Monday, May 18, 2015

Common Insurance Mistakes to Avoid (Part One)

Buying insurance can sometimes be a much more difficult thing that we want it to be. Unfortunately, if you really want to cover the bases and make sure your insurance works the way you need it to, there are some things you need to be aware of. This article will list out some common mistakes people make when buying their insurance and how best to avoid them.

1. Don't rely on assumptions.

One of the most important considerations when looking for insurance is just how much cover you need. When looking at this, there are some things you can very easily overlook. For a life, total permanent disability or trauma insurance policy a sum assured that only covers your existing debt or that is just an arbitrary figure may not be enough. Factors such as inflation, growing cost of living, interest and more need to be considered thoroughly otherwise yourself or your beneficiaries may end up with a payout that isn't enough to support them in their most difficult time. For disability and long term insurance, the situation is even more complicated and very difficult to work out just how much money your beneficiaries would need. This is where talking to an adviser before you get your insurance becomes essential. You will most often need more than your current income to maintain your current living conditions in the future so don't make assumptions of how much you'll need.

2. Cheaper is not always better.

Often the primary consideration when choosing insurance is the cost of premiums. Understandably, people are extremely motivated to pick the policy with the cheapest monthly premium but in the insurance industry, this can be a dangerous choice. For example, as a rule in general for health insurance, the higher your premiums the less you will be paying when you have to claim for healthcare. The company's reputation and amount of coverage you'll get also needs to be thought about carefully. If you're going to encounter problems at claim time, your savings in premiums are going to pale in comparison to the consequences if you won't get paid out in full. A qualified adviser can inform you of the differences between insurance providers and it's something that definitely needs to be taken into account.

3. Not knowing what is covered.

Make sure that you don't gloss over the details of what specifically is covered by your insurance. For health insurance, policies can cover GP visits, surgical costs, dentistry and optical. Your policy can cover one, all or a combination of them. General insurance policies such as home or contents insurance can cover certain events, but it can also not cover them, leaving you in a costly hole if certain circumstances should ever come to pass. Not knowing exactly what's covered beforehand is a bad mistake and could cost you hugely in the long run, so either ask an agent or go over your policy fine print thoroughly before making any decisions.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Breaking News (May 2015)

1. Tower Insurance makes a game out of safe driving. -

With their new smartphone app, families finally have a way to settle all those arguments about who among them is the better/safer driver. Good feedback and points are accumulated for safe braking, smooth acceleration, good cornering and driving at safe speeds under the speed limit. Once every journey is complete, the app gives your score as well as feedback on how to improve next time. This has led 74% of drivers to improve their scores over time.

2. NIB launches new travel insurance. -

NIB is partnering with global travel insurance provider World Nomad Group to offer travel insurance to Kiwis along with their current health and medical insurance business. This marks NIB's continued expansion in the NZ marketplace after purchasing TOWER medical in 2012.

3. Rise in amount of Insurance and Superannuation Jobs available. -

The latest data from SEEK has revealed a month to month jump of 40% in the amount of insurance and superannuation jobs available, much of the growth coming from Auckland and Canterbury.

4. Health Insurance Claims hit $1 billion for the year. - Good Returns

The milestone was reached in the March quarter with insurance funded healthcare in NZ passing $1,000 million. The number of policy holders over the age of 65 continued to grow with the number reaching 150,000 in March.

5. NZ Government asking for everyday Kiwis flag suggestions -

Submissions for new flag designs and what we stand for are being requested by the NZ government. What do you stand for?

6. Health: Study links long car commutes to weight gain. - NZ Herald

People who have changed from their routine of driving to work to walking, cycling or using public transportation lost significant amounts of weight. The research was led by the University of East Anglia in the UK. The longer the commute, the more the weight loss as commutes over 10 minutes leading to a loss of 2kg and a huge 7kg on average for journeys of more than 30 minutes.

7. Opinion: Is Auckland a housing bubble and will it burst? - NZ Herald

Every month we read news about soaring Auckland house prices, with the figures just becoming more and more bloated and out of reach of everyday Kiwis. Is this a permanent trend or a housing bubble that is set to burst?