27 Apr Insurance: Every 12-18 months, make sure you ask yourself these questions
We have 5 important questions to ask yourself in relation to your insurance needs. If you answer YES to any of these questions, you could benefit from reviewing your insurance cover with the help of your financial adviser.
1) Have you welcomed any new members to the family or taken on new responsibilities such as caring for an older relative?
You might want to add a new beneficiary to your policy or increase your amount insured to cover for your growing family’s future needs and the increased financial responsibility you have.
2) Have you changed jobs or got a promotion?
Your income is your biggest asset over the course of your life. If your income has changed, your future needs have likely changed too – so you’d benefit from reviewing your sum insured with your financial adviser.
This is especially important if you’ve got income protection. That’s because your benefit amount, and the premium you’re paying, are directly linked to the personal income we have recorded on your policy.
If your income has changed, get in contact with your financial adviser to review your policy.
3) Have you paid off large debts?
The amount you’re insured for is to cover for your future financial needs should something happen to you. If you’ve significantly paid down large debts, your needs may have changed.
You may want to think about reviewing your sum insured to ensure it’s right for your needs – not too little, and also not too much.
4) Have you taken on any new debts?
Being insured for the right amount is an important factor of cover suitability. Customers usually need a level of cover that can, as a minimum, pay off any existing debts should something happen to them. If you’ve taken on new debts, your needs may have changed.
You should review your cover with your financial adviser to ensure you’re covered for the right amount.
5) Does your policy have a health loading? Has your health improved – or have you stopped smoking?
Personal risk factors such as smoking and your Body Mass Index (BMI) add what are called ‘premium loadings’ to your cover – which means you pay a higher premium than someone who doesn’t have this risk factor.
If your health has improved (e.g. you’ve lowered your BMI or your lifestyle has changed recently), get in touch with your financial adviser to review your policy and determine if these loadings can be removed to help lower your premium.
Ways you can adapt your cover to your current needs:
a) Choose the amount you’re insured for
Your premium is closely linked to the total amount you’re insured for. And it’s important to make sure you’re covered for the right amount, not too little, not too much. To find out more, see How much cover do I need?
Choosing the premium type that’s right for you can have a big impact on the lifetime cost of your policy, and your financial adviser will be able to help with forecasting that impact.
To find out more, see What’s the difference between stepped and level?
b) Choose to accept or decline indexation
Indexation, if available, is an automatic increase to your sum insured to ensure the value of your policy is not eroded by the impacts of inflation.
But you’re in control – it’s important to know that as the sum insured increases, the premium you pay may also increase. This means there are circumstances in which you might want to decline the indexation offer. Speak with your financial adviser about what is best for your personal circumstances.
To find out more, see What is indexation and how does it work?
c) Remove any loadings you might have
Personal risk factors such as smoking, dangerous hobbies or occupations, or a high Body Mass Index (BMI) may add what’s called a ‘premium loading’ to your cover – which means you pay a higher premium than someone who doesn’t have those risk factors.
Any loadings like these are recorded on your Policy Schedule. So, if your health improves or your lifestyle has changed recently, get in touch with your financial adviser to review your policy and determine if these loadings can be removed to help lower your premium.
In the end, you’re in control – you can review your cover with your financial adviser and adapt it to your needs.