Household Insurance

An African man uses a calculator to calculate household insurance cover policy, understanding that it is very different to home insurance.

How Is Household Insurance Calculated?

The loss of precious household items is often compounded by the fact that you may not be able to afford to replace them. What few realise is that one in three Namibian homes remains underinsured. In this article, we unpack what is included under your household insurance cover and what sort of things you can query when looking at household insurance quote.

Home Vs Household Insurance

It’s not uncommon for folks to get these kinds of insurance plans confused. Home insurance typically refers to the insurance of the house itself – only the building – rather than the furniture, appliances and other items within those walls. Home insurance fills the financial gap when your house or other structures on your property come to harm. Examples of this include damaged fixtures and fittings, carpets, and burst geysers.

Ironically, it is household insurance that is focused solely on insuring those items that make a house into a home. These items can be located in both your private residence as well as any outbuildings on your property. If something happens to your house – such as a break-in or a fire, for instance – household insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing those insured items, and help you feel at home once more.

Factors That Impact Your Household Insurance Premiums

Your residence

The biggest factor that insurance companies consider when determining someone’s premium is often where the insured lives. If your house is located in an area with a low crime rate, that is already a point in your favour. The same goes for homes with a number of safety features built into the building (e.g. smoke detectors, burglar bars, etc.). The more precautions you take to protect your home, the more affordable your household insurance can be.

The value of your household contents

We’ve gone into detail on the specific household items covered by this insurance in a previous article.  A broad overview would include the following categories:

  • Electronics
  • Specialty tools and equipment
  • Jewellery
  • Artwork

Before you start shopping around for household insurance quotes, take an inventory of the above items. Make sure that nothing is left unsecured, so you don’t have to worry when these important items are stolen or damaged. Of course, the amount of items covered in a policy will influence the monthly premium you pay for this service, so be sure to prioritise those items you cannot go without.

Your car

In recent years, it’s become common practice for many insurance companies (especially the ones on this website) to include your car in your household contents insurance. After all, your vehicle is likely to spend a fair deal of time under your garage roof.

However, it’s important recognise there is a distinct difference between car insurance and household insurance that covers your car as part of the contents of your home. If your car is damaged while it sits on your property, particularly under extreme conditions like fire and natural disaster, your household insurance should cover that damage. Depending on your insurer, you may also enjoy the benefit of towing and storage after an accident or attempted theft.

Which Is The Better Investment?

Both home and household insurance policies are worthwhile considerations for any homeowner. However, for first time homeowners, who have taken the time to find a house in good condition, it makes more sense to insure the valuables within that new house. After all, theft is a more likely occurrence than fire – although both are unfortunate events. Since you’ve taken such care in filling your house with all those things that make you feel at home, why not take the time to consider, just as carefully, what household insurance options are out there. With Get Insurance, you can get the ball rolling immediately by applying for household insurance quotes in minutes!

Young couple of first time home buyers celebrate outside their first household, which has a sold sign by the front door. This couple can even more to celebrate because they insured their household items with Get Insurance.

What You Need to Know as a First Time Home Buyer

Buying a house is exciting! However, it can also be quite scary. Purchasing property is a big decision and an even bigger financial investment. The process can be overwhelming for first time home buyers looking to make a home. That said, millions of people have been there before you and survived. Although the process involves a lot of paperwork, with the right information, you can find a home you can afford.

Buying a new home is one thing, insuring your contents is just as important. This is where household insurance comes in as it provides you with essential insurance for your valuables.

Questions To Ask Before Applying For A Home Loan

  • Can you afford it?
  • What type of home are you looking for?
  • Have you saved for a deposit?
  • Can you afford the monthly home loan installments?
  • What type of home do you need?
  • Can you afford the additional costs?

Useful Home Buying Tips for First Time Homebuyers

    1. AffordabilityWorking out what home loan amount you can afford is simple – just look at how much of your monthly budget can be dedicated to repayments. There are different ways of how you should calculate your monthly home loan repayments. Some banks have a calculator for home loans, which can help in giving you an idea of how much your repayments will be.Start with your salary after-tax. This amount must cover everything including your rent. Your total monthly expenses are the determining factor. If your expenses are harder to maintain, paying for rent will be harder to achieve.

      When it comes to interest rates, you can choose between a fixed-rate or an adjustable-rate. However, both these require a down payment of 10%-20%. Fixed rates can be categorised as a year, 15 years fixed or 30-years fixed rates. Banks will consider your interest rates and loan terms when calculating how much your total loan amount will be. This again boils down to your affordability on your monthly repayment amount. Once your offer to purchase has been accepted, you can start applying for a home loan.

    2. Extra costsPurchasing a home comes with several once-off additional costs: transfer duties, a deposit, deeds registration, and conveyancing fees. Once the property is in your name, you will then have to pay a levy or rates and taxes on top of your loan repayments. You might also want to consider long-term maintenance costs like garden and pool services as well as paying for security in your area.
    3. Know what you’re buyingIts best to view a lot of homes before making an offer. Don’t be fooled by the aesthetics. Rather focus on the structure of the house. Are there structural cracks? Is the roof sagging? Pay attention to faulty electrical, plumbing, and gas installations. Consider the neighbourhood: how safe is it? You can hire a company to assist with inspecting the property before making an offer.
    4. Follow up on your offerSo, you’ve found the perfect home. Making an offer is the next step. Before you make this move, however, make sure it’s what you want. Cancelling an offer to purchase can cost a small fortune in penalties. Bear in mind, this is dependent on the details of your signed contract.
    5. Check your paperworkOnce your offer to purchase has been accepted by the bank, filling out your home loan application is the final step. It’s wise to compile a checklist as a guideline to assist you with your application whether it be online or at a branch. Household insurance should also be part of your paperwork in order to protect the contents of your new home.

Before entering into this lengthy process, you must do your research. You can find plenty of first-time home-buyers guides online that are packed with tons of information on what to do and what not to do. If you’re buying your first house, why not lay the foundation for a home that lasts?

Handyman providing an essential service, wearing protective gear handling a sander machine.

Preparing For Home Service Calls During Lockdown

Things don’t always go smoothly at home; your plugs decide to trip the house for no visible reason. Or worse, your tap starts leaking and it won’t stop! We know you’re tempted to try a DIY electrical repair or think you can fix that leak – don’t! You may cause more damage to your property, which could cost more than the initial issue. Instead, call an expert.

This is where household insurance comes in: you contact your insurer and make a claim. Your next call is to a handyman to come and fix the issue. During this nationwide lockdown, only essential services remain in full operation. Thankfully, home repair services are classified as an essential service.

However, it’s easy to keep a 1-meter distance when you’re buying groceries, but it’s a bit complicated when the essential service maintenance handyman comes over for a home repair. Here’s how to ensure everyone’s safety during a repair job.

Scheduling the Visit

Exposure to The Virus

When scheduling the house visit, you might be asked if anyone in your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is quarantined due to potential exposure to the virus – be honest.

You might be tempted to withhold that information, but that would be unfair to the handyman. Meanwhile, you are also within your rights to ask the company if the essential services handyman has recently been exposed to the virus.

Touch-free Transaction

A study by the New England Journal of Medicine has shown that the coronavirus could remain on some surfaces for hours or days. To limit physical contact, you can ask for paper-less signoffs.

Precautions

Call the company and ask about the company mandates for its essential workers when entering homes. Ask if the handyman will be wearing a face mask and gloves. Also, ask whether the work being done will require the use of appropriate disinfectants to clean tools and supplies before and after use. Once these are explained to you, call, or text the service person and review these precautions with them.

Preparing Your Home

Clear a Path

You only want the handyman to attend and stick to the room that needs attention. After all, you want to avoid unecessary contact with other surfaces. So, make sure you’ve cleared the path from the entrance of your home to the room itself.

Prepare the Work Area

Preclean the area where the handyman will be working. You can lay out floor protection such as plastic sheets or old newspapers. This will make it easier for the handyman to walk around the room and place their tools. Make sure you have hand soap ready for when the job is done, so they can wash their hands. Remember to disinfect the washbasin afterward.

During the Visit

Protect Your Family

If you have elderly or immunocompromised persons in the home, move them into another room to limit contact with the handyman. Always make sure you’re wearing a cloth mask and gloves. Make sure everyone including yourself keeps a 1-meter distance from the handyman.

Protect Your Hands

If you must hand something to the worker, make sure you are using nonpermeable or disposable nitrile gloves. Make sure you wash your hands vigorously. If you can use a paper towel to cover the item when passing it, do so.

After the Visit

Wash your hands – you can never do this too much! Clean the surfaces the worker used. Be sure to use household cleaning products that kill bacteria and viruses.

Essential Services in Namibia

Before an essential worker can come to your house and fix whatever is broken, the service provider must apply for an essential service permit. The Ministry of Industrialisation has made the essential services permit application a simple process for providers. Once approved, they will get a permit and travel certificates for their business. These are important as these documents must always be presented if one is stopped by law enforcement while travelling to a home emergency.

Not everyone knows what essential services will remain open and for how long. The coronavirus is affecting more than just our health – it’s our whole lives! Try to stay at home, only leaving the house to get essential items or medical treatment, and keep practicing personal hygiene.

A young couple moves into their new house – now the real work begins, starting with taking out household insurance and other first steps to a happy home.

The Ultimate New Home Checklist

The Ultimate New Home Checklist

All relevant documents have been signed, everything is in order on the deed/lease, and all the boxes are sitting in your new house, waiting to be unpacked. However, don’t think that means you’re done. There are still some very important things that need doing before you can call this new house your home. From changing the locks to getting household insurance to cover your new life, here are the tops five things you need to sort out when you move into a new home.

A young couple moves into their new house – now the real work begins, starting with taking out household insurance and other first steps to a happy home.

Change The Locks And Figure Out A Lock-Out Solution

You don’t know what the previous owners did with their keys. Your first course of action should be to see to the security of your new home. So, either hire a locksmith or replace the locks by yourself.

And as important as it is to make sure you can control who you let in is making sure you can get in yourself, with or without a key. Everyone locks themselves out of their place every once in a while – it happens! So, have a back-up plan in place to get back into your place. Give a spare set of keys to a trusted friend or neighbour just in case you misplace your own or accidentally lock yourself out of your new home.

Locate Shut-off Valves and DB Boards

In the event of a leak, knowing where to find the shut-off valves to the water in your house can help you prevent further damage to your furniture and other household items and appliances. Likewise, you never know when Eskom will strike with one of their timely load-shedding outages, so make sure you know where the DB board is in order to prevent damage to your home’s circuits.

Get To Know Your Area

Get acquainted with some necessary local resources in your area like hospitals and police stations. Be sure to look out for a few not so essential places too like the best takeaway options for those first few days after you move in and are still unpacking. This is great opportunity to get to know your neighbours, since they would be able to help you navigate your new neighbourhood.

Schedule Home Improvements

Even though you’re convinced you’ve bought the perfect house, every place need a little, seasonal TLC to keep it feeling like home. Write up a schedule for seasonal maintenance checks to make sure thing keep running smoothly. These can include clearing the gutters, landscaping your garden, unclogging bathroom drains and such. It’s always a good idea to keep numbers of your local plumbers, electricians, and other such handymen on hand in case of any emergencies. However, by doing sticking to your maintenance schedule, you should be able to avoid most household emergencies.

Insure Your New Life

Finally give yourself some real peace of mind by insuring your new home and valuable household items with household insurance. This kind of homeowners insurance covers the cost of replacing household items that have been stolen or damaged due to natural causes like a flood or fire. You’ve come a long way to establish a comfortable lifestyle for yourself and your family; protect it with reliable household insurance.