Sunday, September 28, 2014

Hospital Stay Insurance Benefit - How it Works

Hospital. That smell, those beds, that food. Trust me, as a regular visitor to one, I know the drill. It sure isn't my favourite place in the world to visit. But if I was to get re-imbursed for it, that sure might make it a heck of a lot more tolerable. That's what we're talking about today, a benefit on your insurance that could result in just that.

If you have an Income Protection policy you likely already have this benefit (although it always pays to read the policy wording and check, because different providers and policies can vary). Basically, what it means is that if you suffer an illness or accident that necessitates a stay in hospital, you can claim on your hospital benefit. The benefit is designed to protect you whilst you're in hospital, aren't earning an income and possibly can't manage the bills such as your mortgage/car payments/rent etc.

The costs of a hospital stay on your life can be mitigated with Income Protection.

For instance, let's say Mike has a policy with a hospital stay benefit and suffers an illness which lands him in hospital for two weeks. The way the payout is usually calculated is that you will receive 1/30th of your agreed upon monthly income protection payout for each day you are in the hospital. Mike's monthly sum assured is $5,000. 1/30th of $5,000 is $166. That means Mike will receive $166 for each day of his hospital stay. Since Mike stayed two weeks, he is eligible for a total payout of $2,333.

We're trying to draw a bit of attention to this benefit, because recently we have had clients unaware of the fact that they were eligible for a claim on hospital benefit until we told them. So take a close look at your policy wordings and if you've had a hospital stay in the past, you might be eligible for some financial help.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How to save money on your insurance.


1. Think about your sum assured.

The sum assured of your insurance policy is the amount that the insurers will pay you when you have to make a claim. As the sum assured of your insurance increases, so will the premiums that you pay. Take the time to do some research and think about what circumstances in your life could arise. Plot out a set of possible costs and ask the right questions (for instance, 'If I were to be diagnosed with cancer, how much money would I need to keep my family going and support them?). When you have come up a figure as best you can, add to the figure a bit and take that as your ideal sum assured. Rather than just assuming costs and selecting a round figure such as $200,000 which could be too high, taking the time to plan could end up saving money on your insurance. For a deeper insight, you could always consult a financial adviser who can plan out exactly what you need your insurance cover to be.

2. Scour the marketplace or get a quote from several brokers.

Every insurance provider is different, with different waits, different conditions and different policies. It is crucial that you take the time to go out into the marketplace and find the best deal possible. Jumping at the first offer could leave you paying premiums you don't have to. If you wish to go it alone, compare the major insurance providers plans and offers. An insurance broker can help you complete this process with even better results, as reputable brokers generally have deals in place with major insurers and can get you even better rates. Get quotes for your insurance from several brokers to compare and then select the one that offers you the best deal to save money. Also take into consideration the ongoing service they offer as well as the quality of the cover they are offering.

3. Think about adding an excess.

If you are looking at a medical or fire and general insurance policy (such as home, contents or vehicle insurance) adding an excess can reduce premiums significantly. Adding a $500 excess for example, means that the first $500 of any incurred medical or damage costs is agreed to be paid by you, with the insurer covering the rest in their claim. Having an excess can be inconvenient, but if you claim rarely, it can more than pay for itself with the savings in premiums.

4. Extend your wait period - Income/Mortgage Protection/Redundancy Cover.

In an income protection or mortgage insurance policy, the wait period is the amount of time you agree to wait after your claim is accepted for insurance payments to begin. For instance, with a 13 week wait, you will begin receiving your income protection payments 13 weeks after your claim is accepted. The longer your wait period, the cheaper the premiums you will pay become. If you are part of a working couple who can sustain themselves on one income for a period of time or if you have savings set aside for a rainy day, this could be ideal in saving you money.

5. Select the right optional benefits.

Many policies can include optional benefits or extras. Medical policies for instance can be more basic or comprehensive, including such things as hospital cover and GP costs. Think about the benefits you are truly likely to need and which ones are not required. An adviser can help with this process, setting out all the benefits against your current personal financial situation.


1. Review your insurance regularly.

We review our clients insurance annually, and the reason for this is that things change, both in life and in the insurance marketplace. A new product may have come on the market, your life circumstances may have changed or better deals may now be available. If you have your own personal insurances that are not through an insurance broker, be sure to take the time to review your cover on a regular basis. Ask yourself how well it is working for you, if anything has changed in your life that may allow you to reduce your cover and search for new deals that are out there. If you are with us, we can do all this for you. A regular review can save you money in the long run.

2. Are you a smoker?

Keep in mind that if you were a smoker at the time of taking out your insurance policy, you can save a considerable amount of money on your premiums by quitting. Several of our clients in the past have neglected to inform us that they quit smoking years ago when their policy was continuing under an assumption of smoking. Once you have quit for a certain period of time, your policy can be changed to non smoker, and you will be shocked at how much money each month you are saving.

3. Think about the cheaper, more specific covers.

If you really need to save money on your insurance, you can think about replacing some of your insurance with their more specific, less expensive versions. Income protection can be more costly when compared to both Mortgage Insurance and Redundancy Cover. So, if you are mainly worried about covering your mortgage payments or maintaining an income in the face of redundancy, these cheaper policies can be better than a full on Income Protection policy. Discuss your options with a professional and make an informed decision.

Want a free, no obligation review of your insurance needs? Email or call 09 307 8200 today.