How to secure life cover online before heading off on your holiday

BEACH BABES: Holiday-makers  in Plettenberg Bay, about 600km from Cape Town.  Photo: Marianne Schwankhart
BEACH BABES: Holiday-makers in Plettenberg Bay, about 600km from Cape Town. Photo: Marianne Schwankhart

Some life cover is better than not having any cover. If you need to take out cover quickly online, for example, before going on holiday, here’s how to go about it wisely.

These tips come from Katharine Liese, the general manager of marketing at 1Life, and Gregg Sneddon, an independent financial adviser.

1Life is the biggest online insurer in South Africa and for seven years has been ranked the top direct insurer by reinsurer SwissRe. Sneddon holds the Certified Financial Planner accreditation and charges a fee for advice (rather than taking commission).

1Life is the biggest online insurer in South Africa and for seven years has been ranked the top direct insurer by reinsurer
SwissRe.

Sneddon holds the Certified Financial Planner accreditation and charges
a fee for advice (rather than taking commission).

● Are you dealing with a trusted and reputable financial services provider (FSP). “Is the company a known entity? Is
the FSP number – deno ting that the company is registered with the Financial Services Board – clearly displayed on the website? Make sure that there is a physical address and that contact details, including that of the company’s compliance officer, are online,” Liese advises.

● Is the company transparent?

“Are they as upfront as they want you to be?” Liese asks.“You should never feel like you’re being rushed or pushed. You must be given time to interrogate the policy and to ask questions – it’s an important life decision. Are the policy documents complicated? They should be easy to understand,” she advises.

●How does the company deal with complaints? Sneddon says you should check Hello Peter (www.hellopeter.com) to get a sense of how other consumers experience the policy.

Is the company innovative in the tech space? Do they have a social media presence and are they responsive to customers’ complaints? Does the site offer a live chat facility? Liese says this gives you a sense of a company being “open for business and transparent”.

●Does the company offer a secure platform? “You’re going to be divulging all your personal info online and need to guard against identity theft,” Liese says.
Make sure there is a lock in the address bar or that the url ends in an “s” - https.

●Does the FSP allow you to do a financial needs analysis before you buy online? Liese says that a needs analysis helps you to work out how much cover you need and can afford.

There is nothing stopping you from buying R3-million life cover, but it will come at a cost, and you should not spend more than you can afford.
As a rule of thumb, 1Life recommends that you take out cover that costs between 2% and 4% of your monthly salary.

● Is the policy flexible? “Ca n you adapt your cover as your lifestyle changes?” asks Liese.

“We advise that you assess your cover annually, increasing or decreasing it as your circumstances change.”The life cover needs of someone with a young family will be vastly different to the needs of someone who is about to retire. The latter will typically have no debt or dependants

● When do premiums increase and by how much? Some assurers cap the premium for two years, which gives you some security in terms of
budgeting, and then increase it by say 5% a year thereafter.

While others increase it on the anniversary of your policy or at beginning of the year, so me assurers increase premiums
as you age.

● Has there been full disclosure?

Liese says there must be full disclosure by the consumer – of all pre-existing conditions – and by the life assurer as to what is covered
and what isn’t.

Failure to disclose a pre-existing condition can put your family’s financial future at risk, she warns.

“Disclosure might result in a loading on your premium, but rather this than a repudiation of your claim,” Sneddon says.

If a life assurer fails to disclose an exclusion you may have a complaint to the Ombud for Financial Services Providers.

●Have you sourced at least three quotes? Don’t accept the first quote. Shop around for the best cover for you.

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