By Mark Teale – Retirement Strategies and Solutions Specialist, Centrepoint Alliance
(Prepare for Life)

When you’re buying a car or planning a holiday, insurance is probably the last thing you want to think about. But having a good insurance policy can make all the difference to your pocket – especially if the unexpected happens and you need to make a claim.

Here are some ideas:

Shop around

Don’t just accept the insurance policy that is offered. The car dealer or travel agent may be getting a commission for selling insurance policies. Comparison sites make it easy for you to compare prices. Before you commit and sign a policy, make sure you understand what is and isn’t covered. Some travel insurance policies will not cover you for extreme sports (like bungy-jumping or white-water rafting).

Make sure you choose the policy with the right coverage for you and your circumstances, or you could end up with hefty expenses to pay.

Think about insurance before you choose your car

If you are buying a car, check what insurance will cost. You might think that, if two cars cost the same amount to buy, they would cost about the same amount to insure. But the cost of insurance often depends as much on the type of car, as it does on the how much you paid.

Be truthful

When you apply for any type insurance, you’ll have to provide lots of detail. If you are getting car insurance, you may be asked about your driving record or whether the car has been modified. Your answers will help the insurance company decide how risk is involved and therefore how much your policy will cost.

If you need to make a claim, and you have been less than truthful, your insurer may have grounds to refuse to pay. This also applied to renewals. You must tell the insurance company if your circumstances change. If you have any doubts – ask your insurer (and keep a written record of what they told you).

Home insurance – building and contents

For most of us, our largest and most important asset is our home. Are you financially prepared for a flood, storm or fire, or even minor mishaps such as broken windows, theft or appliance mishaps?

Building and contents insurance are in fact two different policies. You can purchase a combined policy, or you could purchase each element as a stand-along policy – just building or just contents.

If you are renting, you will only need to purchase contents insurance as the landlord will have their own insurance to cover the building.

Be careful not to underinsure your home or the contents on the false premise of saving money because of cheaper premiums. If you find yourself having to rebuild your home, only insuring your property for 50 or 60 per cent of the rebuild cost could create an unnecessarily financial burden for you.

Don’t take insurance for granted, make sure you have the right cover to protect your assets and experiences.


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