM)?

The Certificate of Merit (COM) entitles a driver a 5% discount on vehicle insurance premium (from participating insurance companies only), over and above his No-Claim Bonus (NCB).

A driver is eligible for a COM if, at the point of purchasing a car insurance coverage, he/she has maintained for the past 3 years, a continual unblemished and demerit-point-free driving record.

This means that, if a driver committed a traffic offence any day in the 3 years immediately before an insurance purchase that resulted in him/her being “awarded” demerit points, he/she would no longer be eligible for a COM on the day that he/she purchases the insurance.

13. How do I know whether my insurance company is one of the participating insurance companies?

The list of participating insurance companies in hyperlinked to EDDIES. You can check if your insurance company is on the list there.

14. Do I need to show the insurance company the printed COM from EDDIES to claim a discount?

You may print a copy for the insurance company. However the insurance company can log on to EDDIES to check the latest status of your eligibility for COM.

15. If I printed out my COM yesterday but committed an offence today that carries demerit points, will I still be entitled to a 5% discount on car insurance premium if I were to show the company the printed COM?

No. The insurance company can verify the COM from via EDDIES. This is possible because EDDIES is updated every 12 hours.

16. Can a family member use my COM to enjoy the 5% discount on vehicle insurance premium when he buys insurance for his car?

COM is not transferable. Drivers other than you yourself are not entitled to your COM incentives.

17. After printing out the COM status from EDDIES, do I need to go to Traffic Police Department to have it stamped to prove its authenticity?

No. The authenticity of a printed COM can be verified via EDDIES.

18. Can I request for my COM to be mailed to me as in the previous arrangement?

With this system, TP will no longer send COM cards. You may request your insurance agent or company to check on your behalf. Those who need to clarify can call Traffic Police at 6547-0000.

19. Where and how can I provide feedback on EDDIES?

You can contact Traffic Police at 6547 0000 or write to SPF_Feedback_TP@spf.gov.sg

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Fire Insurance for Private Residential Properties

1. What does fire insurance for residential buildings cover?

Household insurance comes in many forms with varying coverages, terms and conditions. Fire insurance is one of the more basic protections available to an owner of a property, covering the building and/or its contents.

In the case of fire insurance on the building (not including its contents) of a residential property, it generally covers the building structure, the permanent fixtures and fittings such as built-in cabinets, baths, toilets, air-conditioning units, fixed carpet, parquet flooring and other immoveable decorations or improvements. It may also extend to cover outbuildings such as garages, covered porch and perimeter walls. However foundations and swimming pools are normally not covered under fire insurance for buildings.

2. What are the risks insured against?

Most fire insurance for buildings provide cover against damages caused to the building by:

  • fire
  • lightning
  • domestic explosion
  • bursting or overflow of water tanks and apparatus
  • road vehicle impact
  • aircraft impact
  • malicious intent
  • riot and strike
  • earthquake, windstorm and flood
  • theft or attempted theft accompanied by forcible or violent entry

Depending on the insurers, other perils such as subsidence and landslip due to windstorm and flood may also be included.

3. What is the sum insured of a residential building?

The term "sum insured" in a fire insurance for residential property is the insured value of the property and the maximum amount an insurer will pay if it is totally destroyed by an insured peril. The sum insured should reflect the cost of rebuilding the insured property (also known as the reconstruction or replacement cost) to its original condition (or its equivalent) at the time just before the damage occurred. For added protection, professional fees and cost of debris removal may be included in the sum insured. Under normal circumstances, the market value of the property is not used as the sum insured and there is no direct relationship between the market value of a property and its reconstruction cost for the purpose of insurance. The sum insured also should not take into consideration the foundation and the value of the land.

4. As a general guide, how do I estimate the sum insured?

It is the responsibility and in the interests of the owner to ensure that the sum insured is adequate, otherwise the owner may find his/her insurance protection wanting in times of contingency. As the cost of fire insurance is normally low and very affordable, the risk of under-insuring one’s property certainly out-weighs any savings on the insurance cost.

It therefore makes economic sense to allow for some buffer in the sum insured of your property. When determining an adequate sum insured specific to your property, you should also seek the assistance of a qualified property valuer or quantity surveyor.

The Replacement Cost Table below provides a general guide to replacement cost of various private residential developments. To estimate the replacement cost of your property, you first need to know its Construction Floor Area (CFA). CFA is the area of all building enclosed covered spaces measured to the outside face of the external walls including covered basement and above ground car park areas. You can obtain the CFA from the developer of your property or the Managing Agent in the case of a condominium unit (i.e. Strata Titled property). Alternatively, you can estimate the CFA by measuring the external area of your house.

For instance, if your property is rectangular in shape, you need to measure the external length and width of your house and multiply these two figures to arrive at the CFA. If for some reason you cannot measure the external dimension of your property, you can measure the internal area and add the thickness of the wall to the dimensions. In the case of a multi-storey property, the CFA of the property is simply the sum of the CFA of each floor.

After you have estimated the CFA, you need to identify the type of development your property falls into in the Replacement Cost Table. You can then arrive at an indicative replacement cost of your property using the methodology illustrated in the worked example below.

The replacement cost so derived is at best only an estimate of the sum insured for the purpose of fire insurance for your property. To obtain the replacement cost valuation specific to your property, you should seek professional advice from a qualified property valuer or quantity surveyor.

SINGAPORE CONSTRUCTION PRICES

Please click the weblink http://rlb.com/index.php/singapore/research for the SINGAPORE CONSTRUCTION PRICES.

REPLACEMENT COST CALCULATION

Example:

Mr Lim lives in a semi-detached house located in a surburban district with a construction floor area (CFA) of 230 square meter. Mr Lim would like to purchase fire insurance for his property and wishes to know an indicative sum with which he can insure his house.

REPLACEMENT COST CALCULATION
Step 1 - Obtain Construction Floor Area (CFA)
Mr Lim's house has a CFA of 230 square meter.
Step 2 - Select appropriate unit cost from Replacement Cost Table

a. CFA(square meter) of semi-detached house

b. Unit Cost (S$/sq meter)

c. Estimated Reconstruction cost 230 square meter x S$2,550/square meter

230 square meter

S$2,900/square meter (1)

S$667,000

Step 3 - Add estimated value of building fixtures and fittings
d. Estimated amount of S$25,000 (2)
e. Sub-total S$692,000
Step 4 - Add Professional Fees, Demolition and Removal of Debris, Goods & Services Tax (GST)(3)
f. Professional Fees @ 10% of sub-total (e) S$69,200
g. Demolition and Removal of Debris @ 5% of sub-total (e) S$34,600
h. Replacement cost excluding GST S$795,800
i. GST @ 7% S$55,706
j. Total S$851,506
Estimated Current Replacement Cost Approx. S$ 852,000

(1) Note - Average cost/square meter used in this instance.
(2) Note - Value of built-in furniture and fixtures, light and electrical fittings, etc. estimated by owner.
(3) Note - Professional fees for reconstruction work are assumed at 10%, demolition and removal of debris at 5%, and GST at 7%

It should be highlighted that within each residential building type, there is a wide range of different specifications, quality of materials and finishes. Expert advice should accordingly be obtained should a replacement cost valuation be required for a specific property.

Rider Levett Bucknall (www.rlb.com)
Rider Levett Bucknall is a global property and construction practice with over 3,000 people with a strong network of 120 offices across Asia, Oceania, Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Americas. Services provided include Cost Management, Project Management and Advisory Services.

RLB provides professional services for Quantity Surveying Services covering cost management, feasibility studies, cost planning, contractual and procurement advice, tender documentation, post-contract services, value engineering and value management, financial management and reporting, Project Management Services covering client representation, development management, construction management and contract administration, and Advisory Services covering asset advisory, transaction review, technical due diligence and replacement cost assessment.

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INFLUENZA A (H1N1)

INFLUENZA A (H1N1) – What Should You Do if You or Your Family have to Make an Insurance Claim?

Swine flu is a respiratory disease, caused by influenza type A which infects pigs. There are many types, and the infection is constantly changing. Until now it has not normally infected humans, but the latest form clearly does, and can be spread from person to person - probably through coughing and sneezing. The World Health Organization has confirmed that at least some of the human cases are a never-before-seen version of the H1N1 strain of influenza type A.

Singapore has been on the alert ever since the flu outbreak first became news at the end of April 2009. Since then there have been several cases of H1N1 virus, mainly imported from overseas. The alert level remains at Yellow.

Nevertheless, it is important that everyone stays vigilant during this time. Members of the General Insurance Association of Singapore (GIA) could be notified of various types of claims if there is an outbreak confirmed.

Below the GIA sets out a basic question and answer sheet for customers wishing to know more about the general insurance policies which may be triggered if there is a flu outbreak.

It should be noted that this information is an industry guide only and in no way does the information here provided represent the terms and conditions of any insurer or reinsurer in Singapore.

GIA - FAQs FOR INSURANCE POLICY COVER FOR INFLUENZA A (H1N1)

A) Medical

1. Do all medical insurance policies cover include cover for Influenza A (H1N1)?

Yes, for hospital and medical expenses incurred at the hospitals. Most Medical Insurance policies do not carry an exclusion against Hospitalisation Treatment arising from infectious diseases.

B) Travel

1. Will my travel policy insure me against Influenza A (H1N1)in the affected countries?

Medical Treatment expenses for Influenza A (H1N1) would be covered under most if not all travel insurance policies, subject to terms and conditions of the policy.

2. Does it cover me for the period of my quarantine and/or evacuation should I contract Influenza A (H1N1) in an affected country?

Generally, travel insurance does not provide any compensation for quarantine arising from Influenza A (H1N1) Flu. However, Medical Expenses incurred for treatment would be payable, subject to policy terms and conditions. Evacuation must be medically necessary in the opinion of the assistance company for the purpose of obtaining treatment. Compensation for cancellation or curtailment of a trip arising from compulsory quarantine on the written advice from a medical practitioner may be covered subject to the policy terms and conditions.

3. Am I covered on my travel policy if my flight /travel arrangements are delayed due to my being quarantined in a hotel or office overseas due to the Influenza A (H1N1) outbreak?

The Travel Delay section of most travel insurance policies is usually covered on a named peril basis and this does not provide for delay resulting from being quarantined overseas. Perils usually covered are:

  1. strike, riot or civil commotion / industrial action;
  2. adverse weather conditions; or
  3. mechanical breakdown / structural defect of public conveyance.

Some policies may however reimburse the insured for additional travel expenses incurred as a result of the travel delay caused by the compulsory quarantine overseas, up to the limit specified in the policy.

C) Hospital & Surgery

1. Does a hospital & surgical policy cover Influenza A (H1N1)?

Yes, for hospital and medical charges incurred by an insured in a registered hospital. Most Medical Insurance policies do not exclude the cost of medical treatment and hospitalisation arising from Infectious Diseases.

D) Property Insurance

1. Do Business Interruption (BI) policies insure against closure of business caused by the outbreak of Influenza A (H1N1)?

Yes, if the Business Interruption or Consequential Loss Policy has been extended to include disruption of business due to an outbreak of an Infectious Disease. However, coverage is usually subjected to a time excess as well as a sub-limit. This cover will operate when the disease necessitates the closure of the premise by order of the competent Public Authority.

E) Marine Cargo

1. Is my cargo covered if it is shipped to or from an Influenza A (H1N1) - infected destination or origin country?

Yes, there are no restrictions on shipments to and from H1N1 infected countries. In general, H1N1 should have no impact on insurance cover for physical loss or damage to cargo.

2. How will it affect my International commercial (INCO) terms? Could I still insure it up to warehouse or named inland point? Or must it be up to port of discharge?

There is no effect on INCO terms and clients can remain insured up to the warehouse or port of discharge.

F) Limits to cover for Influenza A (H1N1)

1. What limits are there to a cover that includes Influenza A (H1N1)?

Business Interruption: This is normally a percentage of the BI sum insured up to a pre-agreed sub-limit Medical/ Hospital Surgical: It depends on the cover/plan selected. Generally, limits of insurance vary from policy to policy, depending on the needs and exposure of risk to a customer. Please refer to Question H for Work Injury Compensation.

G) General

1. Which insurance policies may cover the consequences of the outbreak both on an individual and company basis?

Personal

In the event of an outbreak of contagious diseases, an individual would be concerned about the cost of medical expenses incurred, and loss of income, death or permanent disablement benefit. Personal Insurance coverage is provided by General Insurance companies. The benefits to the insured person in the event of a contagious disease outbreak are many and varied and you should speak to your intermediary or underwriter about individual policies.

Company

Most Group Health policies providing cover for hospitalization and medical expenses do not carry an exclusion on infectious diseases. Business Interruption or Consequential Loss Policy may be extended to include closure of business caused by an infectious disease. This cover will operate when the disease necessitates the closure of the premises by order of a competent Public Authority.

See Question H for Work Injury Compensation

2. Do Personal Accident policies issued by GIA members typically cover this type of incident if I contract this flu? Or would it be a life/medical insurance claim?

Personal Accident policies usually exclude all medical conditions, illnesses, diseases, sicknesses, bacterial infections or viral infections so will not respond if the insured contracts the flu virus.

3. Do GIA members sell cover which is specifically aimed at this kind of outbreak to individuals or companies given the history of SARS in Singapore?

Some insurers may provide such covers. Please seek the advice of your intermediary or insurer.

4. Whom should I contact in the first instance if I wish to make a travel and /or medical claim on a policy underwritten by a GIA member?

Customers should contact the specific insurance company’s claims department and /or customer services department. Such claims are treated no differently from other insurance claims.

5. Can the period of insurance be retrospective from the inception of Influenza A (H1N1) flu as the date of coverage in the policy?

No, this is not available.

H) Work Injury Compensation*

1. Will an employee be eligible to claim work injury compensation should he contract Influenza A (H1N1) arising from his employment?

* According to the Ministry of Manpower "an employee who contracts Influenza A (H1N1) or any other disease is eligible for work injury compensation if it is shown that the infection was due to work."

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