This article was originally published on MSIG Insurance Singapore
With at least 250,000 maids in Singapore employed by families, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) requires employers to purchase maid insurance for their helpers. Even though maid insurance is compulsory, it’s not as widely discussed as car insurance. The reason behind this is that most employers hire their helpers from an agency which may have partnered with insurance companies to provide the necessary benefits.
However, not all employers are aware of the coverage of their maid insurance. So, it is no surprise that the most common question an employer asks would be, “What does your maid insurance cover”. To answer this question, we’ve created a complete guide on buying maid insurance in Singapore.
What are the coverage requirements for a compulsory FDW Insurance?
Every employer should purchase Medical Insurance, Personal Accident Insurance (PAI), and security bond, and medical insurance for their helper in Singapore as required by MOM below:
- Medical insurance with a coverage of at least $15,000 per year for hospitalisation and day surgery
- PAI with a sum assured of at least $60,000 per year
- A security bond worth $5,000 for non-Malaysian helpers
As the above requirements are compulsory, all foreign domestic helper insurance policies in Singapore will cover them. Maid insurance policies are available for 14-month or 26-month periods. As most employers hire a domestic helper on a 2- year contract, buying a 26-month plan can save them at least 30% of their expenses in a year.
What does maid insurance cover in Singapore?
Not all maid insurance agencies offer the same benefits beyond the minimal requirements and would charge differently. Most insurers provide coverage for medical and administrative expenses. Below are some of the benefits you can get in a typical maid insurance policy:
- Coverage for surgical expenses
- Coverage for repatriation cost
- Provides personal liability protection
- Medical and dental coverage
For some insurers, they may offer additional benefits such as:
- Wage compensation
- Third-party liability
To help you understand the policies, we’ve broken down each of the benefits and insurance coverage.
1. Medical Expenses for maid hospitalisation and surgery
Maid insurance policies are required to cover hospitalisation expenses and surgical fees, including day surgery fees, in the event of an injury or illness. Certain policies may also provide cover for pre-hospitalisation medical consultation and diagnostic services and post-hospitalisation follow-up treatments.
Unfortunately, your domestic helper’s medical insurance won’t cover just any type of condition and may exclude certain medical conditions and pre-existing illnesses or injuries. That is why it is advisable to ask about your domestic helper’s medical history before deciding to hire her. Employment agencies may require maids to mention any pre-existing medical conditions so their employers can be aware of it.
Here’s a list of what insurers typically exclude from medical insurance:
- Alcohol or drug addiction
- Pre-existing conditions
- Nursing care
- Psychiatric illnesses
- Cosmetic surgery
- Braces and prosthetic devices
- STD treatment
- Pregnancy (which can lead to immediate cancellation of work permit)
- Routine dental care
Other than the conditions above, employers are not allowed to let their FDWs pay for her own medical fees and must shoulder most of the expenses to maintain their FDWs. MOM encourages employers to purchase policies with higher coverage to protect themselves from expensive medical bills.
2. Personal Accident cover when a maid is injured
A minimum of $60,000 per year’s worth of PAI coverage is mandatory, according to the Ministry of Manpower. This payout will be made in the event of an accident that causes a permanent disability or death of the helper. Certain insurance policies may also provide cover for dental treatment or Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatments for an injury resulting from an accident.
3. Alternative Domestic Help Benefit to hire substitute helper
If your helper is hospitalised due to an injury or illness, some policies will pay you a daily allowance to hire a substitute or an alternative helper. The duration and daily allowance amount vary between policies.
4. Wage Compensation and Relief
If your domestic helper is unable to work and is hospitalised due to an injury or illness, some policies will compensate you for your maid’s wages. Since getting sick is the least thing your foreign domestic worker wants to happen to her, the policy will pay part of her wage while she recovers.
5. Repatriation Expenses to assist maid as she goes back to her country
Some maid insurance policies will provide some financial payout should you need to repatriate your helper because she can no longer work and suffers from permanent incapacity. In the event of her death due to an injury or illness, the burial or cremation in Singapore and/or conveyance of the body or ashes to her origin country will also be covered. Without the benefit of this policy, the process can be expensive, amounting to thousands of dollars.
6. Third-party Liability in case maid unintentionally harms others
Bad days can happen to anyone, including your domestic helper, who might have unintentionally caused physical injuries or damages to other people’s property. Although it is an accident, usually, the employer will need to pay for damages. Some policies will cover your legal liability due to your helper’s negligence in the course of her work. The amount of cover will vary according to policies. MSIG’s MaidPlus for instance, provides up to $20,000 worth of cover.
7. Maid’s Personal Belongings in case of loss or damage of their items
In today’s times, most people would own a smartphone, and so do our domestic helpers. Thanks to these mobile devices, they can keep in touch with their families who live miles away from them. Some maid insurance policies go further by offering protection for your FDW’s personal belongings. These could range between $300 to $500 worth of claims for the loss or damage of their items due to insured events.
8. Replacement Maid if forced to replace helper due to unexpected reason
In some cases, an employer is forced to replace their domestic helper due to unexpected reasons such as a sudden death or major disability. Fortunately, some insurance policies will pay FDW agencies to get you a new helper. Take note that the contract can only be terminated due to serious reasons.
How much is Maid Insurance in Singapore?
Just because maid insurance is mandatory when hiring a foreign domestic helper in Singapore, it does not mean you should purchase the first plan you see. An employer should compare policies and choose carefully. Besides factoring in the premium costs, you should also check for the insurer’s online reviews to help you to find the best maid insurance protection.
The cost for a 26-month plan could range from $260 to $420 (including GST) under MSIG’s MaidPlus insurance.
Premiums for 26 months
(inclusive of 7% GST)
How to Choose the Best Insurance Policies for FDW?
Choosing the best maid insurance policy may not be as easy as it sounds. The reason behind this is that not all employers prioritise the same thing. Some may prefer to purchase lower-cost policies as long as it fulfils MOM requirements, while some want more benefits or coverage. But if you’re looking for the best maid insurance in Singapore, go for the ones with higher medical coverage so you can have better peace of mind in the event of unfortunate events.
If you want to save yourself the hassle of comparing insurance policies, your FDW agency can help you in this area. When an individual hires an FDW from these agencies, they offer a maid insurance along with the hiring contract. If you do hire from a maid agency that offers a maid insurance policy, but you want to purchase a different type of insurance in Singapore, you can also opt-out of it and handle the needed paperwork by yourself.
This is for general information only and does not constitute financial advice.
This policy is protected under the Policy Owners’ Protection Scheme which is administered by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC). This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
Buying domestic helper insurance policy is a long-term commitment. You should consider if this policy is suitable for your needs, or you may wish to seek advice from a qualified financial adviser before making a commitment to purchase this policy. Switching from an existing policy to a new one may have potential disadvantages.