For many, insurance policies are something you know you need, yet seldom spend much time proof-reading; paying the requisite premiums and storing the associated paperwork deep within a drawer somewhere, only to be dug out in times of crisis.
The reality is that, as our lives, financial circumstances and locations change, the terms laid out in those all-important documents can be rendered invalid, which is why it’s critical that all policyholders undertake regular reviews in order to ensure ongoing valid cover.
While reviewing an insurance policy might feel like a daunting undertaking for many, it’s important to remember that the onus is on you as the policyholder, to keep things up-to-date, alternatively risk foregoing cover. The good news is you don’t need a legal degree to keep tabs on your cover. By knowing how to review your policy terms and conditions and understanding the factors that can trigger a shift in those needs, you can make sure that you and your valuables are kept protected.
Here are a few things to be mindful of when proof-reading your policy:
Choose the right cover
When choosing your cover, it’s important to check that your vehicle is covered under the correct use (business, private or professional). For instance, if you’ve changed jobs and your new role now requires travel during the day, over and above travelling to and from work and home, using your own car, you’ll need to ensure your use isn’t set to ‘private.’ It’s also vital to confirm that the value of the car is correctly stated and that any relevant optional extras, stipulated in your finance agreement, are included in the terms of your policy. Your vehicle information is an essential element in determining and ensuring adequate cover as they determine the relevant premiums that you will pay, so make certain that the car make and model, registration details, the colour and any modifications are all correctly captured.
Familiarise yourself with your policy
Carefully check and familiarise yourself with the different excesses listed in your policy, as you will be liable to pay these in the event of a claim, irrespective of whether you were at fault or not. It is vital to always note the correct regular driver of the vehicle being insured, as this determines what your premiums are and ultimately affects your claim. In addition, be aware of your policy benefits, as you might be pleasantly surprised to find that you’re entitled to roadside and home assistance benefits that can end up saving you additional cash each month or when you claim.
Keep your information updated
Make sure your personal information is correctly captured and up-to-date. Details such as your ID number, contact and parking information are essential, and can make the world of difference when it comes to lodging a claim. It is also crucial that you ensure that your previous insurance and all previous incidents are correctly captured – something that tends to create challenges for many when lodging a claim, as these tend not to be top of mind. Last but certainly not least, confirm that your payment information is correct, as agreed upon, to avoid a situation where you do not have cover for an incident because of a missed payment.
In summary, here’s a quick guide to help you review your policy details:
- Personal information: Check that your ID number, contact information and address for both day and night parking are correctly captured and up to date.
- Payment information: Make sure that your account details, collection date and premium amount are correct. Remember – no premium, no cover.
- Insurance history: Check that any previous claims and incidents and all prior insurance provider details are correctly captured as these impact your risk profile. If incorrectly captured, it could affect your cover when claiming.
- Vehicle information: It is essential to have the correct details captured to ensure adequate cover. This includes: the make and model of your car, the vin, engine and registration numbers for your car, as well as the colour, kit and modifications. It is also important to note whether your vehicle is financed or not.
- Payable excess: Make sure you are comfortable with the excess payment that you need to pay in the event of a claim.
- Benefits: Check whether you have roadside and home assistance included in your policy.
Ultimately, as a policy holder, it’s always advisable to be well acquainted with your policy documents. Set aside some time to go through it at least once a year and make sure to immediately inform your insurer of any necessary changes. Also remember to always inform your insurer of any losses or incidents that you have suffered within the required time. Don’t wait until it’s too late to stake your claim to cover.
MiWay is an Authorised Financial Services Provider (Licence no: 33970).