Aussie families missing out on millions in savings
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A lot of funny things happen on April Fools' Day, but the annual adjustment of healthcare premiums that happens on April 1st each year generally isn't funny at all. But it does make it a great time to work on making the best saving on all your insurances – because research suggests that when it comes to great insurance deals, Aussies are really missing out!
Between Ikea’s high chairs for dogs and Virgin Blue’s standing-room-only flights, this year’s April Fools’ Day hit a new high for pranks and jokes. But what’s less funny is that private health cover premiums are adjusted on 1 April each year (no joke!), and this year’s increase pushed premiums up by 5.56 per cent – adding an estimated $821 million per year to the cost of private health insurance. With literally hundreds of dollars difference in the price of health covers, it’s definitely worth shopping around to make sure you’ve got the best deal possible.
And it’s not just health cover. Research suggests that Aussies are throwing away the opportunity to save an astounding $742,558,103 on insurance each year by choosing not to hunt for a better deal.
Finding cheaper policies for your health, home and contents and car insurances with online comparison services is easy – and with that hike in health cover prices, this is a particularly good time to do it. But when you’re hunting down the best deals, remember that the cheapest policy might not always be the best option. A policy is only good value for money if it provides you with the level of cover you need at the most competitive price – a cheaper policy may cost you more in the long run if it doesn’t provide cover for things you really need.
Taking on the ‘big three’ insurances – health, home and contents and vehicle – to get a better deal has never been easier, so take our tips and see if you can put some of those millions in savings in your pocket!
Make sure you’re not paying for cover you don’t need, and ensure that you understand all inclusions, exclusions and conditions. ‘Restricted membership’ funds and group deals can offer better prices if you qualify for membership, so look into these as well. Most importantly, learn how to use your cover to receive all of the benefits you’re paying for: speak to your fund’s customer service representatives to ensure that you’re claiming everything you’re entitled to (only 43 per cent of Australians know what their health insurance policy includes), and if you’re eligible to claim extras such as massage and health and fitness benefits so can use (and enjoy!) these options and really get your money’s worth.
Home and contents
Ask for discounts and consider bundling policies together with one insurer for a lower premium. Data suggests that up to 81 per cent of homeowners are underinsured, so check that your policy covers replacing all of your possessions and the entire cost of rebuilding if necessary, remembering to update the value regularly. If you need to rebuild, you won’t just have to pay for the house itself – you’ll also want a policy that covers you for debris removal, having building plans lodged with your local council and accommodation while they’re putting your home back together brick by brick! Policies vary between insurers, so always check the fine print to find out exactly what you’re covered for, and how you can get the best value from your policy. It’s also worth checking with your insurer to see if there are any small changes you can make to reduce your premium, such as installing fire protection, window locks or intruder alarms.
Reduce premiums by taking out ‘no frills’ cover, only insuring for declared drivers and opting for a higher excess. There are also a variety of ways to get a discount on your policy – some insurers will lower the price if you’re over 55, a safe driver or have more than one vehicle, and some companies have begun basing premiums on how much you use the car, which can be a great saving if your spends more time in the garage than it does on the road. Also consider if the value of your vehicle is worth the cost of comprehensive cover, or if you’re better off self-insuring and covering the costs yourself.
The other trick to saving on any of your insurance premiums is to claim only when you really need to – if the claim is close to your excess, consider paying the expense yourself to protect your premium from claim-based increases. There are a lot of big savings out there that you can take advantage of, so consider all your options to make sure you’re getting the most for your money. You always have to watch out for practical jokes around April Fools’ Day, but if you can cut the cost of your insurance without sacrificing the quality, then the only one laughing will be you.
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Analaura Luna is an author, wealth adviser and founder of Your Family Your Money. Your Family Your Money’s goal is to simplify traditionally complex financial strategies, demystify financial jargon and debunk common financial myths, becoming every family’s first stop for financial advice, information and inspiration.
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