Wanting to purchase some insurance products in Hong Kong, but feel overwhelmed by choice?
Buying insurance products in Hong Kong is expensive, and selecting the right ones can be difficult.
We’re sure you’re keen to figure out how to save money on your insurance premiums. In this article, the topics we will cover include:
- The importance of comparing policies
- Important considerations for health insurance
- Why an insurance broker is a good idea
- That you might be able to cancel your insurance policy & switch to a new policy immediately
- Our favorite helper insurance
1. The importance of comparing policies
There are many insurance products available in Hong Kong, and there is a massive difference in pricing from policy to policy. It’s worth taking the time to review all of your insurance policies and ensure you are getting the best deal.
When living in Hong Kong, you might find yourself accumulating many different insurance policies, including medical, home & contents, household fire, car, and helper insurance.
Take the time to look at your insurance policies and do some research on all the products available. With some research, you should expect to be able to lower your premium costs.
2. Health Insurance
Health insurance in Hong Kong is expensive. In fact, it’s one of the most expensive places in the world for health insurance coverage.
But did you know that in Hong Kong, if you have a valid visa and HK-ID card that you will be able to access Hong Kong’s high-quality public healthcare for free or at a meager cost?
The major downside to public healthcare is the amount of time you may have to wait to get an appointment for non-urgent cases. When you get an appointment, you can expect to spend some time queuing to see the doctor.
If you decide you want to purchase private health insurance, a way to cut health insurance costs is to select the “Ward” room option over the “Private” room option. By opting for the “Ward” room option, you might be able to save up to ~30-40% for your health insurance.
You can save so much money by selecting the “Ward” room option because doctors alter their fees depending on the type of room you are staying in.
So, for example, for a particular surgical procedure, you can expect to get charged a higher surgeon’s fee if you are staying in a private room versus than if you were staying in the ward. That’s crazy, right?!?!
3. Seek help from an insurance broker
In Hong Kong, there are many different companies offering insurance products. This makes comparing all the different policies time-consuming.
We highly recommend seeking advice from a professional insurance broker.
Insurance brokers should be able to provide you with advice and insurance quotes across all brands. This is absolutely critical.
Once you have the information and have all the insurance quotes, the insurance broker can then help you to decide which products will suit you the best, and how you can save money on your insurance policies.
Best of all, insurance brokers won’t charge you a fee, and the cost of your insurance premiums will not change by using an insurance broker. The insurance company will wear the cost of any commission fees paid to brokers.
We don’t recommend consultants who only cover a specific (or few) brands because of their inherent conflict of interest.
4. You might be able to cancel your current insurance right now
If you’ve done a review of your insurance policies and realized that you want to change to a different policy, you may not have to wait until all your insurance policies have expired. You can cancel many general insurance policies in Hong Kong before the policy period has ended and get part of your premium refunded. Call the providers of the policies you have realized are more expensive than necessary and check to see if they will offer you a partial refund.
For example, if you have a 12-month policy that permits cancellations and you want to cancel six months into the plan, you can expect roughly half your money back. This may change depending on the specific policy, so check the fine print before you cancel.
The key message here is that you shouldn’t wait until your insurance policy ends before moving to a cheaper policy.
5. Helper Insurance
Hong Kong law requires you to have valid insurance coverage for each helper you have. The good thing about Helper Insurance is that you should move the coverage to a new helper if the policy is still current and has not expired.
Our favorite Helper Insurance is Allied World Maid Guard (Plan III). This insurance provides good coverage at a reasonable cost.
With this insurance plan, helpers will get their own medical card, see a doctor up to 25 times per and receive three days of medicine (no need to pay, present the card). The insured helper will also receive a voucher to get the flu vaccination at a reduced price.
6. Two-Year Insurance Policies
Some insurance policies will offer 2-year coverage (instead of a single year of coverage). If you can buy 2-year coverage, you will likely be able to lower your annual premium.
Importantly, you may still be able to cancel a 2-year policy part-way through the insurance policy. Thus, this can be a really great option.
7. Combine insurance policies
Check to see if you can reduce your insurance premiums by purchasing multiple policies from a single provider.
For example, it is often cheaper to buy household contents insurance and fire insurance instead of purchasing these policies separately. Your insurance broker will be able to tell you all about this.
8. Home Contents Insurance
Some insurance providers in Hong Kong will charge you a hefty premium for your Home Contents Insurance if you live in an older building.
We have found that AXA Insurance, in particular, adds a hefty premium for older buildings. Also, AXA Insurance tends to charge you a higher premium if your apartment’s layout has been altered from its original state.
When you are purchasing home contents insurance in Hong Kong, be sure to ask about both these factors. We have found that in Hong Kong, Zurich Insurance tends to offer the best deal for household insurance as they won’t charge you more for living in an older building or for having an altered internal layout.
9. Fire Insurance
Most banks that provide you with a mortgage in Hong Kong will require you to purchase Fire Insurance to secure a mortgage.
Do not just blindly accept whatever Fire Insurance your bank is offering you. You will likely pay 2-3x more than what you should be paying if you take the bank’s offer for Fire Insurance.
10. Be wary of policies that offer the first year free
Policies that come with “freebies” are precisely the kind of insurance policies that you will end up spending far too much money on unnecessarily.
Do not sign up for any insurance policy before first doing your research; this includes policies that offer the first year of coverage. These are often exactly the kind of policies you will end up over-paying for.
In such cases, the insurance company is often hoping that the offer of a free year of coverage will stop you from looking at any further details.
11. Things you shouldn’t ignore while buying insurance
1) Research is the key to get yourself the right insurer so, always do your research before finalizing anything.
Here’s a list of things that you must check concerning your chosen insurance company before deciding on buying any insurance policy from them:
- How well-established is the company?
- Do they have a license for their services?
- What is their financial condition?
- Have any of your friends or colleagues availed of their services in the past?
- Are they rated by an independent security-rating agency?
The answers to all these questions will help you decide whether the particular insurance company is right for you or not.
2) You don’t have to accept the lowest price always. Many policies do not provide the required protection. So it is essential to read every information carefully.
- There might be a very low limit of business liability protection in your contract. In such a scenario, if your policy limit exceeds at the time of settlement, you might have to pay the balance yourself. So it is important to read all the details carefully.
- Carefully go through your policy to ensure that legal expenses will be paid additionally to the limit of liability since legal fees in Hong Kong is very expensive.
Going digital with insurance: How is it benefitting the insurance buyer?
- Reduced operational costs: The digitization of the insurance industry has improved the prices big time as now companies are offering more competitive prices coupled with customization.
- Identifying and mitigating risks: With insurance companies going completely digital, fraud chances are reduced as everything is under check. The technology is helping in detecting the frauds beforehand and preventing the risks for safer businesses.
- Improved customer experience: Great customer experience is another plus buying insurance online, saving you time and money.
As one of the most sophisticated insurance markets globally, Hong Kong is now digitally empowering its people to scale up and adopt this new way of buying and selling insurance.
As a result, more and more people are switching to purchasing insurance online. Hong Kong also encourages its insurers to use technologies and adapt to it to enhance their services in the form of risk analysis, determining premiums, and managing claims. The right usage of tools will directly impact their business growth.
We are committed to helping people with advice on everyday living in Hong Kong.
Our tips are intended to save you money, improve the quality of your life. If you’re a newbie to Hong Kong, you might be interested in our article about A Guide for Newbies in Hong Kong.
If we have missed any tips for buying insurance products in Hong Kong, please let us know in the comments below.