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Personal Lines Insurance
Friday, February 1, 2008
Shopping list

Consumers need to update their household contents policies at least once a year. The best time is probably after the Christmas celebrations, a time perhaps when one can focus on new acquisitions and take the opportunity before returning to work to ensure that inventories are up to date.

Comments Edward Gibbens, Santam’s Executive Head of Broker Distribution, “Life moves so fast that clients can forget to inform insurers about changed circumstances and accumulation of new possessions. They may only realise the impact of this should they have to claim.”
Increase sums insured over time. “As you buy more things for your home, or make alterations or renovations, the insured amount could become inadequate. When there is a loss, you may find that you are underinsured and this could result in further financial loss.”
Also make sure that your policy is paid. Account details may change and banks may send the payment back. If there is no payment the policy might be cancelled, which is even worse than being underinsured.
Make sure your car is insured correctly along with any extra accessories that have been added. In the ordinary scheme of things your vehicle indemnity value should be reduced annually in line with depreciation. This may, or may not save a bit of premium. Of course, this does not alter the fact that you could cause an accident involving a very expensive vehicle belonging to a third party. Your motor insurance premium is usually structured to take account of this.
Mr Gibbens says that by approaching short-term insurance as a risk management exercise, consumers are in a much better position to evaluate the level of their exposure, to some extent influenced by lifestyle. He advises consumers to consult a broker for any assistance they may require in managing risk. They are especially qualified to help individuals determine their level of risk and to find the most suitable short-term insurance products to cover these risks.
Specify jewellery in the ‘Specified All Risk’ section of your policy. Make sure that your personal effects are covered under the general ‘All Risk’ section. This includes things like glasses, cameras, binoculars and so on.
If cover is subject to burglar proofing and security gates, it applies to each and every window and door. Remember, this includes the small windows and the doors that are rarely used.
If an alarm is applicable on your policy, check that it is in working order and remember to activate it every time you leave the premises. Make sure that the response company does get the signal when the alarm goes off.
When applying for a policy, remember to tell the insurance company or broker about anything that might influence the premium or cover. Declare all claims; make sure they know exactly what the vehicle is going to be used for, as well as who the regular driver will be.
An insurance policy does not cover all contingencies. Make sure that you know what is and what is not covered.
Of course, a policy update should not be limited to part of your Christmas list. Make a habit of following up any asset purchase with a brief referral to your policy. Do you need to add it to the All Risks section, for instance? Is it automatically covered under the policy? Maybe there are certain terms and conditions you had not worried about before, but actually relate to the very thing you have just acquired. Your broker can help you if you are in doubt.

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:21.1 1st February, 2008
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