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 Insurance tips for the new year

If you are looking to switch your short-term insurer with a new provider, do the due diligence, read the fine print and make absolutely sure you know exactly what you are buying – and that you are in fact getting an all-round better deal.

 

Some people spend less time reviewing insurers and quotes than they do when choosing a new pair of shoes or New Years Eve outfit. For many, the choice is simple. Whichever provider can offer the best price gets their business. But, choosing an insurer purely on a cost basis is not always the best way to go. Remember, the insurance industry is very competitive and there are likely to be very good reasons for the differences in premiums.

Here is some advice from 1st for Women has the following advice for those shopping-around for insurance in 2010:

  • Shop around first – Never go with the first quote. Source quotes from at least five different insurance companies and compare them carefully.

  • Consider all aspects - Aside from price, you need to consider the levels of cover, the conditions of cover and the excess you will be responsible for. Also, think about aspects like customer service, communication and support because in the event of you having to make a claim, you will want your insurance provider to be as helpful and supportive as possible.

  • Find an insurer that speaks your language – Different insurance companies target different types of customers so you might find the best prices are available from a specialist car insurance company that understands your personal requirements. You should also feel comfortable during each interaction with the insurance company.

  • Read your policy and read it again - To avoid misunderstandings it is a good idea to read and re-read your policy. Look at the vehicle section on your policy and ask:
  1. Does this Motor Policy include Hail Damage?

  2. Is the driving of your vehicle restricted to a named driver?

  3. For vehicle theft to be covered must it be accompanied by visible and forcible means?

  4. Is cover for theft or hijacking subject to the installation of an immobiliser or tracking device?

  5. Are business use extensions included in car and household insurance?

  6. Are personal and motor Third Party liability limits adequate in view of recent awards by the courts?

  7. What territorial limits are applicable?

  8. Are penalties imposed for young drivers?

  9. What excesses apply in the event of loss or damage?

  10. Is there cover for loss/damage from mining operations or from landslip or subsidence?

  11. Is there provision for car hire?

  12. What other value-added benefits are there?

Look at the household contents section of your policy and ask:

- What exactly am I covered for and what are the exclusions? For instance, am I covered for loss or damage caused by fire, lightning, explosion, malicious damage, falling trees, storm, flood, the bursting or over-flowing of geysers, equipment or pipes, break-in or theft?

- Will my insurance cover food that deteriorates because of power failure or if my freezer breaks down?

- Am I covered for money stolen from my home?

- What about loss or damage to locks or keys?

- Will I be covered against the fraudulent use of my credit or bank cards?

- What are the other value-added benefits such as medical response etc.?

- What are the terms and conditions in terms of security measures that must be present in my home and can I fulfil these requirements?

Make sure you have calculated the sum insured correctly – To determine the correct sum insured for your household contents you should remember that your possessions are insured on an old for new basis so, use current replacement values as your guide, allowing for inflation. Don’t under-insure your goods to save a few rands on your premium as this will mean that you will be underinsured. The danger of underinsurance, which occurs when there is a discrepancy between the premium paid and the replacement value of what’s being insured, is that your cover will be inadequate and your insurer will not meet your claim in full when it comes time to claim.

Robyn Farrell, managing director of 1st for Women Insurance Brokers

 

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