Ten insurance mistakes that cost you money

  • 17/01/2022
  • Sponsored by - Quashed
Ten insurance mistakes that cost you money
Photo credit: Supplied.

Have you ever stopped to think about your total insurance costs - and whether you're getting the benefits you're paying for?

Justin Lim, founder and chief executive at Quashed, an online portal that keeps all your policies in one place and helps you purchase your next insurance policy, says that's the reason for using the Quashed platform.

"A common gripe is that 'I'm spending all this money, but what am I actually getting from this insurance', Lim says.

Having all of your insurance policies securely online will show you the total amount you spend. 

The Quashed dashboard provides a snapshot of what you're covered for, by who, your sum insured (cover amount), how often you pay, and your renewal date.

Want to know if your premiums are reasonable for the cover you're getting? The inbuilt 'Market Scan' feature shows you what similar policies cost - and how the benefits compare.

There's also a simple insurance checkup, where you can read about policies you don't have, without feeling the pressure to buy.  

"For example, you might have life insurance or trauma insurance but not income protection...on the platform, you can explore options in your own time, at your own pace," Lim adds.

You're sent an email reminder 30 days before each of your policies renew, and you can see how your premiums are changing. You have the option to contact your insurer with the click of a button when using Quashed on your phone.

Family members can be added to your account, so they know what you are covered for and understand what insurances are available if anything happens to you.

Getting started on Quashed is easy - and free. To add a policy, snap and upload a photo of your premium renewal letter, drag and drop PDFs (or enter a few details manually). Quashed will read the data, sort it into fields and create your personalised insurance dashboard.

Lim spoke to Newshub about ten of the most common insurance mistakes - and how the Quashed platform can help.

1. Not knowing if you're covered (and what for)

Remember that insurance policy you were sold ten years ago? 

If you haven't heard from them in a while, it's worth checking if the policy is still in force.  

You may also have policies with benefits you weren't aware of - big and small. 

"People may miss out on claiming benefits they're paying for, simply because they're not aware of them," Lim says.

In addition to loading policy details, you can upload your policy documents to Quashed, so all the benefits you're covered for are at your fingertips. 

2. Not knowing how much you're paying (and whether it's cost-effective)

As each insurer charges a separate premium, most people are surprised to find out the total cost. 

"A typical family would have insurance with AA and AIA, Southern Cross...it's always going to be spread across multiple insurers because no one does it all," Lim explains.

The inbuilt Market Scan feature allows you to visually compare all your policies online.

"With the inbuilt Market Scan feature, we show you a comparison of benefits and prices across insurers saving you money, time, and the hassle of going to multiple insurers," Lim says.

3. Not checking your policy excess and sum insured (cover amount)

The 'excess' is the amount you pay before the insurance kicks in.

A higher excess reduces your premium, whereas a lower excess increases it.

You can adjust your insurance excess depending on your budget, and the amount of your rainy day savings.

It's also important to check your sum insured, ideally once a year. House insurance is now based on a 'sum insured', meaning homeowners are responsible for calculating the total cost to rebuild their home.  

If you've bought new household items, or renovated, they're good reasons to update your House and Contents insurance sum insured too. 

4. Not reviewing policy exclusions and/or loadings  

If you have life and health insurance, you may have exclusions and/or loadings applied to your policy.  

If you were a smoker when you took the policy out, you may be paying higher premiums.

Check your policy schedule, or your policy renewal letter to see if any of these apply, and whether there's a review date (ask your insurer if unsure).

If you were a smoker and haven't smoked for 12 months, you can complete a declaration and have your policy reassessed. 

5. Not checking credit card insurance benefits

If you have a credit card, check if it includes inbuilt benefits such as free travel insurance, rental car excess protection, extended warranty or purchase protection.

If you're aware of them, it saves doubling up on other insurances.

Using the 'add card' feature, you can select your credit card and see the free insurance benefits on Quashed, along with your other policies.

6. Not knowing about employee benefits (e.g. a life insurance group scheme)

It's worth checking whether you receive free or discounted insurance through your workplace. 

"For some corporate health insurance schemes, if you sign up within the first month of starting with the company, your pre-existing conditions would also be covered," Lim says.

The Quashed portal allows these covers to be added - some employers are already added to the platform and can be selected with a drop-down box.

7. Not taking advantage of the 'free look' period  

Most policies have a 'free look period' over the first seven or 14 days, where the policy can be cancelled for a complete refund.

If the first premium has gone out of your account and you cancel the policy within the free look period, ask for a refund. 

8. Not getting a pro-rata refund when you cancel

If you pay annually and cancel your policy midway through, an insurer will refund you for the unused portion of cover. 

This can happen when you find a better policy or price during the period you are insured. You can check the premium frequency of each of your policies on the Quashed dashboard.

9. Not knowing you can save by paying yearly

Paying annually upfront is usually 10-15% cheaper than paying monthly. 

The Quashed Market Scan feature allows you to test different payment options, (e.g. monthly vs quarterly, or annually), to find out how much you could save with different insurers.

10. Not using an expert

Before cancelling an existing policy, or taking out new cover, it's recommended that you understand the difference and impact on your existing cover. You could talk to an expert.

The Quashed portal allows you to pick a time to talk to an insurance adviser. They can help with things like what insurances you need, policy and price comparisons, and providing simple and transparent information to help.

This article was created for Quashed.