Those buying their HDB flat may vaguely remember the mention of the Home Protection Scheme (HPS) and its relation to the Central Provident Fund (CPF). Now, we use the term “vaguely remember” because there’s just so much paperwork and housing jargon involved when getting your own HDB flat, that the HPS CPF just becomes another so-called compulsory form to fill.
If you don’t recall as all your attention was focused on getting the keys to your new home, here’s a quick refresher. The HPS CPF scheme is a type of mortgage-reducing insurance that protects CPF members and their families from losing their HDB flat in the event of death, terminal illness or total permanent disability.
Back in 2020, $83.8 million was paid out in claims to insured homeowners. The premiums were revised and reduced on 1 July 2021. So if you’re wondering, how the HDB HPS works, let us lend you a hand. In this article, we’ll go in-depth into what the HPS CPF scheme is, the annual premiums, rebates, exemptions and more.
What Is the Home Protection Scheme (HPS CPF)?
The HPS is a type of mortgage-reducing insurance. This means that the sum assured is proportionate to the remaining amount payable for our home loan – as you pay down your home loan, the sum assured for HPS reduces accordingly.
In the unfortunate event that a co-owner contracts a terminal illness, has a total permanent disability or dies, HPS will pay off the outstanding home loan, up to the sum assured, based on the percentage share of cover of the insured.
Like any insurance plan, there is an annual premium payable that can be paid for with your CPF funds. A health declaration is also mandatory, and some may need to undergo a medical examination.
According to the CPF website, you have to be insured under HPS if you are using your CPF savings to pay for your monthly home loan instalments on your HDB flat. However, one can apply to be exempted if they already have insurance policies that provide similar coverage.
HDB Home Protection Scheme (HPS) Eligibility
To qualify for HPS coverage, you will need to satisfy the following:
You are the legal owner of the flat
You have completed the loan application with HDB or the approved mortgagee and are now legally responsible for the loan
You have made your health declaration which is accepted for HPS coverage
You have paid the first Home Protection Scheme premium
You are between the ages of 21 and 65 (inclusive)
Note: You can’t use HPS for private residential properties (i.e. executive condominiums) or privatised Housing and Urban Development Company (HUDC) flats.
HDB HPS: How to Check HPS Status
If you are thinking “how to check HPS status?”, you can check it in the Home ownership dashboard using your Singpass. Besides the HDB HPS status, you can check for your current sum assured and the share of your Annual Premium HPS cover.
You can also find detailed information about your HPS cover on the HPS certificate you received when your HPS cover was issued/adjusted. Do note that you are able to meet the requirements in order to be eligible for the HDB HPS.
How Much Is the HDB Home Protection Scheme (HPS CPF)?
The amount of annual premiums paid for the HDB HPS varies with:
Your home loan amount
Your home loan tenure
The percentage of coverage
Loan interest type (HDB concessionary loan or market rate)
Age and gender
For point 3, if you and your co-owner decide to split the mortgage payments by 80% and 20% respectively, you may accordingly opt to get HPS coverage for at least your individual share (i.e. 80% and 20%) of the mortgage amount. The default position is 100% coverage.
The good news is: You’ll only need to pay the annual premium for 90% of your HPS cover period. Find out your annual premium via CPF’s Home Protection Scheme Premium Calculator.
For example, a 30-year-old female with an HDB concessionary loan amount of $300,000 with a loan tenure of 25 years would be looking to pay $180 per year for 22 years for 100% coverage. As mentioned above, although the sum assured decreases as she pays off her home loan, her HPS CPF annual premium doesn’t change.
You won’t need to use cash unless there are insufficient funds in your OA. The HPS CPF annual premium is automatically deducted from your CPF Ordinary Account (OA) before your monthly mortgage is deducted so that the HPS remains in force before you use CPF to service your HDB loan.
Just be mindful that if your HPS lapses (you can submit a deferment request), you will need to reapply for HPS and be subjected to another health eligibility check.
Home Protection Scheme Rebates
While the annual premium of our Home Protection Scheme is yet another added cost to our home-owning journey, we still can get relief in the form of Home Protection Scheme rebates.
These most recent rebates were paid out in January 2020, to the tune of a total of $640 million, disbursed to some 760,000 CPF members. According to the CPF Board, about half of those eligible for the rebates received at least $500, which was credited to their CPF OA.
What Does the HDB Home Protection Scheme (HPS) Cover?
If you’re insured under the HDB HPS and don’t miss your annual premium payments, you will be covered up till 65 years old or until your housing loan is paid up, whichever is earlier.
Here is a table demonstrating in what instances are the mortgagee and/or insured person covered or not.
Yes. Unless the insured was not in good health before the commencement of HPS cover.
Terminal illness must be certified by an accredited doctor.
Total permanent disability
Unless it is a self-inflicted injury* or the claim arose from wars or any warlike operations or participation in any riot.
Total permanent disability must be certified by an accredited doctor
Unless the claim arose from wars or any warlike operations or participation in any riot, it was a criminal offence punishable by death* or suicide*
*These events are not payable if they occur within the first policy year of the cover.
There Are Also a Few Criteria Before the Claim Benefits Can Be Received:
For terminal illness: terminal illness typically refers to an illness that is likely to result in the death of the insured person within 12 months
For total permanent disability: the insured is unable to take part in any employment permanently or has total permanent loss of physical function of a) both eyes, b) two limbs, or c) one eye and one limb.
However, the HPS doesn’t cover critical illness (i.e. cancer), which could also greatly impact one’s ability to pay off their housing loan.
HPS benefits are also not payable if the insured provided false or misleading information. Do note that your HDB HPS will also be affected if you:
Sell your HDB flat
Redeem your home loan
Buy a new HDB flat
In the market, you’ll also find private mortgage-reducing term assurance, which is similar to HPS. However, some private mortgage-reducing insurance plans may include critical illness coverage. This could help to plug any financial gaps related to your mortgage, should your existing critical illness coverage from your life/term insurance plans be insufficient for your home loan.
How Can I Be Exempted From the Home Protection Scheme?
“Is HPS Compulsory?” Yes, it is if you are using your CPF savings to pay off your monthly HDB instalments.
However, those with sufficient insurance coverage that is enough to cover their outstanding housing loan up to the full term of age 65 (whichever is earlier) can apply to be exempted from the Home Protection Scheme.
These are some of the accepted types of insurance policies (traditional/investment-linked):
Life Riders (must be attached to a basic policy)
Mortgage Reducing Term Assurance (MRTA) / Decreasing Term Rider
Note: Group policies, policies with loans attached, policies from insurance companies not registered in Singapore, policies in foreign currency and health/general insurance policies are some of the types of insurance plans that are not accepted.
Even if you already have these plans in place, you must first get the HPS CPF cover if you are planning to use your CPF savings to pay for your mortgage. Only then can you apply for an exemption after you have obtained legal ownership of your HDB flat.
Some people opt for exemptions for varying reasons, such as:
Having existing insurance coverage (by getting HPS, they will be over-insured)
Not finding HPS value for money (based on their own mortgage amount and insurance premium calculations)
Planning to sell their HDB flat after the 5-year minimum occupancy period (hassle of re-applying for HPS should they buy a new HDB property as HPS is not portable/transferrable)
Planning to sell their HDB flat and upgrade to a private property
Wanting to get a private MRTA for the added critical illness coverage
The Home Protection Scheme is compulsory for most of us HDB homeowners. Application for the exemption comes later, approval is on a case-by-case basis. Sure, there are some coverage gaps (i.e. for critical illness), but fingers crossed that this will be updated in the future.
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