Tag Archives | Cheaper Insurance

Tips for Cheaper Home Insurance

From our original ValueIreland.com Tips pages, here are some top tips which should help you get cheaper home insurance compared to what you’re paying at the moment. These tips are items that you should consider when either renewing your insurance policy (every year) or when purchasing new insurance for your new home purchase.
  • Shop Around – As with all other purchases that you make, shop around. There are numerous insurance companies providing home insurance on the Irish market. You should take the time to contact most, if not all of them, to get a quote. Provided you have no tie in to your mortgage lender, you can go directly to an insurance company or via an insurance broker.
  • Someone you can trust – You should always go with a reputable and established company. There’s no point in taking risks. Check if they have industry accreditation. If necessary, ask around amongst colleagues and friends to see if they’ve heard of a particular company. And remember, no matter how good a website is, the company should have a call centre, sales staff, and a proper postal address for their office – if none of these exist, be careful.
  • Multiple policies with same company – Some companies provide discounts if you hold more than one insurance policy with them. So if you already have car or life insurance with a single company, ask for a quote for your home insurance, and ask if they can offer you any discount seeing as you’re providing them with all of your insurance business.
  • Special Offers – Always keep an eye out for special offers that may be offered at various times by different insurance companies. For example, look out for money back guarantees such as “If you find a cheaper deal elsewhere, we’ll refund the difference”. This can assure you that you’re not being stung. Another promotion may be something like “one month’s insurance free if you pay monthly by direct debit”. These can give good value.
  • Only buy cover you need – As with car insurance, only buy the cover you need. Make sure that you need all the cover that you are getting. There is no point paying for cover of the shed or garage contents if you do not have a shed or garage. Asking for this cover to be removed should reduce your premium.
  • Have your policy to hand – When ringing around looking for quotes, have your existing policy with you so you can answer the relevant questions, and ask important questions of your own. If you’re sure your existing policy meets your requirements, use this as the basis for requesting a quotation from a potential new insurer.
  • Check the small print – Remember, sometimes just because an insurance company has sold you a policy this does not mean you’re eligible to claim on it. If you have any concerns, get them to confirm to you that you are covered in particular situations – in writing if possible.
  • No Claims Discount – Ensure that the insurance company knows if you have not claimed on your home insurance in the past. As with car insurance, no claims discounts increase with time. This could save you up to 20-30% after five years without a claim.
  • Payment Options – If you are able, it is an idea to pay your full insurance premium in one lump sum rather than through monthly repayments. This can save you money as some companies may charge you a rate of interest for the privilege of paying monthly, on top of your premium.
  • Security Benefits – Remember that having security systems fitted (security locks and alarms) will have the effect of decreasing your premium. It is also possible that if there is a local Neighbourhood Watch scheme, by joining it, you could cut up to 10-15% off your premium also.
  • Larger Excess – You could bring down your premium costs by volunteering to pay more of an excess towards the cost of each claim. Only do this if you can afford to do so however.
Other points to remember that may increase your premium costs –
  • Bear in mind that not all security discounts mentioned above will necessarily be offered by an insurer. If you live in what they consider to be a really high-risk area, it may be a requirement for you to have security systems fitted and be part of a neighbourhood watch scheme just to get any insurance at all, let alone a discount.
  • Cover for portable items to be included on your home insurance can increase your premium. For example, a bicycle or a laptop computer if included on your home insurance policy is likely to increase your premium.
  • If you wish to cover your jewellery on your home insurance policy, it may actually be worth an amount over the limit for individual items. It is also portable, as above, and may then add further to your premium.
  • Do you live in an area that is liable to flooding? With flooding becoming more prevalent in Ireland (particularly Dublin) over the past number of years, your insurance company may be keeping this in mind when quoting you higher home insurance premiums.
  • Do you carry out a business from your home? Does this involve having valuable equipment in the home for the purpose of carrying out that business? This is likely to increase your premium. You could investigate insuring such equipment separately, as a business expense, rather than on your home insurance.
  • Be careful also about ‘absence clauses’ Many of the companies have quite specific time limits on how long the premises can be ‘un-occupied’ and quite interesting rules about what ‘un-occupied’ actually means. They alter the terms for this regularly, I found that from one renewal to another they had halved the unoccupied period.
3

Top Tips for Cheaper Travel Insurance

Shop Around – As with all other purchases that you make, shop around. There are numerous insurance companies providing travel insurance on the Irish market. You should take the time to contact most, if not all of them, to get a quote.

Someone you can trust – You should always go with a reputable and established company. There’s no point in taking risks. Check if they have industry accreditation. If necessary, ask around amongst colleagues and friends to see if they’ve heard of a particular company. And remember, no matter how good a website is, the company should have a call centre, sales staff, and a proper postal address for their office – if none of these exist, be careful.

Contact Information – Following from the point above, make sure you have all contact information necessary for your insurance company if you have any problems abroad. Ensure you have numbers that can be dialled from your destination as some free-phone numbers may not work outside of Ireland.

Policy Details – Ensure that you’re familiar with the details of the policy you’re thinking of buying – does it include cover for cancellations, delays, lost luggage? What cover does it provide with regards to medical coverage? Is this sufficient considering your destination? Will you be paid up-front or will you be reimbursed later after you yourself have incurred the expense? Are you comfortable with the cover you’ve just purchased?

Don’t Lie – By truthful and up-front with whatever it is you’re planning to do when you’re on your holiday – if you’re thinking of maybe doing any ‘extreme sports’ highlighted by travel insurance companies (skiing, parachuting etc.) but may or may not, mention is so that you’re covered should you decided to do so, just in case. Be honest also when it comes to pre-existing medical insurance.

Multiple policies with same company – Some companies provide discounts if you hold more than one insurance policy with them. So if you already have car, home or life insurance with a single company, ask for a quote for your travel insurance if they provide such cover, and ask if they can offer you any discount seeing as you’re providing them with all of your insurance business.

Less than obvious Insurers – When shopping around, you should keep an eye out for companies you may not expect providing Travel Insurance – for example, the AA, or the VHI. You may also find that when purchasing your holiday tickets online, that the company selling you the travel may offer Travel Insurance as well.

Internet Travel Insurance Suppliers – Now, more than ever, the choice of Travel Insurance suppliers on the internet is vast. Googling on “travel insurance”, restricting your search to Ireland only provides at least 5 internet-only travel insurance providers.

Special Offers – Always keep an eye out for special offers that may be offered at various times by different insurance companies. For example, look out for money back guarantees such as “If you find a cheaper deal elsewhere, we’ll refund the difference”. This can assure you that you’re not being stung. Another promotion may be something like “one month’s insurance free if you pay monthly by direct debit”. These can give good value.

Single or Multi Trip Insurance – Always consider your actual needs when buying travel insurance. You may be tempted by what seems like good value on Multi Trip travel insurance policies, but you should consider whether or not you’ll actually need this.

Sharp Sales Practices – A newly observed sales tactic by a small number of travel agents is to tell customers they will not make a holiday booking unless they have proof of insurance. This is not the case, as you can purchase any holiday package, and travel anywhere you like without purchasing insurance. If you do so, it a risk of your own making, but perfectly legal to do so.

Have your policy to hand – When ringing around looking for quotes and you are renewing your policy, have your existing policy with you so you can answer the relevant questions, and ask important questions of your own. If you’re sure your existing policy meets your requirements, use this as the basis for requesting a quotation from a potential new insurer.

Check the small print – Remember, sometimes just because an insurance company has sold you a policy this does not mean you’re eligible to claim on it. If you have any concerns, get them to confirm to you that you are covered in particular situations – in writing if possible.

Timeliness – Arrange for your travel insurance at least a month before leaving if possible. Confirm before you actually leave that your cover is in place, and that your premium payment has actually been received.

Documentation – Ensure that you bring your all relevant travel insurance documentation with you on your holiday. Keep it with your other important documentation such as your passport and travel tickets – items you’re going to make sure you look after.

Excess – Firstly, make sure you are aware if there is any excess on the policy you’re thinking of buying – ensure that you’re happy with this amount. To reduce the price of the premium, you could volunteer to pay more of an excess towards the cost of each claim. Only do this if you can afford to do so however.

Do you actually need travel insurance – As with all insurance, it’s your choice to purchase or not. In some cases, such as travelling within the European Economic Area (including EC countries, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), you are entitled to reciprocal state-provided health services by taking with you a form called E111, available from all Post Offices. You must get the form completed before you leave. This may be sufficient for your needs. Click here for more information.

Brokers vs Direct – A ValueIreland.com reader sent us this tip where they received a quote from an insurance broker for an insurance policy with a particular insurance company. Our reader rang the company directly and got a quote for the same policy going direct rather than via the broker, and found that they could get the policy at a significant discount than from the broker. Something to check out if you normally use a broker.

2

Cutting Insurance costs in a rising market

Irish News of the World

Sunday March 8th, 2009

Diarmuid MacShane

Cutting Insurance costs in a rising market

After a number of years of falling insurance costs, we’ve been told during the past couple of weeks that our main insurance companies need to hike up their premiums in 2009.

Axa, Hibernian Aviva and Quinn Direct have all said recently that they’ll be adding their own extra costs to our already under pressure wallets. They’re telling us that it’s because claims have increased and that they need to cover increased risks – yet for car insurance, 2008 was the safest year ever on our roads.

It’s more likely that the real reason the these insurers want to dip into our pockets even more is because they’re losing bucket loads of money on the stock market – causing their corporate profits to fall. And like the Anglo Irish Bank disaster, it’s left to the Irish consumers, yet again, to pick up the tab.

The Chief Executive of the Consumers’ Association of Ireland, Dermott Jewell, recently told us that we should resist and outrageous or unacceptable insurance price rises.

This week, I’ll give you a few top tips on how to get yourself the best value in all kinds of insurance. Following these tips, you may not just be able to resist any price rises, but you could even save yourself a few quid.

The standard advice you’ll hear everywhere when it comes to getting cheaper insurance is to shop around. The Financial Regulator regularly publishes insurance comparison surveys on www.ItsYourMoney.ie where the result is always “shop around”.

Don’t get me wrong – shopping around for insurance can sometimes be very worthwhile – particularly in the Irish market which is fairly competitive at the moment. In December, they told us shopping around for home and buildings insurance could save you up to €400, while last month you could have saved €300 on life insurance. Finally, NoNonsense.ie told us in January that shopping around for car insurance could save you up to €200.

And don’t just limit yourself to dealing directly with insurance companies assuming that brokers might make things more expensive. A recent study conducted by the Irish Brokers Association found that thousands of Irish consumers who deal direct with insurance companies could save themselves up to €1000 on their insurance costs.

According to Ciaran Phelan, Director of Financial Services at the Irish Brokers Association, “With many families now spending in excess of €4,000-€5,000 per annum on a variety of insurance cover, the study found that a review and re-price of their policies could result in considerable cost savings”.

All fine and good, but what else can you do to save money on your insurance costs.

In some cases, staying with the same company might actually save you money on your insurance. When you’re renewing, ask them for a discount just because you’re staying with them, and not shopping around. In this competitive market, it’s cheaper for them to keep a customer than get a new one, so there might be a discount in it for you if you’re willing to stay.

Many insurance companies will now give you discounts on different policies if you have more than one with them – say you and your partner both have car insurance with the same company. In some cases this discount can be from 5-10%.

Always keep an eye out for special offers like those that offer you free home or travel insurance if you have health and car insurance with the same company. Quinn Direct is currently offering this deal until 2010. That could save you up to €200. Hibernian Aviva have offered similar deals where you could get up to €400 cash back depending on the policies you have with them.

Do you have breakdown assist included in your car insurance policy but are you also a member of the AA? Cancel one or other of those – you could save up to €140 per year.

Speaking of extras, do you know what extras are included in your different insurance policies now? Trying to get our business, many companies have added in these extras to attract our business, but they ultimately cost us. Check what extras are included and you could save up to €50 by dumping them.

We all know the property market is suffering badly now, so with cheaper costs for labour and materials, it could be worthwhile getting your rebuild cost for your hose re-estimated in case it could reduce your home and buildings insurance premium.

A slightly controversial topic on the ValueIreland.com website in the past has been my suggestion that there are many kinds of insurance that you don’t actually need at all, depending on your circumstances. If you examine the risk that you’re insuring against (losing your mobile for example) and the cost of replacement versus the cost of insurance, is it all really worth while? If you look at all your areas of non-essential insurance, it might make more sense for you to cancel your policy and save your premiums instead. If you need the money when the risky thing comes to pass, they you’re covered. If it doesn’t, then you’ve a nice bundle of cash to spend elsewhere.

In a previous article I spoke about how people were holding on to their cars longer now that we’re in a recession. Are you driving a driving an older car now? Do you really mind if it gets a little nick here and there? Sometimes, we get to a point where it’s just not worth getting those little bangs fixed up. If that’s the case, you could save yourself up to €200 on your car insurance by changing from a fully comprehensive to a third party, fire and theft policy instead.

One final tip to save you a few euros is to wherever possible pay your full insurance premium up front rather than in installments. Paying by installments is really just getting a loan from the insurance company for the year that you repay each month. The interest that insurance companies will charge you for this loan will range from 5-15% so you could save yourself between €10 and €50.

For more information on saving money on all types of insurance, please check out here.

3

Insurance You Don’t Need?

Every consumer’s personal circumstances can be diverse, it’s critical to review all the specifics of your situation before making a choice about whether or not to buy certain types of insurance. It’s vital to evaluate the risk against the actual cost you’re actually paying for the protection.

These are Top Tips to make you think – not necessarily act. We’re not advising that you cancel any of the following types of insurance. You should study your own circumstances, carry out more detailed research, and then make your decision. Get professional advice if necessary.

Extended Product Warranties – These “extended warranties” are usually worth skipping. A service contract is simply a promise to perform or pay for certain repairs or services. Service contracts often duplicate what’s provided in the standard warranty you get with a car or an appliance. Read your regular warranty carefully. Then compare it to the service contract. Sometimes, you can purchase service contracts later, when the original warranty expires.

Extra policies for specific items – These items may include portable items, normally stored in your house such as jewellery, bicycles or laptop computers. Buying separate policies to cover such things may not be your best choice. While some policies provide added liability coverage and other features, check out if supplemental coverage is already available through your existing home insurance policy. A major reason is cost. Think of it as buying in bulk. When you add a “rider” to an existing policy, it usually costs less than trying to buy a whole new policy. Also, many of these “things that move” are already covered by your home insurance, albeit at less-than-ideal levels.

Insurance on items on items you’ve just purchased – We’ve all experienced the situation where you’ve just bought a TV, a mobile phone, a PDA or other small electronics equipment, and you’re offered insurance by the kind sales people. I’ve experienced a situation where someone’s told me that the item is prone to breaking and that I’d be better off insuring it – I canceled my purchase immediately instead. You don’t need this insurance – the manufacturers warranty will cover the item breaking, and your home insurance will cover it in your home.

Loan Protection Insurance – This insurance is often pushed on consumers when taking out a loan. The most important thing to remember about credit insurance is that a lender cannot make you buy it. This insurance is for a situation where the policy will pay the lender if you can’t. So why would you want to pass on credit insurance? Consider the likelihood of you not being able to pay, and if you were to lose your regular income? And in such a situation, how likely is it that you won’t quickly find a new job? How much long term savings do you have that you could dip into for a short period if absolutely necessary? There are more sensible and cheaper alternatives than taking out this kind of insurance.

Credit Card Payment Protection Insurance – Similar to Loan Protection Insurance above – evaluate the risk of you being unable to pay your debts at all in the future.

Mortgage protection insurance – It’s more expensive than it’s worth. Besides, you could do better with another policy – one that you might already have. These policies are designed to make your mortgage payments if you die or become disabled. If you’re worried about burdening your heirs with mortgage payments, you’d be better off buying straight life insurance. Adding onto your existing life insurance policy is less expensive than mortgage life.

Health Insurance – In 2006, Brendan Burgess of AskAboutMoney.com, in an article about insurance you might not need, that “you should not take out health insurance if you’re healthy – a young, fit non-smoker, for example. If you’re an older person, and a smoker with a medical history, you should probably take out health insurance, because it’s the same price.” Mr. Burgess added “There’s also this stupid element where the health insurer pays your doctors’ bills. You shouldn’t insure for routine expenses that might be €50 to €250 in a year, but are unlikely to be above that.” The insurance premium may quite likely be more than the benefit you receive.

Additional Extras when Hiring a Car – When you rent a car, you’re going to be offered additional insurance, and it’s not cheap. But does your own car insurance cover you for driving other cars anyway? If you’ve booked by credit card, will the sometimes automatic insurance provided by your card provider provide you cover instead?

Life insurance – Do you have any dependants? Life insurance is money that goes to people who count on your income. If you’re single with no kids, you probably don’t need life insurance. If your spouse is employed and can support himself or herself, you probably don’t need it.

AA or RAC Membership – This is insurance really against your car breaking down. But check your car insurance policy – most companies now include breakdown cover as part of the overall insurance package they give you.

Pet Insurance – I know, I know. But really, think about it.

Having reviewed all of the above, and you find that there’s still insurance that you need to buy (home insurance), or that you’re obliged to buy (car insurance and life assurance for mortgage purposes) then make sure you shop around to get the best deal.
2

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes

hit counter