Your hassle-free insurance guide

Your hassle-free insurance guide

insurance guide

Paying monthly insurance fees might sometimes seem like a grudge spend, but it can make your life a whole lot easier in the long run.

Getting covered

Making sure you’ve got the right insurance cover for all inevitabilities is an investment in your family’s future. If you have an accident, lose your house, are burgled, become sick, or are injured, insurance will save you and those around you from potentially devastating consequences. Here are the answers you’ve been looking for!

Home insurance

What is the right insurance for me?

There are three types of home insurance. Find the one that works for you, says Elmarie Twilley, spokesperson for Virseker.

  • Home contents insurance covers you against theft, loss, damage and other perils such as a fire or flood.
  • Buildings insurance covers loss or damage to the actual building structure as a result of fire or explosion; storm, flood, lightning strike and resultant damage; ground movement including subsidence and landslip.
  • Portable possessions or all risk cover allows you to claim for items you usually carry around with you, which have been stolen, lost or damaged, for example: jewellery, sunglasses, cellphones, MP3 players, cameras, laptops, clothing and tablets.

Tip: For many, choosing the right insurance is a decision made purely on a cost basis. But checking whether your insurance covers all the likelihoods relevant for you is just as important.

How do I value my household contents?

Make a list of everything in your house, and work out how much it would cost to replace. Home contents insurance covers the possessions that are in your home, says Warwick Scott-Rodger, head of Dialdirect Insurance. An easy way to determine this is to imagine taking the roof off your home and turning it upside down – everything that falls
out constitutes your home contents.

Car insurance

What type of insurance do I need?

There are three types of car insurance available, says Warwick Scott-Rodger, head of Dialdirect Insurance.

  • Comprehensive vehicle cover will protect your car against theft as well as damage caused during an accident. It also covers damage caused to someone else’s vehicle or property.
  • With third party, fire and theft cover, you can claim for certain specified damage to your vehicle, such as fire damage, or if it’s stolen. It also covers damage caused to a third party’s property or vehicle – but not yours.
  • Third party cover means you can only claim for the damage you caused to another party’s property or vehicle.

How much car insurance cover do I need?

Cars can be insured at market, retail or trade value, says Robyn Farrell, executive head of 1st for Women Insurance.

For new cars, the value is usually based on the purchase value or retail value.

For a used car, market value, which is the average of the car’s trade and retail values, is often the best bet. Look up current prices for similar models for sale in the newspaper or in one of the car magazines.

The trade value is the amount a dealer would offer you on a trade-in. This is the lowest value.

How does the insurance company determine or calculate my car insurance rate?

Insurance companies take a few different things into account when calculating your car insurance rate, says Graham Craggs, spokesperson for Budget Insurance. This includes the make and model of your car, where you live, where your vehicle is kept at night, who the driver of the vehicle is, what purpose your vehicle is used for and your previous
claims history.

Life insurance

Do I really need life insurance?

It’s difficult to understand why you need life insurance until you realise that life does change, says Angela Mhlanga, head of Bancassurance SA at Standard Bank. At different stages of your life, it may not seem necessary, and at others it may seem essential:

If you’re single without any dependents

Providing for your family in case of your death or total disablement means whoever you have nominated as a beneficiary can settle debts you may have, says Mhlanga.

You and your spouse earn great salaries and don’t have any children

The loss of a spouse can have a devastating financial impact on the partner left behind. Suddenly, savings become insignificant when bond, car and other payments are called in. The surviving spouse also has to adapt to the fact that his or her income may be reduced by 50% or more, says Mhlanga.

You have children

One of the most significant reasons people take out life cover is to be sure that their debt doesn’t become a burden on their families, and they want their loved ones to be financially supported in the event of death, says Mhlanga.

You have a group policy arranged by your employer

Group cover is a great employment perk, but coverage is usually restricted to the equivalent of 12 or 24 months’ salary, which may not be enough for your family’s needs, says Mhlanga.

You don’t earn a salary

Staying at home doesn’t mean you’re not contributing to a household income. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, your husband is not incurring costs to look after your children. What would happen if your spouse suddenly had to buy services to take care of the children’s needs? Life insurance could help fill the gap, says Mhlanga.

How to save on your premiums

Graham Craggs of Budget Insurance shares these tips:

  • Shop around – find an insurer that can offer you the best levels of cover at the most competitive price.
  • Secure your home – installing an alarm system or burglar bars can reduce your premium.
  • Keep your claims record clean. Try to avoid claiming for smaller incidents you could possibly pay for out of your own pocket.
  • Make your car safer – installing a tracking device may qualify for a discount on your premium.

FEATURE: TARYN ARNOTT VAN JAARSVELD IMAGE: FOTOLIA.COM

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