Insurance is one of those things that we pay for ‘just in case’. For individuals it may be to insure a car, a home or its contents, or even life insurance. For businesses there are certain liability insurance requirements, and many more possible insurance policies. Some insurance is a legal requirement in Australia while others we take on board for peace of mind, but all come in useful when things go wrong.
Generally, an insurance policy will be designated to be in place for a certain length of time – perhaps a year for car and home insurance, for example – so what happens when the policy comes up for renewal? In most cases the insurer will inform you the policy is about to expire and that they will automatically renew it on the given date. This is something you need to avoid, so let’s have a look at what you should do.
When you get that reminder letter, the one telling you that your insurance is up for renewal, take it as a signal to start looking around and comparing deals. All good Melbourne insurance advisers will advise you that this is the course of action to take. Why is this so? Because, quite simply, insurance policies of all kinds differ in many ways.
They can vary in the cover they provide in certain circumstances, in the cost of the policy, and also in the small print. While it may be an old cliché to state that nobody reads the small print it is also true, but you really should scrutinise every word of an insurance policy. Let’s take a home contents policy: you want to know whether it covers all appliances in the home, as well as any IT equipment or smartphones. Does it cover jewellery and valuable items, and if so, up to what value?
There will be many such questions you need to ask that can unveil hidden ‘get out clauses’ that absolve an insurer of payment in certain circumstances. There may also be items you are paying for that you do not need. In car insurance, for example, do you need cover for up to 20,000 miles a year, or do you only do 10,000? This one works the other way too: check that a policy covers you for the miles you routinely cover in a year.
By talking in detail to an insurer – or filling in an online form – you can get a tailored policy costed for you, with no extras and covering you for everything you need. This brings us neatly to getting quotes.
A reputable insurance provider or broker will happily give you a quote or quotes without obligation. This is because insurance is big business in Australia and every insurer wants your business in a competitive market. This plays into your hands, as you can then compare quotes like for like and choose the one that suits you best. However, don’t simply go for the cheapest one. This is likely to be the one with the least comprehensive cover and a very basic set of criteria. What you should do now is look for the policy that includes the cover you need and are expecting, plus any extras. What do we mean by extras? Take car insurance: some policies may include breakdown assistance as part of the package. If this is so you need to decide whether you need it – you might have your own roadside assistance plan in place – or if it is better value than one you are paying for individually. Look also for policies that cover you old for new, as these will allow you to replace appliances, for example, that are many years old with new ones when they break down, rather than on a like for like value agreement.
Ask for Deals
Once you have your final two or three insurers and their quotes, talk to them and ask for deals, see if they’ll match the lowest price, and try and drive them down. Sometimes an insurer will want your business over a competitor so will knock a percentage off, others may match the lower quote in terms of policy content and price. You have nothing to lose by pitting one against the other.
Insurance can be had for sensible prices if you take the time to follow the above tips and get the best deal around, and you may even find you get some additional benefits thrown in when you shop around the various insurance companies and brokers. So when that reminder letter comes in don’t forget about it, as should your current insurer renew your policy and you want to cancel you may incur an additional cancellation fee or be left with a policy that is not right for you.