It is entirely possible and quite easy to insure your home in Seoul under Home Contents Insurance. In Seoul you can be insured for your home and everything in it, or you can choose insurance that only covers fire and “perils”. To insure everything in your home will result in a deductible of about $500.00 USD, but home insurance is not mandatory in Korea. Some reliable insurance companies in Seoul are:
- Chartis: http://www.chartisinsurance.com/_804_200211.html
- Ace Rent: http://www.acerent.net/insurance/home_property.php
- Ace Group: http://www.acegroup.com/ACE-Worldwide/Korea.html
Gas, electricity and water services will need to be set up if they have not already been done before you move into your new home. Water is generally included in your rent while gas and electricity are paid for by the tenant on a monthly basis. You can pay these bills, which arrive in the mail, at your bank. Ask an English speaking bank teller to help you with the special ATM for bills (you will need your bankbook for this, so get into the habit of keeping it on your person).
Seoul City Gas (http://www.seoulgas.co.kr/main/english/eng1_8.jsp) – If you live alone, chances are that your monthly gas bill will be less than 30,000 won. If you have a large family, it will be about 60,000 won per month. In the winter this amount could double or triple depending on how often you use the ondol (Korean floor heating system). All Korean residences have a control box that lets your turn the hot water on and off, so you turn it on before a shower and off after. This helps control the usage, and thus the price.
Seoul Metropolitan Government Waterworks Office. While it’s usually included in your rent, water use usually costs around 10,000 won per month for the average Seoul household. If it isn’t included in your rent, you can expect to pay it every 2 months. To access your local waterworks office, dial 121 on your phone (02-121 on your cellphone).
Korea Electric Power Corporation (http://global.seoul.go.kr/global/view/living/liv02_07.jsp). Electricity is the most expensive utility in Seoul. The average Seoul household can expect a monthly bill of at least 15,000 won in the summer and double to triple that in winter, when you’re using heating. It depends on the size of your home and how much heat/air conditioning you like to use.
Setting up Utilites
This is usually done for you by your landlord. They simply change the bills over from their name to your name. The only other case would be if your utilities are included in your rent, or you may pay your landlord directly as they may have chosen to keep the bills in their name. In the rare case that you will need to regster them yourself, you will need a Korean friend to help you, as there are no reliable English speaking lines to contact. All that you will need is your address, your Korean bank account information, and your ARC number. With these three things your Korean friend can get your utilities connected the same day.
Paying your Utilities
If the utilities are in your name, and you receive the bill each month then you will be responsible for paying it. To do this you must take the bill that you have received in the mail to you local bank branch. There is a machine located inside of the bank that you will use to pay your bills directly from your bank account. It is in Korean and can be tricky the first few times, but after you learn how to do it (there will always be someone the bank who can help you), you will see that it is actually quite simple and very efficient.
Expats coming from most Western countries will love the postal service in Seoul – it’s fast and it’s very inexpensive to mail packages overseas – even big ones! When you move into your home in Seoul you will automatically have an address given to you. You will automatically begin receiving bills and other mail at this address, although they may not be in your name. If this bothers you, contact the utilities office sending you the bill and change your contact information. Post offices are open from 9AM to 6PM Monday to Friday, and some are open from 9AM to 1PM on Saturdays. In most post offices there will be at least one person who can speak English, and if they can’t then they will at least be able to read it.
If you live in an apartment or condo, your mail slot will generally be found on the ground floor, just inside the door.
Korea Post Website: http://www.koreapost.go.kr/eng/index.jsp
Euro Transport International: http://eurotransportintl.com/
If you live in Canada, The United States or Argentina, you can use this international shipping company.
Allied International Moving Services: http://www.allied.com/
This international shipping company is able to ship to and from anywhere in the world and takes care of small shipping packages or moving entire households overseas.
Hanjin Shipping Inc.: http://www.hanjin.co.kr/English_html/index.jsp
Hanjin is Korea’s top international shipping company. They provide personal or corporate shipping to anywhere in the world and have an English option on their website. Their main office is located in Yeongdeungpo-gu in Seoul.