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Insurance Q&A with Marc Meldrum, founder of Expat Insurance

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By Marc Meldrum

Where to begin, and what you need to know, about personal insurance in Hong Kong: Frequently-asked questions answered by the founder of Expat Insurance, a private insurance advisor for expatriates in Hong Kong.

I’m looking to begin a family. What issues should I be considering prior to taking out a medical insurance plan that includes maternity cover?
There are a range of considerations on this subject – but the main one is that all maternity plans will have a waiting period, which is typically 12 months. This means that, if you want to start a family, then you should get your insurance first and try to time the birth of your child to arrive more than 12 months after the start-date of your plan. We offer a wide variety of plans from different insurers which will provide a maternity budget to cover ante-natal, delivery and post-natal treatment. Some of these plans also provide additional benefits such as coverage for complications and for your new-born child.

We have a lot of valuable items that we would like to insure (watches, jewellery, paintings, handbags, cameras and computers). How can we insure these valuable items?
The best way to insure these items is to take out a regular home insurance policy and to add your valuable assets as specified items. By doing so, this will allow you to insure these specified items both inside and outside the home in case you were to lose, damage or destroy them, or of course in the event of theft. You will, though, need a receipt for each such item.

What if I don’t have a receipt. What can I do?
For watches you may provide a written appraisal of the value of the watch from a professional appraiser (we can help advise you on this subject), or alternatively a few insurers may insure it based on either the model name and number, or on a photo of the front and back of the watch, or on the serial number of the watch, or even a price reference as proof of the current retail value of the watch. For jewellery you will need a written appraisal of the value of the item from a professional appraiser.

What if I don’t want to take out a home insurance policy – can you insure just my valuables inside and outside of the home?
Yes, but the minimum premiums for such policies are usually quite high. Therefore, in most cases, it will actually be cheaper and you may get better terms if you insure your valuables as part of a home content insurance.

I’m looking for personal liability insurance but cannot seem to find this in Hong Kong?
This type of insurance is not commonly sold as an independent policy in Hong Kong. Instead this is included as part of the home contents insurance. To provide a quotation for personal liability insurance we therefore need to know the address, size and age of your building.

Given the recent spate of protests around Hong Kong International Airport, will all travel insurances provide me with cover in the event that my flight is cancelled or delayed or disrupted by protests?
Actually, no, there are only a few insurers in Hong Kong who will provide you with this important aspect of cover.

I am aware that I am required to provide insurance for my domestic helper. What should I be considering in this regard?
A domestic helper insurance policy is not to be compared with a medical insurance policy. The medical coverage is very limited under a domestic helper policy, but it will give your helper access to private doctors/clinics for illness and minor injuries. For major medical treatment, a policy will also cover your helper through the public health care system.

Some policies will provide a fixed sum for private doctor visits which may not be enough to cover the actual cost of a standard GP visit and medication. Other policies will provide a fixed number of doctor visits where you are guaranteed that the GP visit and medication is covered in full as long as you visit a doctor pre-approved by the insurer.

It is the employer who officially has hired the helper that needs to take out the domestic helper policy in their own name. This means that, if you change helper at all during the policy, it is merely a case of updating us with the new helper details (name, HKID, date of birth) in order to continue with your helper coverage.

Expat Insurance is a fully licensed brokerage operating under Hong Kong regulators. All of our advice and guidance is entirely free as we are paid by the insurer with whom we place your business. Throughout the policy year, we will keep in touch with you to assist with any questions or clarifications, and we will also help with the renewal to ensure that your coverage remains continuous.

Expat Insurance: 3563 9771, [email protected], www.expatinsurance.com.hk

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