Personal insurance has always been a grudge purchase. However, with the economy as it currently stands, it is more important than ever to ensure that you are adequately insured.
But instead many policy holders are actually cancelling their policies in order to make ends meet.
Every day presents different challenges and risks. Personal insurance needs to be flexible enough to satisfy your individual needs.
The last thing you want is to pay insurance for years and then when you have a claim to either be told that there is no claim or that you are underinsured.
One of the ways in which we can keep costs down on our own individual policies is for policy holders to take on more voluntary excesses and reduce the less important part of their policy.
It is possible to reduce premiums but at all times ensuring that you are covered for any major catastrophe.
How to protect your home as well as contents and valuable items should not be seen as a quick to-do event. You should take time to ensure that the values insured are sufficient for you to be put back into the same or similar position as before you had the claim.
It's a lot easier when you get a renewal for an annual policy but it's those who pay monthly who tend to forget to re-assess their values adequately and frequently.
If you insure properly and you understand what you are insured for and what you are not insured for, you should never be the individual who says "all I do is pay, pay and pay for insurance and when I have a claim there's always a problem".
I think it's important that policy holders understand the following:
lThe impact any claim will have on your no claims bonus and whether it is worth claiming;
lInsurance on the property itself and whether you insure through the bond holder or privately;
lIf you are buying direct make sure that you inform the insurers of all information - no matter how immaterial you may think it is - many a claim has been refuted due to non-disclosure of what people may think is an irrelevant detail;
lThe role of the short term ombudsman; and
lShould you combine motor and your domestic/luxury cover onto one policy
Keep a full inventory of everything in your home - I can assure you this will save a lot of hassle should you have a claim.
Don't be one of those who turn round and say "if only I had . . ."
l Bryan Hirsch is a director of Pioneer Financial Planning. Visit www.pioneer.co.za