Guide on Moving in Hong Kong
There are three main types of home insurance in Hong Kong, building, contents and personal liability.
Building insurance covers structural damage to the premises including fixtures and fittings and is the responsibility of the owner of the apartment or house. The cost of building insurance will depend on several factors, including the age of the building and maintenance level. If you are renting a property you may not have to buy your own building insurance, as many apartment complexes will have such policies in place with the management company; though villas and townhouses will not will be included in the rental agreement.
If you choose to buy your home, then you are required to have home insurance if you are planning to get a mortgage. This building insurance is the bank’s way of covering its interests in case there is a fire that causes structural damage to the property. This kind of policy also has allied components associated with it that offer protection from typhoons and the like.
Contents insurance covers the amenities, contents, and fixtures and fittings not provided by the property developer and is by and large the responsibility of the tenant. There are two types of contents insurance available: fully comprehensive and third-party fire and theft. A fully comprehensive contents insurance policy is highly recommended, as this covers damage caused not just by theft and fire, but also severe weather conditions such as water damage and typhoons, which are common in Hong Kong.
The level of insurance and the value of coverage required varies according to individual companies. Some insurance companies in Hong Kong require a full list of each item insured, while others will place a maximum amount on the value of the contents. It is worthwhile fully researching the options before making an agreement with one insurer.
Personal Liability Insurance
Personal liability insurance covers any claim by a third party for bodily injury or property damage in the event of negligence, for example, a falling window hitting a pedestrian. This type of insurance is usually taken out by the property owner.
There are many companies in Hong Kong which provide home insurance policies. A selection of recommended companies are listed below:
AXA General Insurance
Tel: 2523 3061
Tel: 2233 3130
Tel: 3183 3143
Tel: 3113 1331
RS Insurance Brokers
Tel: 3106 2698
Jebsen Insurance Brokers
Tel: 3180 6335
Utility bills are usually not included in the rent and the costs can vary widely depending on your usage. While bills cannot be paid directly online with the provider, payment is convenient – payment methods include setting up an autopay arrangement with your bank, mailing in checks, online with Internet banking and at ATMs, or with cash at convenience stores and post offices.
There are two electric companies in Hong Kong: Hongkong Electric, which supplies electricity to Hong Kong Island and Lamma Island, and China Light & Power (CLP), which serves Kowloon, the New Territories and Outlying Islands. Accounts can be opened online or in person with your Hong Kong ID card or passport at the relevant company, and will take about 2 to 3 working days to be set up. An upfront deposit of two months’ estimated usage is required. Hongkong Electric bills are issued monthly, while CLP bills are issued bi-monthly.
Cost will vary widely depending on your usage and whether you leave your air-conditioners running all day during the summer. For a family of four, it can range from HK$1,000 to $5,000 depending on the size of your premises. Apartments which have central air-conditioning units typically incur humongous electricity charges. Yet another contributing factor for a high electricity bill is extensive use of washer-dryer units. Many drying units in Hong Kong have drying cycles that last for two hours and use up a lot of electricity.
9/F Electric Centre
28 City Garden Road
Tel: 2887 3411
China Light & Power
G/F & M/F, 46-48 Granville Road
Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: 2678 2678
Water is supplied by the Water Supplies Department (WSD). To open an account, simply download form WWO1 from the WSD website, and post it together with a copy of your Hong Kong ID card or passport, and a check for a deposit of HK$400 to the WSD’s address below. Applications normally take seven days to process. Bills are sent quarterly, and for a family of four, the average cost of water is HK$300-$500 per quarter.
Water Supplies Department
43/F Immigration Tower
7 Gloucester Road
Tel: 2824 5000
Gas in Hong Kong is provided by Towngas, and an account can be opened either online or in person. A technician will be dispatched to your home for appliance inspection and maintenance (this service is free). You will need to provide a passport or Hong Kong ID card number, and a deposit of HK$600 which you can either pay with a check or have it added to your first bill. Meter readers will visit your premises every three months to record gas usage and ensure safety.
Shop 1008, 1/F United Centre
95 Queensway, Admiralty
Tel: 2880 6988
Postal services are generally efficient and reliable, with most local mail delivered within one working day. A letter sent to any Hong Kong destination costs HK$1.30 (standard) and HK$1.40 (non-standard) for the first 30 grams and airmail prices begin at HK$2.40 for the first 20 grams.
You will find post offices in the business district and most residential neighborhoods. Postage stamps are available outside of opening hours from vending machines and convenience stores.
To find a local post office and opening hours:
For a list of locations of street posting boxes:
For postage rates:
General Post Office
2 Connaught Place, Central
Tel: 2921 2222
Reputable and experienced shipping companies are widely available in Hong Kong and they all offer a wide range of services. Companies will be happy to provide a quotation on request and will usually visit your home to assess the price of the items you wish to be shipped.
Tel: 2736 6032
Tel: 2366 6700
Tel: 2418 4333
Tel: 2636 8388
Tel: 2976 9969
If you require smaller items shipping, a number of worldwide shipping companies are represented throughout Hong Kong and they all have comprehensive websites that feature shipping cost calculators and details of how to access their services.
Tel: 2735 3535
Tel: 2400 3388
Tel: 2730 3333
Tel: 2331 2663 / 2331 2266