Know Risk is a community education program designed by the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) to improve our understanding of insurance and how it relates to managing the many risks we all face in life.
The importance of policy maintenance
Maintaining your policy is as important as maintaining your home
- KR Useful (1)
When your various insurance policies are up for renewal, it can be tempting to take the easy route and just go ahead with the renewal and not think any further of it.
However, if you fail to take some important steps and do a little bit of research, you could be going ahead with a policy that hasn’t been adjusted to meet new circumstances in your life — therefore, rendering the policy mismatched for your needs — or, worse, failing to meet the contractual requirements specified by your insurer — therefore, possibly rendering your insurance policy null and void if you need to make a claim.
So, what sorts of things should you be doing at renewal to ensure that neither of these things happens? Let’s take a look.
Go over what your policy covers
Have a look at the product disclosure statement and check to make sure that what your policy covers actually matches what you need it to cover. Then, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are there many covered items that you don’t actually need cover for?
- Are there items that are excluded that you actually require cover for?
- Are the monetary limits of coverage satisfactory for your needs?
- Have you made any additions or changes that would require more comprehensive or additional coverage? (For example, have you conducted any renovations to your home or purchased new contents?)
- Do you plan to make any additions or changes in the coming year that will require more comprehensive or additional coverage?
- Are you happy with the service you have received from your insurer over the previous year?
Asking yourself these questions and then carefully considering your answers will go a long way towards making sure your insurance policies are tailored to your needs and circumstances, and will be most beneficial if you ever need to make a claim.
Make sure to notify your insurer if your circumstances have changed
Even the most minor things can affect your insurance policy, premium and likelihood of a claim being paid out. It is of utmost importance that you let your insurer know. We have included some further detail on what kinds of changes your insurer needs to know about further below.
Consider your payment schedule and excesses
Renewal time is a good time for you to consider whether you’re happy with your existing payment schedule and excesses. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Would you prefer to pay a higher premium in exchange for a lower excess, or is it more important to you to pay a lower premium in exchange for a higher excess?
- How would you like to go about paying the premium — does it work better for you to pay annually, quarterly, monthly or weekly? Is the option you’d prefer available?
Consider getting some quotes
The point of comparing insurance policies is, first and foremost, an activity in making sure your current policy is actually one that best fits your needs and circumstances. An ideal number of quotes to get is three. Then, make sure you compare excess options, coverage limits and exclusions.
While it can be tempting to simply choose the cheapest policy, this can often backfire if you ever need to make a claim. Your most important consideration when comparing quotes should always be the quality of the policy coverage and its relevance to your requirements.
Don’t just wait for renewal to update your policy
While you should absolutely be doing all of these things when your insurance policies are up for renewal, it certainly pays to be proactive and do these things whenever your circumstances change.
If you move, you need to update your insurer. If you acquire new assets, you need to update your insurer. If you tint your car windows, you need to update your insurer. If you have an alarm system installed, you need to update your insurer. If you no longer park your car on the street, you need to update your insurer. If you start parking your car on the street, you need to update your insurer. If you sell expensive items and no longer need coverage for them, you need to update your insurer. If you are planning on renovating, you need to update your insurer. Has the pattern become obvious?
Basically, regardless of whether your policy is up for renewal, if something in your life changes and you think it might be even remotely relevant to your insurance policy, it’s in your best interests to notify your insurer. Sometimes, it can be the difference between a claim being paid out or not. And while you might think notifying your insurer will lead to a higher premium, there are many circumstances where keeping your insurer abreast of any changes will actually reduce your premium.
It’s also worth noting that anytime your circumstances change, you should consider doing some research, getting some quotes and making sure your current insurance policy is still the one best suited to your needs.
Keep track of your policies
Know Risk's Insurance TrackerTM app is a straightforward and easy way to keep track of your various insurance policies, and it’s especially helpful at renewal.
With Insurance TrackerTM, you can ensure you’re always aware of when your policies are up for renewal by setting up reminders on your phone. By doing so, you’ll receive a notification two weeks prior to your policy expiring or being due for renewal, giving you plenty of time to do all of the things you need to do to make sure your policy is the one that’s best for you. Simple!