Well, its renewal time again and all your annual policy paperwork has arrived just in time. What to do!? Just pay the premiums and think nothing of it for another 365 days? Think again!
It can be very tempting to just “go with the flow” when it comes to your insurance – at the end of the day you’ve paid your premium and ‘you’re covered’! But what happens if your situation has changed since your last renewal? Maybe you’ve renovated your house, you have an additional but undisclosed driver of your motor vehicle, you’ve purchased valuable items or been gifted expensive jewellery that isn't listed on your contents schedule... this is where Insurance Policy Maintenance is important.
Fact: It is important to keep your broker and insurer updated with any changes to your insurance, regardless of the policy type. If you haven’t discussed relevant changes with your broker your policy may be ineffective, no longer suitable for your needs and fail to provide the full extent of cover you expected in the event of a claim.
At renewal time, what steps can you take to maximise your insurance coverage?
We strongly recommend you:
Compare Multiple Quotes
As Insurance Brokers, it is our job to help you find the best policy that suits your needs. At renewal you are under no obligation to stay with the same insurer and we will always source the best quotes and coverage from a wide variety of insurers while taking into account your situation and needs. Keeping us abreast of changes to your circumstances allows us to source the most suitable insurance products tailored to your needs, and help ensure you will be covered in a claim.
Remember: it’s tempting to choose the cheapest policy, but that doesn’t always guarantee the best cover, especially in the event of a claim. The quality and coverage of the policy, as well as its relevance to your specific needs are the most important factors when selecting your insurance provider.
Review your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) – Does it still work for you?
If there have been changes to your ‘insurable interest’ e.g. your vehicle, home, rental property, business activities, business income etc. you also need to know whether this is still covered by your existing insurance provider.
Reviewing your current policy’s PDS will keep you informed on what is insured, and where you may need to extend your cover to account for changes in your 'insurable interests'.
Upon careful consideration, you may find that your current policy no longer satisfies your needs and you require a different, more suitable policy to be placed - one that provides appropriate benefits relative to the risk, and responds appropriately in the event of a claim.
Insurance Brokers are experts in this area, and can help you navigate the often complex policy wordings to ensure you have insurance cover that responds to protect your insurable assets and liabilities each year.
Review your Excesses and Payment Options
A majority of insurance policies are placed with the insurer’s standard excess applied. Did you know that by selecting a higher excess, you can lower your overall premium? Consult with your insurance broker to see how much your premium can be reduced by changing the excess.
It’s also wise to review your payment options too – Whitbread provide Pay-by-the-month options for a range of policies, and can tailor a funding program to suit your financial position. Pay-by-the-month is a great way of maintaining cash flow while still protecting your assets.
Review the Sums Insured and other key details on your insurance policy schedule
When reviewing the Sums Insured on your policy schedule, be mindful and consider the following:
Private Homes and Strata Properties
- Have you recently renovated or made improvements to your property and not increased the Building Sum Insured?
- When was the last time you had a valuation performed – is the Building Sum Insured still accurate in current market conditions?
- Are some aspects of your coverage no longer relevant? E.g. Flood, Machinery Breakdown, Swimming Pools.
- If you have recently sold or purchased valuable items, has your Contents and Specified Valuables schedule been updated accordingly?
- Have there been improvements to the security in your home or Strata building? I.e. window locks, alarms - an increase in security can sometimes decrease your premium.
- Has a known Asbestos Risk been removed from your property?
- Have your commercial occupants changed in the last year? If your tenants' business activities have changed, but you haven't notified the insurer, you may not be covered in a claim. Their business activity can also impact your premium (Applicable to Commercial Strata properties)
- Is the Sum Insured on your vehicle still accurate? Have you added accessories or modifications that haven’t been noted on the Schedule?
- If you have additional drivers, or drivers ‘under 25 years of age’ driving your vehicle, have you notified your insurer?
- Is your vehicle stored in a locked garage overnight instead of being parked on the street?
- Has your address changed?
- Has the use of your vehicle changed from Business to Personal?
How you can stay on top of policy maintenance
If there are any changes to your insurable risks, don’t just wait for renewal time to make the necessary changes. Be proactive and immediately notify your Insurance Broker. There are many circumstances, such as improved household or vehicle security measures, which can actually lower your annual premium and also open up the market place to other insurers because your risk may now fit their specific insurance guidelines.
If you are unsure how much you should insure your contents for, Steadfast have introduced a Contents Sum Insured calculator* to help you get a more accurate estimate. Simply click here.
If you are also unsure of how much you should insure your building for, a Building Sum Insured Calculator** has been created by Cordell to help you generate an accurate estimate. Simply click here.
Remember: Ensuring your policies are well maintained can help you capture the true value of your insurance. Even the most minor change in your risks can affect your policy premium and the likelihood of being covered in the event of a claim.
Ensure your insurance policies are designed to respond to protect your assets and insurable risks. Request a complimentary assessment of your current insurance program from Whitbread’s Insurance specialists.
Whether it be your business, personal, strata or life insurance, we make sure your insurance solution accurately reflects your risk profile, providing certainty for your future.
Contact us on 1300 424 627 for expert advice from a professional adviser.
This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of personal advice. Please contact Whitbread Associates Pty Ltd ABN 69 005 490 228 License Number: 229092 trading as Whitbread Insurance Brokers for further information or refer to our website.
*Typical building replacement costs are provided by Reed Business Information Pty Ltd (A.B.N. 80 132 719 861) trading as Cordell Information (‘Cordell’) and typical building contents replacement costs are provided by Sum Insured Pty Ltd (A.B.N. 55 947 630 521 (‘SI’) trading as Home Contents. Whilst every care is taken to ensure the accuracy of the information as a guide for costing, no responsibility is accepted by Cordell, SI, Steadfast or the Steadfast Broker for its accuracy. Please check with an Architect, Builder, Quantity Surveyor, Valuer or other suitably qualified professional for an accurate estimate. Neither Steadfast nor the Steadfast Broker takes any responsibility for the costs provided by Cordell or SI, or any liability for the accuracy of or reliance upon or use of, the costs. To the fullest extent permitted by law, Cordell, SI, Steadfast and the Steadfast Broker expressly disclaim all warranties, express or implied, including, but not limited to, the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. Cordell, SI, Steadfast and the Steadfast Broker do not warrant or make any representations regarding the use or the results of the use of the information provided in terms of its correctness, accuracy, reliability, or otherwise.