Do you have your hatches battened down or do you prefer to play it fast and loose? Insurance is not really seen as a necessity for people with low income. The fact of the matter is that everyone will have to deal with financial loss at some point. Insurance is a way to deal with this loss. It gives you protection, compensation and financial security for you and your family.
Financial stability is a thing that wealthy people take for granted. You can inch closer to this feeling by being prepared for loss. Being prepared means you don’t have to pay the full cost of something unexpected happening. It means you don’t have to dip into savings and investments. It means you don’t have to borrow money or sell your assets. Finally, it gives you confidence that you can take care of yourself and the ones you love.
If you are on the road in a registered car, you will have some form of insurance. Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Insurance covers you for the death and injury to people while you are behind the wheel. It is as its name dictates – compulsory. Third party property insurance covers you for causing damage to other people’s
property with the optional extra of fire and threat cover for your own vehicle. Comprehensive insurance covers all damage to vehicles, people and property, both yours and others’.
Typical exclusions to car insurance include damage from mechanical failure, depreciation, rest and modification, lost wages if you can’t drive to work, damage caused by unsafe driving or racing, intentional damage, damage caused by an unlicensed or under-the-influence driver and drivers not covered by the policy.
Home and contents
H&C is often neglected as people really don’t see themselves doing damage to their own property. However, home insurance covers the cost of rebuilding your home should it be destroyed. This makes sense living in Australia where bushfires, tropical storms and floods abound. Contents insurance covers the precious things inside your house that can be stolen.
Total replacement cover includes all costs to rebuild your home before the event that affected it. The sum-insured cover is more common and covers up to a set amount of damage. You need to find out what is and what is not covered by your policy. Also, the amount you are replacing is adjusted for today’s prices. Insurers will offer different remedies to settle your insurance claims.
You’ll recognise it as the staple insurance advertising from daytime TV. It’s also one of the least understood. There are a number of insurance types under the umbrella of life insurance that may or may not be important to you. These include life cover to pay a set amount when you die, total and permanent disability cover, trauma cover for a specific diagnosis and income protection.
There is no right answer to how much or little life insurance you need. Compounding insurances can be quite expensive. It really depends on what you can afford and how much you need. Consider these questions:
- How much cash would your family (super, shares, savings, existing insurance) have if you were to die or become disabled?
- How much leave do you have accrued?
- What kind of support do you have (family or government)?
- What do your debts and expenses (mortgage, car repayments, childcare, education) amount to?
Investigate your policy options. You may have life insurance through your super fund. Insurance companies, brokers and financial advisors will give you all the information you need in layman’s terms. Make sure you shop around.
Private health insurance is absolutely essential in reducing the cost of hospital fees and specialist visits. Many treatments are not covered by Medicare and private health insurance will fill the gap. Not having insurance can cost you a lot of money in the long run, especially if you have to undergo prolonged treatment.
As always, you need to find the right policy for you. Medical insurance can be as diverse as life insurance. Every policy covers different things. Private health cover can often exclude claims related to pre-existing conditions and cosmetic procedures. Waiting periods and other restrictions will often apply as well.
If you need to make a claim, you need to do so within two years of an accident or illness. Check what time limits apply to your policy. Make sure all of your visits are documents and receipts kept.
As absolute must for going overseas. This product typically covers medical expenses overseas, loss of luggage and personal items, theft and disruptions to your travel plans. It can save you so much money if the worst were to happen overseas. You can find hundreds of stories and case studies online of people who have been put out because they didn’t have insurance.
It will cover your pet being in an accident or coming down with an illness. Higher-end policies will cover preventative care in the form of vaccinations and worming. Breeds usually make a difference to the policy and older pets (over 7 years) will not be covered. Policies will not cover pre-existing conditions, bi-lateral conditions (affecting one ear or one eye), elective treatments like de-sexing and treatments for where there is a known preventative cure like a vaccine.
Tips for all insurance
Compare – never settle for the cheapest. Insurance is sold using high-pressure tactics. It’s a flooded market. Good deals come thick and fast.
Read and reread and read again – there is enough fine print in any given insurance policy to keep you occupied for an entire day. Read everything, including what is not covered by your policy. The product disclosure statement will hold this information.
Claim straight away – whether it’s in the car or at home. After you have called emergency services and everyone is safe, you should call your insurer. Tell them the problem while the details are still fresh in your mind.
Be honest – not just about what happened, but if your circumstances change. You need to give your insurer accurate information when describing an incident or lodging a claim. Failure to do so will affect the premium you pay. It may even be fraud.
Evidence – it’s your greatest weapon. Record and document as much as you can that relates to your claim. Photograph, record and retain as much paperwork as you can.
Review – your cover needs to match your needs, above all else. Your life can change at the drop of a hat. Make sure your insurance is ready for it.
We hope you found this content helpful and as always a reminder that all information provided in these post is quite general in nature so we encourage anyone making critical financial decisions to seek professional financial advice to ensure that actions are right for you. Follow the links to find out more information about our personal loans, learn more about financial literacy or head to the homepage.