Insurance can keep you and your family from financial ruin. But how much do you really need? How should you prioritise different types of cover? And what are some of the common mistakes people make when buying insurance? In our week long series we have answered these questions and more. Here is a round up of the best tips and advice from the experts.
Review your insurance regularly
Check your coverage on an annual basis to make sure it is still right for you. Major life events like getting married, or divorced, having a baby or children leaving the nest can trigger a need to change cover.
Read your policies before you need to use them
Yes we know that ploughing through piles of documentation can be boring but it's better to know what you are covered for before you need it. Insurers can also send out updates once a year when they make changes to policies which are important to read through. Checking at claim time can lead to disappointment. If you don't understand something ring or email your insurer to clarify it.
Lying about pre-existing conditions or who is driving the car when an accident takes place could leave you paying for insurance which will never pay out or at worst facing fraud charges which could prevent you getting insurance in the future.
Get professional financial advice. Not only does this help you figure out what kind of insurance you might need, when it comes to claim time a good adviser can help troubleshoot on the claim itself and free you of some of the burden at a stressful time.
Don't forget to insure your people
Kiwis are good at insuring their stuff but not so good at insuring themselves if they lose income through disability or ill health. Think about how your family would cope if they no longer had your income coming in.
Over-sharing is better
If the insurer needs to know about your medical history get your medical notes from your doctor and read over them and hand them over to the insurer. Tell them about any signs, symptoms, tests and specialist visits even if nothing is found. Giving them as much information as possible means you are less likely to be turned down at claims time for a pre-existing condition.
Your house could be your biggest asset so coming up with a figure to insure it for should be based on evidence not just a pie in the sky guess. Use the calculators on insurer's websites or even better get a quantity surveyor to tell you how much it would cost to rebuild.
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Travel insurance is best taken out when you book the flights
Waiting until just before you fly can open you up to a multitude of issues including sudden ill health preventing travel, natural disasters and protests or terror attacks which could leave you out of pocket if the trip has to be cancelled or is delayed.
Switching needs to be timed right
If you're changing insurers, don't cancel your old cover until you're confirmed as a customer of your new insurer on terms you're comfortable with. Ask the adviser or the insurer if there is any downside to switching - will you be covered for pre-existing conditions?
Getting the bill for your annual premium can be a good time to shop around and get a better deal. Try and get at least three quotes to compare with your existing insurer. Having your house, car and contents insurance in one place can be a way to get discounts.
Emergency savings allows you to self insure for the little things
While it's easy to shell out on insurance to get cover for things like your mobile phone, a broken windscreen or window, if you have savings put aside you can cover those problems yourself saving you the outlay on premiums.
Insurance - are you covered?:
Monday: What you need and what you don't
Tuesday: House, contents and car insurance
Wednesday: Health insurance
Thursday: Life and income protection insurance
Friday: Travel insurance
Saturday: All your insurance questions answered plus the best tips and advice from the experts