Buyer Beware, use an adviser for insurance

We seem to be hearing more and more in the media these days, of dissatisfied customers when it comes to their insurance policies, so I thought that providing some insight into what choices are out there would give some guidance to anyone considering taking out insurance or reviewing what they already have.

We are all able to purchase insurance online these days, without obtaining advice from an insurance adviser.  We can buy insurance for funeral cover, life and trauma cover, car insurance and house and contents cover, all online or over the phone – but what are the pitfalls!

When we buy online or over the phone, effectively going direct and bypassing an expert insurance adviser, we are led to believe we are getting a good deal with cheaper premiums and can have cover put in place immediately, without having to go through completing application forms or providing medical information.  This all sounds easy and very attractive to many however, we need to know what some of the traps are and how to avoid them.

  • If we want the cheapest premium, we are potentially not getting the best policy.  When we pay for insurance, although we don’t want a disaster to happen, if it does, we want to know that we are going to have our claim paid.  If we’ve picked the cheapest policy with the worst policy wording, our expectations may not be met and we could be very disappointed!
  • If we do not have to provide any medical history details upon application for personal cover, it is likely that any pre-existing conditions we have will be excluded for up to 2 years or permanently.  The older we get, the more conditions we accumulate unfortunately, some major and some minor.  If everything is excluded, the potential for a claim being accepted by the insurer becomes less likely
  • When it comes to specialist types of cover, whether this be for personal covers, for business assets, liability cover, cover for shareholders and key people in a business, or maybe marine, aviation or carrier cover, going direct will just not ‘cut it’
  • How do we know we’re getting the right amount of cover for the right reasons and at the right price?  Insurance is about insuring the ‘big ticket’ items in life, those incidents that are going to cost us a lot financially.  Surely we want to ensure that our policy has the best wording for such an event and that we have someone who is going to ‘fight our corner’ and look after us if a claim arises?
  • This leads me on to explaining the role of the expert – the insurance adviser.  As advisers ourselves, and as someone who has personal experience of a house fire that took 6 months to sort out, the adviser is the person who will sort out your claim.  They will of course, initially have you sorted with the right policy, the right cover and with premiums that are affordable to you, however, it’s when a claim arises that their other skills ‘kick-in’.  They are there for you, supporting you, organising the paperwork, liaising with all parties involved and making everything as simple and understandable for you as possible – isn’t this what we really want when the problems crop up?!  My experience of our house fire and how the claim was handled, is that it would not have been as smooth if it weren’t for our Fire & General Insurance Adviser – Ben Burnett, of Burnett Piper.  He made all the difference when the going got tough.

If you really want peace of mind knowing that in an event you are covered, you need to engage a professional insurance expert.  Insurance of any kind, is about putting the right money, in the right hands at the right time – the insurance expert will know how to do this.   The price of going direct, without expert advice, is not worth paying in my opinion!!

Charlene Overell
Director – G3 Financial Freedom Ltd