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Statistics from the Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia (BOMBA) revealed that 6,301 cases or 95 percent of fire incidents that occurred in 2018 was classified as accidental and were caused by human activities such as overuse of electrical appliances. The value of properties lost due to fire last year was estimated at RM 3.317 billion. 
 
To discuss matters including how to raise awareness about fire safety and the importance of home insurance, Allianz Malaysia Berhad organised a media forum - Smart Home, Safe Home – together with Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia (REHDA) and BOMBA. 
 
Allianz Malaysia Berhad’s Chief Executive Officer Zakri Khir said: “I have said many times in the past that Malaysians lack a sense of vulnerability and tend to relegate it to someone else or even the government.  They cannot relate that vulnerability to needing protection and it is no different when it comes to keeping their homes safe. Today, I am happy that we will get to discuss at length how we can change this mindset and really get Malaysians to sit up and take notice.”
 
Bomba statistics is 2018 revealed that out of the 104,045 emergency calls received that year, 35 percent (or 36,758) calls involved reports of fire. Last year also saw 6,626 structural fires with 2,991 incidents involving homes. 
 
YAS Dato’ Mohammad Hamdan Haji Wahid, Director-General of the Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia said: “We all know what causes a fire, but somehow that knowledge does not translate into us taking the necessary preventive measures to avoid them. Based on our findings last year, 95 percent of fires were a result of human activities. Time and again we have to remind Malaysians to be wary of old wiring, over-loading of electric circuits and electrical faults. We must take an interest in home safety; this is the first line of defense because smoke kills in seconds and fire kills in minutes. So, I implore Malaysians to take the adequate measures to looking into these things from time to time and seek professional help to address these issues.” 
 
In an event of a fire, these are important steps to follow: 
 
Rightful claimers for fire insurance are victims, house owners or house occupying tenants. 
Request for a certified copy of the Fire Incident Report or SLKK (Salinan Laporan Kebakaran/Kecemasan) from the Fire Operation and Rescue Division. The report will cost RM100.00.
Attach the SLKK when you apply for the Fire Investigation Report (LPK1) from the Fire Investigation Division. The LPK1 report will determine the cause and origin of the fire.
Use both documents as well as a police report to submit your claim to insurance company.
 
As owning a house is one of the largest financial investments one can make and it is important that house owners understand the importance of protecting their most valuable asset.
 
So, when purchasing your dream house, consider the following: 
 
Security system: Elevate the security and safety of your house. Consider installing a home alarm system complete with siren package, motion detectors (indoors and outdoors), vibration sensors (for windows and doors), glass trek (to detect sound of glass breaking), as well as smoke detectors. 
Having adequate insurance: When a house buyer receives financing from bank, the letter offer signed will include a fire insurance purchase agreement in the clause - a compulsory requirement by most banks financing the housing loan. However, a house buyer can also purchase his / her own individual fire insurance from an independent company provided the fire insurance report is submitted yearly to the bank, to reassure that insurance is actively protecting the property.
 
REHDA President Y.Bhg. Dato’ IR Soam Heng Choon said: “House owners should look out for overlapping purchase of insurance by house owners during the confirmation of end-financing with the bank or financial institution; and purchase of insurance policy by Joint Management Body (JMB). It is important that house buyers and house owners understand the different types of insurance that is available out there for loss or damage due to flood, burst pipes, fire incidents, lightning, explosion and even theft and to be able to secure sufficient coverage with one policy in place.”
 
Besides that, there are a lot of common misconceptions out there when it comes to house insurance. Most homeowners tend to fall into one of the following categories. They currently have a bank loan and it comes with house insurance; they have paid off their house loans and have put off buying house insurance; or they could be one of those who subscribes to the “it would never happen to me” school of thought.  
 
“Most Malaysians are still in the dark about house insurance. We are so used to things being done for us. So when we finish paying off our housing loan, we tend to ignore the fact that our house – our most prized possession- is not protected. Accidents happen, fire is a huge threat, and natural calamities like thunderstorms, flood and landslides do not discriminate. Are we not afraid? Or are we too busy to do anything about it?” said Horst Habbig, Chief Sales Officer of Allianz General Insurance Company (Malaysia) Berhad.
 
According to Horst, these are the things every house owner should remember when it comes to house insurance: 
 
House loan: When your housing loan ends, so does the house insurance cover that came with it. 
Double insurance for apartments: If you live in an apartment or condominium, the building management and your housing loan already protects the building. Don’t fall into a trap paying double premiums. Instead, buy an insurance that covers the contents of your house.
Fire detariffication: Detariffication has been in effect since 2017, so compare prices to make sure you get the best deal for your house. Allianz Smart Home Cover is a modular house insurance that lets you customise your coverage and pay 30% less premium than the old tariff product.
House value: As it is common for the loan to be accepted as the sum insured, you run a risk of either over or underinsuring your house. 
House contents:  The bank insures the building structure, not your contents. 
 
The Smart Home, Safe Home media forum was supported by the Malaysian Press Institute. 
 
For more information about Allianz Smart Home Cover, visit allianz.com.my/smart-home-cover. To learn more about Allianz Malaysia’s latest insurance solutions, visit allianz.com.my. 

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